By Noah Trister, AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Cassius Winston scored 19 points, and No. 2 Michigan State went on a 12-2 run late in the second half to hold off Oakland 86-73 on Saturday.
Kendrick Nunn scored 32 points for the upset-minded Golden Grizzlies, who stayed right with the talented Spartans (10-1) until the final minutes. Michigan State improved to 16-0 against Oakland, but only after the type of test the Spartans can expect again from underdogs down the road.
It was the second game of an all-local doubleheader in downtown Detroit. Michigan beat Detroit Mercy 90-58 in the opener.
Nick Ward had 15 points and 15 rebounds for Michigan State, which finished with a 45-30 edge on the boards and made enough outside shots to keep Oakland (6-5) at bay. It was tied at 66 before the decisive run by the Spartans, which included two 3-pointers by Winston.
Michigan State led 38-33 at halftime, but it was clear early in the second half that this would be no easy win for the Spartans. Oakland’s Martez Walker had two four-point plays in the first few minutes of the half. The second one put Oakland up 52-49 with just under 15 minutes remaining.
Michigan State kept scoring, however. Joshua Langford finished with 17 points, Miles Bridges had 11 and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 10.
Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies did what they needed to do to make a game of it, shooting 7 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half. They struggled around the basket, though. Michigan State had a clear rebounding advantage, and Oakland had a hard time scoring inside.
Michigan State: The Spartans turned the ball over 17 times but were able to close off the perimeter at the very end, finally containing Nunn. It was a win that bodes well for Michigan State’s ability to hold off potential upsets in the future.
Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies host Towson on Wednesday night.
Michigan State: Winners of nine straight, the Spartans probably won’t be challenged too much Monday night when they host Houston Baptist.
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