Michigan State men's basketball returned to the Breslin Center Tuesday with heavy hearts, just eight days after a mass shooting on campus, leaving three students dead and five hospitalized.
After a slow offensive start, MSU’s offense came to life, allowing the Spartans to take down No. 17 Indiana 80-65.
Both teams were dressed in warmups that read Spartan Strong with a Spartan head alongside the IU logo. Izzone members were given Spartan Strong t-shirts to wear upon entry.
During pregame warmups, freshman center Carson Cooper was spotted in a boot. It was announced on head coach Tom Izzo's pregame radio show that the 6-foot-11 big tweaked his foot taking a shot in practice on Monday. Izzo said it was unlikely Cooper would play against the Hoosiers.
Prior to tip off, first responders were recognized for their heroic efforts the night of the shooting and throughout the week within the Spartan community.
A moment of silence was taken to honor the lives of the three students who were tragically killed the night of Feb. 13 – Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner and Arielle Anderson and the five students still at Sparrow hospital.
MSU got off to yet another slow start on its home floor. The Hoosiers led the Spartans 8-0 in the opening minutes of play. It wasn’t until four minutes in when graduate student forward Joey Hauser sank a shot from behind the arc and the Spartan offense began to pick up.
Turnovers reappeared to hinder the Spartans’ performance, specifically for junior guard A.J. Hoggard who claimed three (of three total for MSU) midway through the first half.
Indiana’s strength in the post was the largest threat to the Spartans with their lack of experience at the five and IU’s star forward, senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis in the middle.
The absence of Cooper in the lineup harmed the green and white, a roster already lacking necessary depth.
Senior guard Tyson Walker went on a hot streak in the final minutes of the first half as he nailed four consecutive shots from deep and tied it up for MSU.
Prior to his 12 points, Walker was 0-4 from the field.
In the final two minutes leading up to halftime, freshman center Jaxon Kohler kept MSU’s offense on track as he went on to clinch four points and held Jackson-Davis’s scoring to a minimum in the paint.
With the help of shots from deep courtesy of Walker and an impressive performance on both sides of the court late in the half by Kohler, MSU claimed the lead at halftime, 35-29.
The Spartans’ offensive prowess carried on into the second half as MSU's lead extended to double-digits in the first few minutes. It started raining three’s in the Breslin center.
Senior forward Malik Hall decided to change things up as he picked up a steal and made his way down the court, finishing it off with a dunk that could have blown the roof off the Breslin Center.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Spartans went on a 8-0 run with baskets from Hoggard and Walker.
Hoggard recovered from his three turnovers early on with 22 points, three rebounds and a team-high of five assists by the end of the night. Junior center Mady Sissoko came alive late in the second half as he picked up three rebounds, one assist and a block.
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