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Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman help Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team make quick work of Minnesota Golden Gophers, 74-58

Minnesota's Alihan Demir, left, pulls down a rebound against Michigan State's Thomas Kithier during the second half Thursday in East Lansing. Michigan State won 74-58. (AP photo)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

EAST LANSING — Michigan State started slowly against Minnesota, looking sluggish coming off a big win over its rival.

Cassius Winston made sure the Spartans made up for that.

Winston scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half while Xavier Tillman finished with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, leading No. 8 Michigan State to a 74-58 win over Minnesota on Thursday night.

“Cassius had 27 points and barely breaks a sweat,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said.

The senior star made more than half his shot attempts after halftime after he was 2 of 8 in the first half.

“I wasn’t forcing it as much and was playing a little more free,” Winston said.

Winston had a career-high 32 points in an 87-69 win over then-No. 12 Michigan on Sunday.

The Spartans (13-3, 5-0 Big Ten) led by just four points at halftime before pulling away for their eighth straight victory, staying atop the Big Ten standings as the only team without a conference loss.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was very unhappy after the first half and let his players know it in the locker room.

“They responded,” Izzo said.

The Golden Gophers (8-7, 2-3) were competitive in the first half, which had five lead changes and five ties, but couldn’t slow down Winston after halftime or Tillman the entire game.