Langford’s career-high leadership in Spartans’ upset of No. 5 Illinois

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EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – When the Michigan State men’s basketball team came into this gauntlet of a week with No. 5 Illinois and No. 4 Ohio State coming to East Lansing, they knew they would need their key players to step up in a huge way.

Senior point guard, Joshua Langford, did more than just step up on Tuesday night against Illinois. He scored 15 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds helping the Spartans win a massive upset over the No. 5 Illini, 81-72.

“The greatest teams that play the game, they are teams that know how to be steadfast and be concrete and not be moved by outward situations so that’s kinda what we came into the game with,” said Langford. “You know the margin for error is really slim and so we have to do it together as a unit. We just wanted to be the aggressor we didn’t wanna you know get hit first we wanted to go hit them first.”

MSU head coach Tom Izzo couldn’t be more proud of the development of his senior leader.

“He’s playing with some energy now, he’s playing with some hop in his legs,” said Izzo. “I’ve never seen him rebound and block shots like this even when he was a freshman. So give him a lot of credit because nobody’s been through more than Josh Langford. Just happy that he played so well and he’s leading so well, he’s doing a hell of a job leading this team.”

Izzo has always said that a player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team and he’s seen Langford develop into more of a player-coach this season.

“Joshua Langford wants to be held accountable and Joshua Langford is starting to hold other people accountable,” said Izzo. “I mean in meetings he’s actually called people out, I mean it’s so different than the guy I knew for four years and it’s beautiful.”

The Spartans have one day to prepare to host the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes on Thursday night. Tip-off for that game is set for 9 p.m.

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