Michigan State healthy for showdown vs. Kentucky
East Lansing – As Michigan State gets set to continue its tough open to the regular season, it will do so no worse for wear after its trip to Hawaii for the season-opener last week.
The Spartans suffered a last-second loss, 65-63, to No. 10 Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic on Friday and now it gets set to take on No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
No. 13 Michigan State will be relatively healthy for the game as sophomore forward Kenny Goins is OK after banging his knee on the court against Arizona, and freshman guard Joshua Langford has responded well after his first significant action since coming back from nursing a sore hamstring.
Goins hurt his left knee in the second half Friday, the same knee he had surgery on during the offseason. This fall had the Spartans holding their breath for a minute.
“The scare was he just slipped. For some reason the floor was slippery,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Sometimes that happens in those settings and the floor was slippery and he slipped, kind of banged his knee. I know that’s not good but that’s a lot better than twisting it. So it was a minor scare, but one that has worked out fine. He’s practicing full-go, he’s doing everything.”
Langford was kept out of both of Michigan State’s exhibition games because of trouble with the hamstring and made his debut against the Wildcats. He finished with just five points but was limited because of early foul trouble but said he was in good shape after the game.
“I felt great,” Langford said. “My hamstring is not bothering me or anything like that. So I feel good
Izzo is expecting more out of Langford moving forward.
“He’s practiced full-go since, so (the injury) was just like they thought,” Izzo said. “It would just take some time but it’s been no problem. He will help us a lot because what we’re struggling to do is guard the ball a little bit and he is probably, I think, could be one of those lock-down defenders like a (Charlie) Bell used to be, and different players like that that could really get after it. He has some length, he has some size, he has plenty of IQ. He makes some things happen offensively. He made some drives, different things that he did. So I’m looking forward to his minutes going way up.”
Honor for Bridges
Michigan State’s Miles Bridges was named Big Ten co-Freshman of the Week on Monday along with Curtis Jones Jr. of Indiana.
Bridges scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Michigan State’s loss to Arizona. He was 9-for-19 from the field and became the first Michigan State freshman to score 20 or more points in his debut since Jay Vincent scored 25 in 1977.
The last Spartan to be named Freshman of the Week was Deyonta Davis on Feb. 1, 2016.
Izzo said senior forward Gavin Schilling has undergone surgery on the right knee he injured just before the season and the prognosis remains the same.
“I still think we’re a long ways away, but I don’t think he’s ruled out of anything yet,” Izzo said. “Even though he’s walking, it’s surgery that it’s gonna be -- I don’t plan on having him back until the Big Ten season, if then.”
No. 13 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7 p.m., Madison Square Garden, New York
TV / radio: ESPN / WJR 760
Records: Michigan State 0-1, Kentucky 2-0
Outlook: Michigan State won the only other meeting between the teams in the Champions Classic, beating top-ranked Kentucky, 78-74, in Chicago in 2013 as the No. 2 team in the nation. … Michigan State also has two wins over Kansas in the event (2012, 2015) and has lost twice to Duke (2011, 2014).