The final score Monday night at the Breslin Center was Michigan State 94, Charleston Southern 46, but it seems accurate to say there are no easy games for these Spartans any longer.
Not even two weeks have passed since All-American guard Cassius Winston lost his brother, Zachary, to a train accident near where Zachary attended college and played varsity hoops in Albion, Mich. Zachary Winston was 19.
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MORE: Zachary Winston struck, killed by train
Cassius has not missed a game since, preferring to honor his brother by continuing to play the game they grew up loving.
A senior from point guard from Detroit, Cassius scored 21 points and passed for four assists last week in a stirring victory at Seton Hall. In Monday’s game, he took only nine shots and scored 11 points, but he passed for eight assists. And afterward, he requested the opportunity to thank Spartans fans for how they’ve helped him through such a difficult time.
“Right here, I just want to say thank you all, thank all the Spartan Nation. It’s been a really tough time for me and my family, so just all the support, all the love, all the flowers — I really, really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart, me and our family. There’s no better place than this and how you guys just showed how much you cared … my teammates, my coaches, everyone in this building.
“I really appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. I lost a piece of my heart, but you guys are keeping me going. I love everything about this place and I really appreciate you guys. So thank you.”
Winston accepted a quick hug from coach Tom Izzo, another from sports information director Michael Carey, then draped a towel over his head as he walked to the Breslin locker room.
The fans chanted M-V-P as he left.