Tuesday, February 27, 2024

MSU men's basketball prevails through Maryland defensive barrage, secures 12th home win of season

February 4, 2024
<p>Michigan State University graduate student guard No. 2 Tyson Walker makes a move with the ball during a MSU vs Maryland men’s basketball game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Feb. 3, 2024. Both MSU and Maryland came into the game with a tied in-conference record and are looking to move up in the Big 10 standings.</p>

Michigan State University graduate student guard No. 2 Tyson Walker makes a move with the ball during a MSU vs Maryland men’s basketball game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Feb. 3, 2024. Both MSU and Maryland came into the game with a tied in-conference record and are looking to move up in the Big 10 standings.

Photo by Brendan Mullin | The State News

The Michigan State men’s basketball team pulled off a 63-54 win over a defensively sound Maryland team Saturday night

The Terrapins lead the conference in blocked shots and are in the better half in steals and rebounding, but the Spartans managed to get the upper hand in two of those categories and tie the Terps with five blocks, even with their smaller size.

Maryland’s typical rebounding machine, Julian Reese, was not available for the majority of this game after logging three quick fouls in the first half and his fourth in the opening seconds of the second. Despite Reese playing just 14 of the 40 minutes, Maryland was still extremely physical at the boards and nabbed 30 rebounds — Michigan State barely won the battle with 36. 

The Spartans won the battle at the boards, which has been a struggle nearly all season, but the rest of the game did not come easy

The Spartans shot 44% from the floor and just 29% from three-point line and the Terrapins stuck right behind them for a majority of the game. With 7:15 left in the game, Maryland took the lead for just thirteen seconds.

Earlier in the season, Michigan State would not have been able to regroup and come out on top, but after the lead change, MSU went on an 8-0 scoring run in less than a minute before running away with the game

After the matchup, Tom Izzo said that the change at that point in the game was a player-led comeback headlined by graduate student guard Tyson Walker and senior guard A.J. Hoggard.

“There's been more and more communication in the huddles,” Izzo said. “Couple of guys gone a couple of guys in the huddles. It's good. I think there's a lot of respect among the guys now. They know we're not where we need to be and where I think we could be. I think we got a lot of ceiling left. I do. Are we gonna get there? We'll find out. But, games like this actually helped us because of the way halftime was the way the huddles were. The way the team kind of took ownership of some things and some situations I was really proud of them for that.”

The first part of the second half was a brutal stretch offensively for both teams as both Michigan State and Maryland racked up multiple different scoring droughts throughout that stretch, but the Breslin crowd stuck with it. 

Izzo said that despite giving the fans nothing to cheer for, they were encouraging the Spartans all the same

“You couldn't go through that game without being tired,” Izzo said. “It was a slugfest like I haven't seen … to win a game that way is not for the faint at heart, but it was probably good for my program moving forward on what I think we got to do.”

Michigan State will be back in action Tuesday night on the road against Minnesota to try and improve its subpar 1-4 away record. Tip-off for the game on Tuesday, Feb. 6 is at 9 p.m. Streaming will be available on Peacock.

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