Playing through heartbreak, senior guard Cassius Winston posted a double-double to lead No. 1 Michigan State to an easy 100-47 victory over Binghamton on Sunday night in East Lansing, Mich.
Late Saturday night, word came that Winston's 19-year-old brother had been killed when struck by a train. Zachary Winston, a sophomore guard for Division III Albion, was killed in an accident that occurred near the Albion campus around 8:30 p.m., according to Albion Chief of Public Safety Scott Kipp.
Prior to the game, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said it was up to Winston whether to play.
"We'll play with a heavy heart," Izzo said.
The preseason All-American and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year decided he would play, scoring 17 and handing out 11 assists for the Spartans (1-1), who were coming off the loss to No. 2 Kentucky earlier in the week at the Champions Classic.
Winston led a balanced attack for Michigan State, as five players scored in double figures. Junior Xavier Tillman scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while sophomore Aaron Henry scored 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Sophomore Marcus Bingham scored a career-high 13 points, while sophomore Thomas Kithier made all five of his shots to score 10 points, also a career high.
Sophomore Sam Sessoms scored 12 to lead Binghamton (0-2), while senior Richard Caldwell Jr. added 11 points for the Bearcats.
It didn't take long for the Spartans to put the Kentucky loss in the rearview mirror, as they scored 16 straight points early in the first half to open a 27-5 lead. Binghamton tried to stay in the game by hitting five first-half 3-pointers, but by halftime, Michigan State was ahead, 54-23, as eight players had scored.
By the second half, it was all Michigan State, which next faces No. 12 Seton Hall on Thursday in Newark, N.J., as part of the Gavitt Games.
--Field Level Media