Thursday, February 2, 2023

‘We don’t win that game without Malik': Hall's versatility shines in rivalry game

January 8, 2023
<p>Senior forward Malik Hall (25) during Michigan State’s game against Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans ultimately beat the Wolverines, 59-53.</p>

Senior forward Malik Hall (25) during Michigan State’s game against Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans ultimately beat the Wolverines, 59-53.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State men's hoops knocked off its rival, Michigan, 59-53 on Saturday afternoon at The Breslin Center. While there were a lot of moving pieces that made the victory possible, senior forward Malik Hall's minutes were a decisive factor. 

Hall officially returned on Dec. 30 for a measly 13 minutes of play against Buffalo. After the new year, he saw the floor for 18 minutes against Nebraska and then 23 minutes against the Wolverines. 

Despite continuing to fully recover from a stress reaction in his left foot, Hall remains a crucial asset to Izzo’s 2022-23 lineup. In the matchup with Michigan, he and junior guard A.J. Hoggard led the team in points with 15 each.

Hall’s contributions on the offensive end were matched by his defensive prowess. In fact, Izzo described him as possibly his most versatile player on the roster. 

“He keeps the other guys calm, he can drive and he can make some plays – he’s multiskilled,” Izzo said. “As that comes back in the next few weeks, I think that will be really important for us.”

Izzo said that while Hall had an impressive performance on Saturday afternoon, he’s not going to be back to 100% overnight.

In the final play of the first half, he was pushed into the Michigan bench by junior guard Jace Howard and it was later confirmed that he rolled his ankle. 

Though he looked to be in pain, Hall picked himself up and returned after the half to help lead his team to victory against their rivals.

“I just stay consistent,” Hall said. “I just try to impact the game in every way possible that I can. If I'm not shooting well, play defense. ... Just try to do something to help my team the best I can moving forward.”

His teammates emphasized his importance to the team both on and off the floor.

“He plays a huge role,” graduate student forward Joey Hauser said. “He’s our leader, he’s our senior captain. He does so many things on the court but I think defensively is where we really missed him when he was out. Offensively, his versatility is one of the best assets to our team.”

The green and white will hit the road for a two-game stretch, as they head to Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday night to continue Big Ten Play followed by a game against Illinois on Friday. 

There’s a lot Michigan State needs to get done as they delve into consecutive conference play and getting Hall back to 100% is certainly one of them.

“For him to step up, that's what I expect from Malik even with him not being 100%,” Hoggard said. “I'm super proud of him and the way he continued to play hard for us on his second and third game back and I'm super excited to get him back to full health.”

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