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Holloman catches fire from behind the arc in Walker's absence as MSU men’s basketball team dismantles Alcorn State

November 20, 2023
<p>Michigan State University freshman guard Jeremy Fears Jr. (1) cheering on sophomore guard Tre Holloman (5) as he makes his way across the court for the game against Alcorn State University at the Breslin Center on Nov. 19, 2023.</p>

Michigan State University freshman guard Jeremy Fears Jr. (1) cheering on sophomore guard Tre Holloman (5) as he makes his way across the court for the game against Alcorn State University at the Breslin Center on Nov. 19, 2023.

Photo by Maya Kolton | The State News

The Spartans hosted the 1-3 Alcorn State, cruising past the Braves in a complete performance that saw the Spartans win by a score of 81-49 to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Alcorn State headed into this match on the third game of their 11-game road trip that will still see them face TCU, Clemson and Maryland before they begin conference play.

Graduate guard Tyson Walker was absent from the starting lineup due to illness. In the wake of Walker's absence, Izzo handed sophomore guard Tre Holloman the first start of his MSU career.

Heading into the game, Walker was the only player on MSU averaging over one made three-pointer a game — highlighting the struggles the Spartans have dealt with behind the line shooting just .273 from three, a stark difference from their 2022-2023 season that saw them shoot .393 from behind the line.

Ironically, the three-ball was the catalyst behind the Spartans' success — as they shot a season-best 40% from behind the arc, knocking down 10 three-pointers, a new season high. The Spartans caught fire early on thanks to Holloman who hit four threes in the first half.

Izzo highlighted the improved shooting night for the Spartans as they finished 53% from the field and 40% from three.

"Sooner or later they’re gonna fall on a regular basis," Izzo said. "10-25 is a lot better than 1-20, so we’re making progress."

Izzo did make note of the weaker opponent stating, "same colors, but we didn’t beat the Lakers."

Three other Spartans got in on the three-point act with junior guard Jaden Akins ,senior guard Aj Hoggard and freshman forward Xavier Booker adding three of their own in the first half. The Spartans went into the break with a commanding 44-16 lead. 

Holloman continued his lights-out night from three, drilling his fifth three-pointer on his fifth attempt two minutes into the second half — ending the night with 17 points on perfect shooting from behind the line.

After the game Holloman spoke about the commitment he has put into his shooting and how good it feels for it to pay off.

"It felt good finally seeing it drop consistently ... I've been putting in the work," Holloman said. "In there twice a day, shooting threes ... and tonight it just fell." 

On the defensive side the Spartans continued as the dominant unit they are, holding Alcorn State to just 26% from the field. Heading into the game, Alcorn State was shooting 42% from the field — good enough for 256th in the NCAA.

After the game Izzo praised the defensive performance on the stat sheet, but believed it could’ve been "better than it was" had it not been for lapses of concentration in the second half. 

Senior center Mady Sissoko had a big night in the paint, grabbing seven rebounds while being one of three spartans to record two blocks on the night. 

Freshman guard Jeremy Fears also stepped up in the absence of Walker, getting a season-high 20 minutes. On Fear’s first possession of the game, he got a quick steal and score on the way to nine points, five assists, and a rebound, block and steal each. 

After the game Fears spoke about how his adjustment to college level basketball has been, stating he has started to feel more comfortable in games while running the offense.

"Game by game, everyday learning a little bit more, being able to play freely, make reads … be the point guard I’ve always been," Fears said.

Fellow freshman Coenn Carr also had himself a big night, ending with 11 points and three rebounds. On two different occasions Carr sent the Breslin into a frenzy thanks to his signature high-flying dunks — one of which he powered over the Alcorn State defender on the way to hammering home the dunk for an and-1.

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The Spartans will be back in action on Thursday, Nov. 24th when they head to California to face No. 3 ranked Arizona. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. E.T. with streaming available on Fox Sports.

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