Through the first half of No. 3 Michigan State’s matchup with No. 12 Seton Hall, freshman forward Malik Hall had yet to score his first collegiate points. He had seen opportunities and playing time in both games prior, against then-No. 2 Kentucky and Binghamton. In those games he would total three shots, and couldn’t get any to finish.
Minutes Hall saw prior to this half would, in hindsight, act as a build up, as he would burst on to the college basketball scene and into the eyes of many in the second half. His late game heroics and consistent play would end up being the dagger that held off a hungry Seton Hall.
Hall would find himself checking into a tie game with just over four minutes gone in the second half.
With just under 15 minutes left, Hall would set a screen near the perimeter for senior guard Cassius Winston. Seton Hall’s senior center Romaro Gill would drift towards Winston, pushing him into a double team. Hall would set his feet just beyond the three point line.
A quick pass from Winston, would find the freshman taking his first shot of the game. Three.
Hall would have the first points of his career.
In his next five shots, Hall wouldn’t miss. He added two more threes, and three other makes from inside the perimeter, bringing his total up to 15 points.
His play kept the Spartans in the game, and as they continued to trade blows, his best was yet to come.
With 26 seconds left, the freshman would find himself with the ball in the paint and Michigan State down 73-72. He drove to the right side of the paint on Gill, who had already swatted several of his Spartan teammates that night.
An underhand layup from the freshman would circle the rim and find its way in, placing the Spartans ahead and ahead for good.
Hall would cap off his stellar jump into college basketball with a game winner against the No. 12 team in the country.
The freshman’s historic performance would result in him earning Player of the Week award from analyst and March Madness host Andy Katz.
Hall would finish 7-7 from the field, resulting in 17 points and adding five rebounds. After not scoring through his first two games, the freshman looked like a veteran in the crucial moments, propelling him to the Player of the Week award. The emergence of the freshman is good news for a Michigan State team who is still looking for their rotation and at the four position.
Malik Hall and the Spartans will look to follow up their win against Seton Hall with a win against Charleston Southern Monday evening. From there, they will travel to Hawaii to play in the Maui Classic.