Hauser, Hall inspire MSU to double overtime win against No. 4 Kentucky


Malik Hall dunks the ball to tie the game and send the Spartans to a second overtime during Michigan State’s victory over 4th ranked Kentucky in the Champion’s Classic on November 15, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Luca Melloni, Sports Editorial Assistant

INDIANAPOLIS— Senior forward Joey Hauser and his 23 points led Michigan State men’s basketball to a dramatic 86-77 win in double overtime against No. 4 Kentucky Tuesday night. The Spartans earned their first ranked win of the season at the Champions Classic held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 

“I’m so proud of the players for coming back so disappointed after that big loss [against Gonzaga] and being resilient,” head coach Tom Izzo said. “I’m proud of guys like Joey [Hauser] and Mady [Sissoko] who’ve been through the wars and all the abuse they took, but they enjoyed the process.”

“Sooner or later we’ve got to figure out that the process is okay.” 

Hauser sprang back to life after a low-scoring performance on Nov. 11 against No. 2 Gonzaga with a game-high 23 points and four three-pointers against the Wildcats. 

He shot 50 percent and had eight rebounds to lead his team to victory. 

Junior Mady Sissoko built on his 14-point performance at the Armed Forces Classic. He finished with a dominant 16 points and eight rebounds against the Wildcats. 

“We did a hell of a job on their shooters,” Izzo said. “It was a big program win.” 

Malik Hall’s 10 points in the first half led the Spartans to a 36-34 lead going into the break. It seemed like a deja vu of the game against No. 2 Gonzaga where Michigan State was resilient in the first half but failed to close the game. 

This time, it was different. 

Hall finished with 20 points, shooting 63 percent, and made the shots that forced overtime and the second period of overtime. 

The play that forced the second overtime was a fast-paced attacking move with seven seconds left that found Hall open at the basket for an emphatic dunk. 

“Most of the plays [at the end] weren’t for me,” Hall said. “I just happened to be the one that was open and I made the right reads.” 

Coming out of halftime, the Spartans continued to score points and defended competently against Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe, the defending National Player of the Year. 

Teammates embrace Mady Sissoko after Michigan State upset fourth-ranked Kentucky during the Champion’s Classic on November 15, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Tshiebwe would foul out in the first overtime period, forcing him to sit for the second overtime period and handicapping UK’s offense.

“That’s a really good team and they [Kentucky] will continue being a great team,” Izzo said. “It’s not easy bringing a guy [Tshiebwe] like him back.” 

Tshiebwe was doubtful for Tuesday night’s game due to his recovery from a knee procedure in October but was given the green light hours before tip-off. 

Although MSU had 18 turnovers, they recovered the ball well in overtime and limited Kentucky’s best offensive players, forcing 15 turnovers on the Wildcats. 

“We’re at least turning some people over a little bit,” Izzo said. “It is ridiculous we had 16 [turnovers] against Gonzaga and 18 tonight.”

An alley-oop finished by Sissoko gave the Spartans the 78-76 lead with two minutes left in the second overtime. 

After a series of free throws made by senior guard Tyson Walker, the Spartans inched their way closer to the win. 

“Tyson [Walker] wasn’t good early, but he bounced back,” Izzo said. “Tyson’s grown up, and he’s figured out the culture here.” 

Hall sealed the 86-77 victory with two free throws. 

Michigan State improves to 2-1 on the season and will host Villanova on Friday, Nov. 18 in East Lansing.