EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Freshman Nick Ward scored a season-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first start, helping Michigan State pull away to beat Oakland 77-65 on Wednesday night. The Spartans (8-5) closed their non-conference season with a desperately needed win, coming off a loss to Northeastern.
The Golden Grizzlies (9-3) lost to Northeastern at home on Tuesday night, giving them a tough turnaround. Michigan State took control of the sloppy, foul-filled game with an 11-2 run midway through the second half. Ward later made a low-post shot off his own miss, giving the Spartans a 68-55 lead with 4:46 left.
The Spartans didn't have a player other than Ward score in double figures until late in the game. Eron Harris finished with 15 points. Cassius Winston had nine points and eight assists.
Oakland's Jalen Hayes scored 11 points in 12 minutes before fouling out. Stevie Clark had 13 points, Martez Walker scored 11 and Sherron Dorsey-Walker added 10 points for the Grizzlies.
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