EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Playing a night after the death of his brother, Cassius Winston had 17 points and 11 assists to lift No. 1 Michigan State to an emotional 100-47 victory over Binghamton in the Spartans’ home opener Sunday night.
Zachary Winston, Cassius’ younger brother, died after being hit by a westbound Amtrak train in Albion on Saturday night. He was a basketball player at Albion College.
Cassius Winston took his usual spot in Michigan State’s starting lineup Sunday. The crowd observed a moment of silence in Zachary’s honor, then Cassius assisted on Michigan State’s first basket and sank his first shot, a 3-pointer from near the top of the key.
The game was a rout, as expected. Michigan State (1-1) rebounded easily from its season-opening loss Tuesday to No. 2 Kentucky. Xavier Tillman scored 17 points for the Spartans, and Aaron Henry added 16.
Gabe Brown drew a smile from Winston when he scored inside while being fouled. That three-point play put the Spartans up 23-5. Then Winston made a nice pass up the court to Thomas Kithier for a layup.
Later, Winston stole the ball and flipped it across the court to Rocket Watts for a layup on a fast break. Tillman dunked off a lob from Winston to make it 31-13. It was 54-23 at halftime.
Winston’s final basket came when he shook past a defender and drove for a layup. He was taken out immediately after that, receiving a hug from coach Tom Izzo and a standing ovation from the crowd.
Sam Sessoms led Binghamton (0-2) with 12 points.
Binghamton: The Bearcats lost their opener to Cornell by 20 points, so this result wasn’t exactly a surprise. They did manage 14 offensive rebounds but were outscored 54-16 in the paint.
Michigan State: This was a weekend when basketball was put in perspective for the Spartans, but Winston seemed to enjoy being on the court with his teammates, and the home crowd was determined to show its support.
The Spartans can expect to drop out of the top spot because of their loss to Kentucky.
Binghamton: The Bearcats play at Columbia on Wednesday night.
Michigan State: The Spartans play at Seton Hall on Thursday night.