Winston dazzles as U-D Jesuit downs Chicago Morgan Park
Detroit — Cassius Winston showed why he is considered one of the top players in the nation Monday night at Calihan Hall, leading Detroit Jesuit to a 64-61 win over Chicago Morgan Park.
And, Winston & Co. got the job done against a Morgan Park team that was ranked No. 1 in Illinois by the Chicago Sun Times, coming off a state semifinal run last season after consecutive 3A state titles in 2013 and ’14.
Winston, a 6-foot-2 senior guard and Michigan State commit, finished with 26 points to lead U-D Jesuit — the top-ranked team in The News’ preseason rankings — with MSU coach Tom Izzo looking on.
Winston scored 13 in each half and made big plays down the stretch, starting with a reverse layup after getting an offensive rebound to open a 10-point lead (57-47) with four minutes left. He then got a steal with 30 seconds left with the Jesuit holding a slim 62-59 lead.
“You always want to make a name for your school, put your school on the map and that’s what we did,” Winston said. “We came in and I guess we’re the No. 1 in the state and they’re the No. 1 team in their state and we just wanted to beat them and let them know that we’re on top.”
Memphis-bound guard Charlie Moore scored 38 for Morgan Park, 16 during the final quarter. He made a three-point play (basket and free throw) to pull his team within a single possession (60-57) with 1:23 left, seconds after Winston missed a pair of free throws.
“It was good competition and (Moore) probably got the better of me today, but that’s OK because we got the win,” Winston said.
Simply put, Winston had more help from his teammates, including 18 points from 6-9 junior Greg Eboigbodin, 10 coming in the third quarter.
“He’s going to be a big key this year,” said Winston of Eboigbodin, who has offers from Cleveland State, St. Peters and Cornell. “He has a year under this belt now, the first time playing organized basketball (was last year), this is his second year, so he’s developed a lot so he’s going to have a big year.”
During one stretch, Winston made a 3-pointer, then drove the lane for a layup, followed by an alley-oop pass to Eboigbodin for a dunk to give U-D Jesuit a 35-32 lead.
Eboigbodin’s dunk started a 8-2 run to give U-D Jesuit a 41-34 cushion as Eboigbodin made a pair of free throws, then Winston scored off a drive, followed by a putback from Eboigbodin.
“Coach (Pat Donnelly) told me to use my size and be aggressive,” said Eboigbodin said.
And, of that alley-oop pass from Winston?
“I knew that was coming,” Eboigbodin said. “I just had to make the crowd go crazy.”
Winston made the crowd go crazy with that steal in the final minute.
“We’re out here, just trying to make plays and I don’t know how I do it, you just try to make the best play," Winston said.