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Bridges scores 33, MSU romps in exhibition

Associated Press • Oct 28, 2016 at 12:04 AM

EAST LANSING  — Michigan State fans got their first chance to see the new-look Spartans on Thursday night, and the heralded freshman class didn't disappoint.

Led by 33 points from Miles Bridges, Michigan State rolled over Northwood, 93-69, in its exhibition opener at the Breslin Center.

It was far from a defensive masterpiece as few exhibition games are with plenty of new faces on the court. What the Spartans did not have trouble doing was putting the ball in the basket, and Bridges was the catalyst.

The 6-foot-7 forward was 12-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range while finishing with eight rebounds and four blocks, all coming in the first half.

"I thought Bridges played decent," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo deadpanned. "He did it all in the framework (of the offense). He looked very smooth, very comfortable. We posted him some, played him at the 3 some, let him handle the ball some.

"I think he fit into what we said we'd do with him and he handled that very, very well."

Fellow freshman Nick Ward scored 19 and pulled down seven rebounds as he logged 21 minutes as one of Michigan State's few post players.

Cassius Winston, the other freshman who saw action, was also active, playing 24 minutes while scoring nine and handing out nine assists.

The fourth member of the freshman class, guard Joshua Langford, did not play because of what Izzo called a "little hamstring pull." It was not believed to be serious and Langford went through warmups with the Spartans.

Northwood had four players in double figures, including 12 from West Bloomfield native Zach Allread. PJ Weaver added 12 while Jarel Woolridge scored 11 and Brad Schaub added 10 points for the Timberwolves.

While Michigan State took some time to find any offensive rhythm, it didn't take as long for Bridges to get rolling. He had two blocked shots before his first bucket, a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim and rolled in.

He later added the thunderous dunk on the drive from the top of the key, got a couple more blocks and finished the opening half with 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range. He also had three rebounds and a couple of assists, one a no-look pass to Kyle Ahrens for a dunk.

"Where do you start?" Northwood coach Jeff Rekeweg said of Miles. "He is a man child. He's not a kid; he's a man. His understanding of the game, the way he carries himself is beyond any freshman I've seen before.

"Is there any way Bridges can't score? He scores at every level."

Ward and Winston also had key stretches in the first half as Ward scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds while Winston had five points and five assists in the opening half.

In the second half, Northwood kept it close but Michigan State pulled away late as Bridges hit three more 3-pointers, his last coming in the final minutes to get the crowd on its feet one last time.

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