EAST LANSING — If this is what Michigan State plays like with a No. 1 ranking, it could be a long winter for the rest of the Big Ten.
The Spartans used a full-throttle attack — 3-pointers early, baskets in the paint late, defense all night — and steamrolled Maryland on Thursday night, 91-61, at Breslin Center.
MSU (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) won its 14th straight game and its first since moving to No. 1 in both polls earlier this week.
The Spartans didn’t quite hit the 100-point mark or make 60 percent of their shots for the fifth straight game, but they came close to both. MSU shot 57.1 percent while holding the Terps to 37.7 percent from the field.
Nick Ward shot 6-for-8 for a team-high 16 points, while Miles Bridges had 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 15 on five 3-pointers to go with three blocks and two steals, and Cassius Winston added 10 points with eight assists.
Five Spartans had five or more rebounds, and four had five-plus assists.
Jackson hit a pair of 3s in the first 2-plus minutes before getting called for his second offensive fouls with 15:38 left in the first half. Kenny Goins took his place and buried the first two 3-pointers of his college career, a sign of things to come.
After falling behind 27-26 on a 3-pointer from Maryland’s Kevin Huerter with 7:45 left in the opening half, MSU closed on a 22-6 run. That included holding Maryland scoreless for a 4:29 stretch in which the Spartans scored 15 straight points.
Tum Tum Nairn’s 3-pointer with 1:17 left before intermission was the Spartans’ 10th of the half by six different players in taking a 44-32 lead to break.
In the half, MSU made 10-for-16 from behind the arc and shot 57.1 percent from the field overall. The Spartans had assists on all 16 of their baskets.
The Terrapins (13-4, 2-2) stayed in it thanks to their own hot shooting from outside, with Huerter hitting three of Maryland’s five 3-pointers in the half.
MSU continued its sizzling shooting by making its first six shots of the second half to extend its lead to 17 in a little over five minutes. That included two more pick-and-pop 3-pointers from Jackson and a pair of buckets for Ward.
The Spartans made 11 of their first 16 shots to open the second half, then held the Terrapins without a field goal for another 5-minute stretch and then a 6-minute stretch as the MSU lead grew to 30 with 5:10 to play on a Winston 3-pointer.
The Spartans finished 16-for-28 from 3-point range, one shy of tying the school record. MSU also had 30 assists on its 32 field goals.
Anthony Cowan scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, and Huerter finished scored 16. The Terrapins made just 7-for-25 shots (28 percent) in the second half.
The Spartans travel to Ohio State on Sunday for their second road game of the season. The Buckeyes (12-4, 3-0) won at Iowa on Thursday night, 92-81, behind 27 points and 13 rebounds from Keita Bates-Diop.
Contact Chris Solari: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.
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