Thursday, February 2, 2023

FINAL: Michigan State bounces back to defeat Penn State, 67-58

December 7, 2022
<p>Spartan guard A.J. Hoggard attempts to get open to receive the ball during the match against the Northwestern Wildcats on Dec. 4, 2022. </p>

Spartan guard A.J. Hoggard attempts to get open to receive the ball during the match against the Northwestern Wildcats on Dec. 4, 2022.

Photo by Olivia Hans | The State News

Following painful defeats to Notre Dame and Northwestern, Michigan State crept back after a initially slow first half to overcome Penn State in its first road conference game of the season.

Head coach Tom Izzo reverted back to his original starter at the one spot, putting junior guard A.J. Hoggard back in the starting lineup. 

Other starters included senior guard Tyson Walker, graduate student forward Joey Hauser, junior center Mady Sissoko and recently returning sophomore guard Jaden Akins

It was a slow start offensively for both teams. Midway through the first half, the Spartans were 5-13 from the field and 0-2 from outside the arc. 

Penn State quickly redeemed itself from its first five unsuccessful three-pointers, netting three consecutive triples within just over a minute, putting the Nittany Lions ahead of the green and white. 

Off the glass, MSU matched Penn State with 17 total rebounds in the first half, four on offense and 13 on defense.

Freshman center Jaxon Kohler carried MSU offensively in the middle of the first half, notching six points and matching his career-high. It helped keep MSU in the game on the offensive end, especially with Sissoko in foul trouble. 

Akins was another player making offensive strides, going 2-2 from deep to start out.

Hoggard took over towards the end of the half, converting on consecutive three-point plays in the final three minutes.

The green and white, down by nine at the ten minute mark, bounced back to end the half in a tie, 35-35.

MSU kept the score close, it remained a back-and-forth affair throughout most of the second half.

Hoggard remained consistent on offense in the second half, scoring a career high of 23 points. Hoggard stepped up defensively as well, picking up six rebounds, one block and a steal.

Hoggard's performance on Wednesday night looked similar to the way he was playing at the end of the 2021-22 season. If Hoggard can keep it up, the Spartans will be in good shape.

Hauser, another Spartan who stood out on the defensive end, picked up a team high of thirteen defensive rebounds along with a block throughout the game to contribute to a total of 40 rebounds for the Spartans. 

As expected prior to the matchup, Penn State’s leading scorers, senior guards Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy and Camren Wynter, continued to keep the Spartans on their feet in the second half. Pickett neared a triple-double but failed to finish it out.

Penn State stayed within striking distance the entire half until the Spartans slowly gained separation.

With 42 seconds on the clock, Hauser sank his two awarded free throws, giving MSU an eight-point lead.

Michigan State will be back at home on Saturday where it will host Brown. The game tips-off at 4:30 p.m. and will be televised on Big Ten Network.

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