College basketball: Nick Ward’s big night helps Michigan State win in a rout

Michigan State's Nick Ward tries to score between Green Bay's Josh McNair, left, and Sandy Cohen III, during the first half Sunday.
(Al Goldis / Associated Press)

Michigan State gave up a basket, and Nick Ward immediately took off. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward beat everyone down the court and took a long pass for a layup.

Ward scored 22 of his 28 points in a nearly perfect first half to help the ninth-ranked Spartans rout Green Bay 104-83 on Sunday night in East Lansing, Mich. Ward made all nine of his field goal attempts in the first half, although he did miss a free throw. He was particularly impressive in transition and appeared to relish an up-tempo game.

“I’ve been doing that since forever, since I was little,” Ward said. “That’s just off of pure effort. Running takes no skill.”


Ward also made his first two shots of the second half and finished 12 of 13.

Sandy Cohen III scored 22 points for Green Bay, which actually led 24-20 before a 27-4 run by Michigan State. The Phoenix (6-6) had only one timeout left by halftime, but nothing they tried was enough to slow the Spartans.

Michigan State (9-2) made its last seven shots of the first half to take a 64-35 lead.

“This is a hard game for us, because we play fast, they play fast, and they’re just faster,” Green Bay coach Linc Darner said. “But I thought the second half, our guys did a great job of battling and competing and staying respectable.”

at No. 24 Houston 68, St. Louis 64: Corey Davis Jr. hit the tiebreaking three-pointer with 29 seconds left and had 17 points in Cougars’ comeback victory.

Davis made three of five shots from three-point range and sank all six of his free throws. Armoni Brooks had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Galen Robinson Jr. added 13 for Houston (10-0) in its 23rd straight win at home.

Javon Bess had 17 points for St. Louis (7-3), Tramaine Isabell Jr. added 16, and Jordan Goodwin had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Billikens 37 percent from the field.