FINAL: Takeaways as MSU downs Ferris State in exhibition opener 80-72
Ineffective shooting by MSU Thursday night allowed Ferris State to scare the Spartans in their first of three exhibition games, but MSU managed to pull away from Ferris State late in the second half to secure a 80-72 victory over the Bulldogs, who finished with a school all-time best 18-3 in league action last season.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
The Spartans struggled to score from the field in the first half and much of the second.
As a result of MSU’s inability to find the basket, the Spartans found themselves down 12-2 to open the game, with MSU’s only points in the opening 4:11 coming from a dunk by Miles Bridges four seconds into the game.
At halftime, the Spartans were 11 of 38 from the field and trailed Ferris State 38-35.
MSU made just 2 of 16 shots from behind the arc through the first 20 minutes of play, while Ferris State shot 37 percent from the field and netted 5 of 12 3-pointers.
Despite an early scare in the first half after a hard fall, Miles Bridges was tied with Jaren Jackson Jr. with a game-high eight points.
Joshua Langford was unable to record a field goal Thursday as he went 0 for 12 from the field.
Cassius Winston, who Izzo said earlier this week is shooting the ball as well as anyone on the team, helped turn around the Spartans’ lack of productive shooting in the second half, scoring 21 of his game-high 26 total points in the final 20 minutes.
MSU ended the night shooting 35 percent, at a 25-for-72 clip from the field, and 26 percent from behind the arc, while the Bulldogs outshot the Spartans, making 25 of 67 field goals for 37 percent.
After the addition of Sunday’s hurricane relief game against Georgia, Izzo said he hopes three exhibition games before the regular season doesn’t become the norm.
Some fans may even contemplate having even one after an injury scare in the first half sent Bridges to the locker room.
A pump fake by Jaylin McFadden fooled Bridges, who jumped up to block the shot. McFadden made contact with Bridges in the air, sending the Big Ten Player of the Year favorite crashing to the floor.
Bridges, after landing on his head, would stay down on the court, appearing to be in agony and with a towel over his head.
A silence fell upon the crowd, but Bridges would give a thumbs up to the fans in attendance as he walked to the locker room. The injury appeared to just be a cut on Bridges’ head, but it was enough to alarm MSU’s fan base.
To the delight of the MSU fans suffering near heart attacks after the scare to the Spartans’ star player, Bridges came out to start the second half with a bandage on the right side of his head.
Bridges finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
FRESHMAN PHENOM PART II
Jaren Jackson Jr. showed his immense length and athleticism Thursday night.
The 6-foot-11 forward went into the locker room at the end of the first half with eight points and six blocks.
He would end his first game in the green and white with 14 points, eight rebounds and his eight blocks were six more than the Bulldogs' combined block total.