Thursday, September 24, 2020

Top ten moments of the 2015-2016 season for MSU sports teams

April 28, 2016
The Spartan football team and Spartan fans celebrate on Dec. 5, 2015 after the Big Ten championship game against Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 16-13.
The Spartan football team and Spartan fans celebrate on Dec. 5, 2015 after the Big Ten championship game against Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 16-13. —
Photo by Alice Kole | and Alice Kole The State News

It's been a year to remember for MSU athletics. There have been so many great and memorable moments during the 2015-16 school year. Here's an attempt to boil them down to a top 10.

10. Jordan Zimmerman walk-off

It's been a season for the ages for MSU baseball, made possible by moments like Jordan Zimmerman's walk-off blast on April 1 against Oregon, which gave the Spartans a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

9. MSU wrestling sends Tom Minkel out with victory at final home meet

What a career it was for long time MSU head wrestling coach Tom Minkel. The former rockstar, Olympian and World Series of Poker competitor served as a coach at MSU for the last 25 years, before announcing his retirement prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 season. And on Feb. 19, his team was able to send him off with a 21-17 victory in his final meet at Jenison Field House.

8. MSU hockey's thrilling overtime victory vs. University of Michigan

It was a rough season for MSU hockey to say the least. The Spartans finished the season with just a 10-23 record. It was even rougher as the Spartans slogged through nearly a two month stretch of the season with no wins. That all came to an end on Feb. 5, however, with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over in-state rival and heavily favored University of Michigan at the Joe Louis Arena.

7. Denzel Valentine triple-double vs. Kansas

Two heavyweights squared off for an early season contest in Chicago for the Champions Classic. And they didn't disappoint. MSU senior guard Denzel Valentine led the way for a comeback victory with a performance for the ages. Valentine finished with a monstrous triple-double of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as MSU was able to take the 79-73 victory.

6. MSU basketball wins 2016 Big Ten Tournament title

The Spartans felt they'd let the Big Ten regular season title slip away, so they went to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament with something to prove. MSU won three games in three days and took home the title with a 66-62 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers in the championship game, which gave the program its third Big Ten Tournament title in five years.

5. Women's basketball wins shootout with Minnesota

The stats from the MSU women's basketball team's 114-106 victory against Minnesota on Feb. 21 were something you see out of a video game. Maryland's Rachel Banham finished with 52 points and seven assists, but it wasn't enough to keep up with MSU's dynamic duo of Aerial Powers, who finished with 40 points and eight assists that afternoon, and Tori Jankoska, who finished with 24 points and 15 assists against the Golden Gophers.

4. LJ Scott reaches higher

At the tail end of a 22-play, 82-yard drive, which spanned the course of 9:04, it was the second effort from freshman MSU running back LJ Scott that gave the Spartans a 16-13 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten championship game and a spot in the College Football Playoff.

3. Matt Costello's memorable performance against Maryland

MSU's rock solid senior forward wasn't expected to be much of a factor in MSU's game against Maryland on Jan. 23. Costello had severely sprained his ankle three days prior and hadn't even practiced in the three days leading up to the game. But once the game tipped off, Costello turned in a spirited 15 points and 12 rebounds performance, culminating in a 74-65 MSU victory and a Costello and Izzo bear hug, which will never be forgotten.

2. Michael Geiger field goal downs Buckeyes

Virtually no one saw the Spartans going into Columbus and pulling off a 17-14 upset victory over Ohio State University with Connor Cook sidelined with a shoulder injury. But it was the MSU defense who a delivered a dominating performance, which allowed for MSU junior kicker Michael Geiger to drill a 41-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

1. Miracle in Ann Arbor

This one will never get old for Spartan fans. MSU trailed in-state rival University Michigan, 23-21. With 10 seconds left in the game and the Wolverines set to punt from their own 47, the game appeared to be over. But a muffed punt by U-M punter Blake O'Neill led to MSU's Jalen Watts-Jackson to scoop up the ball and return it 38 yards for a 27-23 victory.


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