Believe it or not, Michigan State hadn't defeated a ranked non-conference opponent on the road since 2002. They got that little monkey off their back Saturday night when they took down the No. 22 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 74-67, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington.
The win, Michigan State's eighth straight of the season, was their first this year against a ranked opponent. They dropped their first two games of the season against, at the time, No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke, before winning their next seven by an average of 25.7 points per game.
Draymond Green led the Spartans with 34 points on 11-of-13 shooting. Keith Appling had eight points and seven assists while Derrick Nix added eight points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench. MSU shot 54-percent as a team (46-percent from downtown) and held Gonzaga to 44-percent shooting overall.
This was Gonzaga's second straight loss, both to the Big Ten, and just their seventh loss ever at home. It will likely drop them out of the Top 25 and could result in MSU cracking the rankings for the first time this season.
The Spartans should be able to extend their winning streak to 11 with relative ease before December 28 when they tip-off the Big Ten portion of their schedule against Indiana. Indiana just upended No. 1 Kentucky today and could be undefeated going into the MSU game, so it's lining up to be a real doozie of a Big Ten opener.