No. 12 Michigan State set for second game of PKI tournament


AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker high five each other during Michigan State’s 73-71 victory over Villanova on November 18, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Luca Melloni, Sports Editor

PORTLAND, Ore. – After an 81-70 loss to No. 18 Alabama in the first game of the Phil Knight Invitational, the Michigan State men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood to face Oregon at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. 

“We ran out of gas and it hurt our offense,” head coach Tom Izzo said after Thursday’s loss. “We have to get some guys [to play] better.” 

The Spartans (3-2) were handicapped on the floor without senior forward Malik Hall (foot injury) and Jaden Akins (ankle injury) on Thursday night, but Izzo included some rotational players on the court. 

Freshmen Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper combined for 29 minutes on the floor. 

“We don’t have enough bodies right now, and those freshmen played a lot of minutes,” Izzo said. “In all honesty, Jaxon [Kohler] played pretty well, Carson [Cooper] struggled with some things, but I didn’t think I’d be playing those guys for 20 minutes.” 

Kohler scored six points and had seven rebounds against the Crimson Tide. 

The Spartans struggled to defend Alabama’s freshman sensation Brandon Miller, who ended the night with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds. 

Oregon comes into Friday night’s contest with a 2-3 record. They lost the first PKI game against No. 20 Connecticut 59-83. 

The 7-foot Ducks center Kel’el Ware scored 18 points and recorded nine rebounds against UConn. 

Throughout the 2022-2023 season, senior center N’Faly Dante is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Ducks. Dante is from Bamako, Mali, and was the No. 1 recruit out of Kansas in 2020 playing for Sunrise Christian Academy. 

The Ducks’ losses before UConn were against No. 3 Houston on Nov. 20 and UC Irvine on Nov. 11. 

Tip-off against the Oregon Ducks is scheduled for midnight EST from the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore. It will air on ESPN2 and Impact 88.9 FM with broadcasters Brendan Schabath and Zach Slowik.