Thursday, December 2, 2021

No. 50: Spartans beat Arizona to tie Big Ten record for home winning streak

December 15, 2001
Junior forward Aloysius Anagonye shoots over a group of Arizona players in the Spartans’ 74-60 win over the Wildcats Saturday at the Breslin Center. —

The only thing between the No. 23 Spartans and a share of Big Ten history was one very big hurdle - No. 6 Arizona.

But the MSU men’s basketball team reversed a trend in history to keep another alive Saturday, beating Arizona for the first time, 74-60. The win extends the Breslin Center winning streak to 50 and ties the Big Ten record for home wins held by Ohio State (1959-63) and Indiana (1991-95).

Arizona, which sent the Spartans packing last season from the NCAA Tournament, entered the second half trailing by 16, but a quick 10-0 run by the Wildcats cut the Spartan lead to six.

Freshman guard Chris Hill’s baseline bounce pass at the 16-minute mark to junior forward Al Anagonye for a jam gave MSU its first second half points and a 40-32 advantage.

Two Arizona free throws by forward Rick Anderson cut the Spartan lead to 40-34, but MSU freshman forward Alan Anderson answered with an athletic move in the lane for two.

With 14:47 remaining, MSU sophomore guard Marcus Taylor drove the lane for a reverse layup, but Arizona forward Channing Frye disrupted Taylor’s shot attempt to send him to the line. Taylor hit 1-of-2 free throws to put MSU up 45-34.

Arizona went on a mini-run with 13:44 left with a three-point shot by guard Jason Gardner. MSU sophomore center Jason Andreas missed a shot attempt and Arizona’s Anderson grabbed the rebound, but couldn’t convert on a three-point attempt.

After two MSU missed shots, a Hill turnover was converted into a fast break layup by Arizona forward Luke Walton, cutting the Spartan lead to five.

On the next offensive series, junior forward Adam Ballinger brought the Spartan lead back to eight with a shot for three. Arizona attempted to answer with a three of its own, but Ballinger was there to grab guard Will Bynum’s miss and set up MSU freshman guard Kelvin Torbert for two to keep the Spartan lead at 10.

The first half began with an MSU hoop that led to a 16-6 tear for the first 9 minutes before Arizona could cut the lead in half with two Frye free throws. The Spartans were still able to hold off Arizona in the first, 29-18.

Arizona was held to a 17.9 field goal percentage in the first half.

Taylor led all scorers with 19 points. Ballinger had a career high 18 points. Leading the Arizona charge was Gradner who finished with 17.

Old School

No, Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser weren’t on the floor for the Spartans today, but their jerseys were.

MSU competed jerseys Saturday similar to those worn by the 1979 National Championship team. The uniforms are marked with State written across the chest in cursive.

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