Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Sports | Basketball

BASKETBALL

March dreams

Aloysius Anagonye knows this is his last hurrah. The senior forward, better known as "Big Al," is heading into the NCAA Tournament with a dark reality - his basketball career may soon be over. "It does hit home," he said.

BASKETBALL

Spartans rev up offense in NCAA tourney

Tampa, Fla. - It took the Spartans five months, but they finally granted their head coach his preseason wish Friday evening. In October, MSU head coach Tom Izzo preached that, while he wanted to continue reeking havoc on defense, he wanted to be a more offensive-minded team. MSU did just that with a 79-64 win over Colorado in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the St.

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Hill, Anderson snag team MVP accolades

Sophomore guard Chris Hill might need to devote an entire room to house the individual awards he's piled up this season. Monday, Hill and sophomore forward/guard Alan Anderson were co-recipients of the MSU men's basketball team MVP award. The award, voted on by members of the team, was presented at the Spartans' annual Basketball Bust, an awards dinner to recognize team achievement. Hill also nabbed MVP honors from MSU's media and the team's Scholar-Athlete Award. Senior forward Aloysius Anagonye won the Chairman of the Boards Award for leading the team in rebounds (166) and the Antonio Smith Glue and Guts award for toughness.

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Teammates' birthday wish: A tourney bid

Julie Pagel knows exactly what she wants for her birthday - a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The junior forward's 21st birthday is today - two days before the March 16 committee selection date - but Pagel has already made plans to accept the belated present. "It's two days overdue, but nevertheless, it'd be a great gift," she said.

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Freshman forward sparks Spartans in tourney

Chicago - In one of MSU's best defensive performances of the season, it was a surprising player that helped the Spartans dispose of Purdue. Freshman forward Erazem Lorbek showed tremendous poise throughout the contest in leading the Spartans (19-11) to 54-42 victory Friday afternoon at the United Center. The 6-foot-10 Slovenia native grabbed eight rebounds, seven on the defensive end.

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Crazy 8

Chicago - Every year, the Big Ten Tournament not only provides excitement, but it also adds a dose of surprise. In the tournament's five-year history, only one No.

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Champs to chumps? Izzo's squad in danger

It doesn't seem that long ago nearly the entire MSU community packed into Cedar Village like sardines that magical April night the Spartans ran the gauntlet to the school's second national championship. Even with the loss of Mateen, Morris and A.J., Spartan fans had visions of - not sugarplums - back-to-back championships dancing in their heads. The following season, the team returned a solid nucleus - seniors Charlie Bell and Andre Hutson and the high-flying sophomore Jason Richardson - plus a pair of talented freshmen, making the team's attack that much more potent. In pursuit of another title, that team went 24-3 in the regular season and won the school's fourth consecutive Big Ten regular-season title. However, the Spartans encountered a slight bump in the road in their Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal tilt with Penn State, falling to the Nittany Lions, 65-63. Although surprising, the setback didn't deter the team on its way to its third consecutive Final Four.

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Guard glad to play in hometown

From living in downtown Chicago to being sidelined by a stress fracture earlier this season, Rashi Johnson's road to playing Big Ten basketball has been rough.While playing street ball at the age of 12, he was shot in the leg.

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Hill, Anderson garner conference honors

Big Ten coaches and media unveiled choices for the top players in the conference Tuesday, tabbing sophomore guard Chris Hill and sophomore forward/guard Alan Anderson for Big Ten honors.Hill was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team while Anderson picked up an honorable mention from the media.

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Izzo says Big Ten Tournament can derail a team's confidence

The Big Ten Tournament is six years old this season, but MSU head coach Tom Izzo isn't convinced its growing pains are done. As the men's basketball team prepares for this weekend's tournament in Chicago, Izzo said Monday the Big Ten Tournament is, at best, a mixed blessing for players and coaches as they prepare for the NCAA Tournament the following week. Izzo said the revenue and exposure the conference generates for Big Ten programs is a positive, but the "one and done" philosophy surrounding the Big Ten Tournament isn't the best representative of a season of hard work. "All you harp on all season is playing 40 minutes," Izzo said.

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Cruising Spartans look to Big Ten, NCAA tourneys

Columbus, Ohio - Tired of riding the NCAA Tournament bubble, the Spartans knew a road win at Ohio State on Saturday would nearly solidify their postseason hopes. So they took care of business. They defeated the Buckeyes 72-58 at Value City Arena and now look ahead to the Big Ten Tournament - and beyond. "I do believe we deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament right now," MSU head coach Tom Izzo said, following the regular season-ending victory.

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Senior re-emerging late in season

Columbus, Ohio - Senior forward Adam Ballinger is certainly picking a convenient time to heat up. After drudging through a season laden with shooting slumps and abandoned expectations, he has come alive for MSU the past two contests.