East Lansing – Michigan State Basketball closed out 2022 and its non-conference schedule with an impressive offensive performance, the return of Malik Hall and a four-game winning streak.
Everything from here on becomes a little more important and more condensed.
The Spartans (9-4) put together their best attacking show of the season, involving many players in just three games in 20 days, with an 89-68 win over Buffalo at the Breslin Center on Friday night.
MSU topped the previous season-high of 86 points set in a double-overtime victory over Kentucky on November 15. The Spartans will return to play the Big Ten on Tuesday when they host Nebraska. Tip-off is at 7pm BTN, his fourth in his fifth straight home game for MSU.
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In his first action since mid-November, Hall scored 11 points on a 3-for-4 shooting at 12:27 of court time, after seemingly nudging his previously injured left leg. I left. Joey Hauser has 14 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. AJ Hoggard scored a career high with his 10 assists and 11 points.
Jaden Akins also scored 13 points and made all three 3-point attempts as the Spartans shot 8-for-19 from the deep, shooting 50.8% overall.
With four players scoring in double digits, Buffalo (6-7) shot 42.4% and outscored MSU 44-38 in the paint. Isaiah Adams scored 15 points, Lakill Hardnett had his 12 points and seven rebounds, and Curtis Jones and Armoni Foster had a combined 22 points, but he went 34-for-8 on shooting.
hole in then out
It’s been over a month since Hall last played, scoring 12 points against Villanova on November 18 and averaging 12 points and 5.3 rebounds in the Spartans’ first four games. The 6-foot-7-inch senior has missed his last eight games for MSU with a stress reaction in his left foot.
Hall returned from the bench on Friday night. Izzo said he would be limited to about 15 minutes as he builds up stamina with a Big Ten play looming. I regained my time.
He showed his physical ability by trying to make contact, reaching the line early before hitting two 3-pointers. Hall scored a team-leading nine points in two stints of 8:34 total as the Spartans took a 41–30 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Hall checked in from the bench in the 15th minute. Just like the opening round, he finished the drive from the right wing with an up and under layup on the left side of the rim.
But not all were positive. While battling for a loose ball with about 11:30 remaining, Hall appeared to nudge his left foot and called for a sub as he limped back downcourt. He was substituted at 11:07, easily checked out by his trainer, and remained on the bench for the rest of the night.
Hall’s return helped MSU’s remaining 10-man rotation get involved.
Nine of the ten Spartans who played in the first half scored, with Hauser and Hoggard scoring six points each and Eakins and Treholomon five each. MSU shot 46.7 percent and made 5 of his 12 3-pointers. The Spartans also flipped it only four times, two of which came at 2:28 in the first.
Jones hit a 3-pointer near the end of the first half that carried over to an 8-0 start to the second half, putting the Bulls ahead 41-38.
But Eakins hit a 3-pointer and Maddie Sissoko dunked. Both were away from Hoggard’s assists. Another Hoggard assist set Sissoko into a dunk, and Hoggard’s layup of 15:06 pushed him back to his MSU lead in double digits.
Freshman Jackson Kohler scored a career-high seven points after halftime. Pierre Brooks II scored his 8 points in the game, with Holloman and Tyson Walker each adding his 7 points. Sissoko recorded his 9 rebounds and his 6 points.
Contact Chris Solari:firstname.lastname@example.org him on twitter @Chris Solari.
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