Thursday, May 23, 2024

Preview: MSU Men's basketball to face OSU, Julius Erving finalist Brice Sensabaugh, on the road

February 12, 2023
<p>Freshman guard A.J. Hoggard (11) makes an attempt to score but Ohio State&#x27;s Musa Jallow (2) blocks it in the first half. The Buckeyes swept the Spartans, 79-62, at OSU&#x27;s Schottenstein Center on Jan. 31, 2021.</p>

Freshman guard A.J. Hoggard (11) makes an attempt to score but Ohio State's Musa Jallow (2) blocks it in the first half. The Buckeyes swept the Spartans, 79-62, at OSU's Schottenstein Center on Jan. 31, 2021.

Although MSU's Tuesday late night tipoff was the first of the season, the Spartans put on an all too familiar performance, nearly costing them the game against the Terrapins.

However, the green and white ultimately hung on to overcome Maryland, 63-58 in the final minutes of play. 

“I would rather win ugly than lose pretty,'' head coach Tom Izzo said.

After a lousy offensive effort against Rutgers the previous weekend at Madison Square Garden, the Spartans got off to a hot start with a 15-0 lead over the Terrapins. 

Offensive momentum came to a halt late in the first half as Maryland got into a groove of its own and MSU went on more than a five minute scoring drought. 

The second half slump was evident as the Spartans played another scoreless five minutes, allowing a lead change in favor of the Terrapins.   

“We’re really connected as a team and we're really connected defensively and we weren’t really connected offensively,” Izzo said.

Personal fouls were a silent killer for the green and white. Senior guard Tyson Walker and graduate student forward Joey Hauser picked up their third fouls early on in the second half, costing them a trip to the bench.

Junior guard A.J. Hoggard, Walker and Hauser led the Spartans to victory. Despite foul trouble for two of the three, the starters popped off the stat sheet. Hauser notched a team-high 20 points and Walker collected a stellar 12 points. 

Izzo was impressed with Hoggard’s performance, and said it's the type of game he needs to see out of his starting point guard. Hoggard was versatile with 10 rebounds, eight points, eight assists and a steal. 

“I think he can start realizing that a few less shots, a few less points but others in other ways is going to make us a better team,” Izzo said.

Scouting the Buckeyes:

Ohio State (3-10) sits right above Minnesota at the bottom of the Big Ten standings, while the rest of the conference is bunched together in the middle, aside from Purdue at the top.

Coming off a five-game losing streak, the Buckeyes are looking to pick up a conference win on their home floor against the green and white. 

The Buckeyes fell to Northwestern in Columbus on Thursday night, a team that outlasted the Spartans 96-63 in their 2022-23 Big Ten season opener.

Redshirt senior forward Justice Sueing, and freshmen guard Bruce Thorrnon and forward Brice Sensabaugh are key contributors for the Buckeyes. 

Sensabaugh was selected as a top ten finalist earlier this week for the Julius Erving Award, the only nominee from the Big Ten. The honor was previously awarded in the past to Spartan small forward Denzel Valentine in 2016. 

Junior center Mady Sissoko acknowledged that although the Buckeye starting big, junior forward Zed Key isn’t any taller than him, he's efficient when it comes to offensive rebounding, a skill that the Spartan big has struggled with this over the course of Big Ten play.

“We know we can't underestimate him and have to be ready for him," Sissoko said. 

Key has started in 21 of OSU's 24 2022-23 season games and averages 11.4 points a game.

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The four day break between the matchup against Maryland and road trip to OSU is crucial for MSU to take the necessary steps to rest up and prepare for its upcoming conference opponent, something the Spartans have found challenging this season with the lack of break days between matchups. 

Michigan State plans to use its win against Maryland to lead the team to another conference victory in Columbus on Sunday. 

“Coming off the win was a big thing for us today for practice,” Sissoko said. “The big thing for us, next steps, is to keep moving forward and get a couple wins."

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game can be streamed on CBS. 

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