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FINAL: MSU men’s basketball separates late versus GVSU in exhibition game

November 1, 2022
<p>Junior center Mady Sissoko throws down an alley-oop dunk during Michigan State men&#x27;s basketball&#x27;s exhibition match with Grand Valley State on Nov. 1, 2022.</p>

Junior center Mady Sissoko throws down an alley-oop dunk during Michigan State men's basketball's exhibition match with Grand Valley State on Nov. 1, 2022.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

It’s Nov. 1 meaning Michigan State men’s hoops is officially back, sorta.

MSU defeated Grand Valley State 73-56 in its exhibition game Tuesday night prior to the next week's start of the 2022-23 season. 

It was GVSU’s third exhibition game after losses to Oakland and Eastern Michigan. It was also first-year head coach Cornell Mann’s first time at the Breslin Center.

MSU’s starting five were junior guard A.J. Hoggard, junior guard Tyson Walker, senior guard Malik Hall, graduate student guard Joey Hauser and junior center Mady Sissoko.

First Half

MSU managed to rotate through its shortened rotation during the game, putting in junior guard Pierre Brooks, freshman forward Tre Holloman and freshman center Jaxon Kohler as early as five minutes into the first half.

Sophomore guard Jadin Akins was out due to his foot injury. It’s uncertain when Akins will return for the Spartans.

Walker had a hot start, racking up 10 points and playing both the one and the two. Sissoko was another Spartan to look for, with nine points and three of MSU’s 14 first half rebounds, four less than the Lakers.

It was an unexpected start for the Spartans, trailing the Lakers for most of the first half with a 42% field goal percentage 10 minutes in.

Laker graduate student forward Chinedu Kingsley Okanu scored the first basket of the game off his second attempted layup, followed by a layup by Hauser to get on the board for the Spartans.

Okanu gave MSU trouble all night scoring 13 of his 17 points in the first half and connecting on eight of 12 field goals. 

MSU struggled to maintain the lead over Grand Valley State, ending the half 36-31GVSU and leaving Spartan fans concerned especially with the strenuous upcoming non-conference schedule.

The green and white slacked on rebounding the entirety of the half, something Head Coach Tom Izzo had noted as a work-in-progress following the scrimmage at Tennessee

MSU totaled six team fouls by halftime, three of which came from Hauser. MSU shot a measley 50% from free throw and 48% from the field, failing to capitalize on 12 of the 23 shots taken. 

Second half

MSU started the second half strong with an immediate basket from Hauser. The green and white skidded past the Lakers and sat on top for the entirety of the second half.

Kohler then got his name on the board with four points in the paint within the initial five minutes, totaling six by the end of the game.

Sissoko continued to shine, carrying the Spartans with 11 points halfway through the second half and three rebounds.

In midseason form, Izzo received his first technical foul after losing his cool on an offensive foul call on Hoggard. 

When there were eight minutes left on the clock, that’s when Izzo’s 2022-23 squad brought its A-game, fending off the Lakers from regaining the leading score. 

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By the end of the 40 minute exhibition, Hall led the team with 15 points followed by Hoggard accumulating 14.

MSU outshot the Lakers at the free throw line, making 13 of 21 compared to GVSU's 3-13.

MSU looks to utilize the momentum from Tuesday's win when heading into the season opener on Nov. 7 against Northern Arizona. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center.


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