No. 9 Michigan State men’s basketball has fared quite well against Louisville in recent memory, having won three of their last four matchups against the Cardinals heading into Tuesday night, where the two teams faced off again as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Though the Spartans had the upper hand in recent years, Louisville has never lost a home game in the month of November since moving into the KFC Yum! Center in 2010. The Spartans (5-1) were unable to end that streak as they fell in overtime to Louisville (4-2) Tuesday night 82-78.
The two teams went back and forth to start the game, as it was an 8-7 game in favor of the Spartans five minutes in. However, a 11-3 run by Louisville gave them a seven-point lead halfway through the first half.
The Cardinals continued to pull away, as six points from guard Ryan McMahon increased their lead to 12 points 14 minutes into the half. The Spartans fought back, rattling off a 12-6 run to cut their deficit to six points, cutting the score to 38-32 at halftime.
Aside from going 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from the floor first half, the Spartans early struggles were also attributed to their turnovers, as they piled up 11 in the first half.
The Spartans and Cardinals were trading baskets to start the second half as both teams put up eight points in the first five minutes. However, the Spartans were able to heat up again, firing off seven-straight points to bring MSU within three points. After following behind at a safe distance for the next four and a half minutes, a Nick Ward layup made it a one-point game with 8:49 left on the game clock.
The Spartans did not retake the lead until five minutes later, as a jumper by junior guard Josh Langford made the score 62-61 in favor of MSU. However, the Spartans were unable to hold on to their small lead, as the Cardinals eventually tied it up at 67 to send the game into overtime.
The Spartans missed their chance to win in regulation, as they were unable to contain the Cardinals in overtime and dropped their second game of the season and had their five-game winning streak snapped.
With senior guard Matt McQuaid out of the line up due to a leg injury, junior forward Kyle Ahrens got his first start of the season for the Spartans, and fared quite nicely, leading his team in scoring and putting up a career-high 15 points. Langford finished the night with 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting thanks to a big second half.
The Spartans return to action Friday night, as they are set to open Big Ten play at Rutgers (4-1).
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