Spartans dominate Western Michigan for first win of 2021-22


MSU guard Jaden Akins blocks a shot in the Spartans’ 92-58 win over Ferris State on Oct. 27, 2021/ Photo Credit: Luca Melloni/WDBM

Luca Melloni, Soccer Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State men’s basketball team returned home to the Breslin Center to host the Western Michigan Broncos in their regular season home opener. The Spartans (1-1) earned a 90-46 victory over the Broncos behind forward Gabe Brown’s 17-point outing.

The Spartans came off a 87-74 loss to No. 3 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic in New York City. Sophomore guard A.J. Hoggard led MSU in scoring with 17 points along with four assists. It was a challenging Tuesday night for Tom Izzo’s team, but they went into their first home game with their heads held high. 

Friday, Brown led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds. His 7-of-7 shooting from the free throw line inspired his teammates to have a well-rounded performance. 

“We’re still not smooth yet,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “It’s hard to evaluate [the team] after playing Kansas.” 

In the first half, the Spartans had a strong offensive outing, shooting 55.2% from the floor. Shots came from all over, including three from beyond the arc. Junior guard Tyson Walker looked comfortable in his first official home debut with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in the first 20 minutes. 

Bronco forward Markeese Hastings ended the night with 12 points, but his five points in the first half was the highlight for the visiting team. 

The Spartans held the Broncos to 10-of-37 shooting in the first half, a positive sign for Izzo’s defense that he wanted to showcase. 

Another positive Friday was the free throw shooting from the Spartans. Michigan State shot 18-of-24 (75%) from the line against WMU. On Tuesday, the Spartans free throw percentage against No. 3 Kansas was at 56%. 

The Spartans went into halftime with a strong 46-25 lead. 

Coming out of the break, the Spartans started off the right foot with a baseline jump shot from freshman guard Max Christie that extended the Spartans lead early on. 

“Max Christie is one of the best shooters I’ve ever had here,” Izzo said.

Brown picked up his consistency from the floor in the second half after shooting 1-for-4 in the first. In the second half alone, Brown recorded 11 points and shot 4-of-6 from the floor. 

Defensively, the Spartans continued to play tough perimeter defense and let very few opportunities get in between them in the paint. Michigan State had a total of nine blocks and eight steals. 

Bingham Jr. led the game defensively with two blocks and two steals. 

“He (Bingham Jr.) responded really well tonight,” Izzo said.

Overall, it was an inspiring performance by the Spartans, but Izzo said his team still has a lot to work on. 

Following this victory, Michigan State will travel to Indianapolis to face Butler on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

You can follow Luca Melloni on Twitter @mellonluca.