FINAL: Bingham’s double double leads Spartans to 90-78 win over Oakland in Motor City


MSU forward Max Christie attempts a 3-pointer during the No. 11 Spartans’ 90-78 win over Oakland on Dec. 21, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Trent Balley, Sports Editor

DETROIT – The Oakland Golden Grizzlies hosted the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans in a home-away-from-home matchup at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. Hot 3-point shooting and less turnovers drove the Spartans to a 90-78 victory in the Motor City.

“I love Detroit, I love the venue, I love our fans,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo after the win.

The Spartans didn’t mess around and set the tone early. Marcus Bingham Jr. won the opening tip, and Joey Hauser found Max Christie for a game-opening 3-pointer. On Oakland’s second possession of the game, Bingham swatted Townsend’s layup attempt into the crowd before Tyson Walker stole the ball and found Gabe Brown for a two-handed slam in transition.

“My job is to defend,” Bingham said. “When I came up with the two blocks early, that got us going and brought the energy from the bench, too. I think that translated to the whole game.”

After yet another stop, Christie knocked down another three to give the Spartans an 8-0 lead.

The opening five minutes and change also featured offensive boards from Malik Hall and Jaden Akins as well as a 3-pointer from A.J. Hoggard as the Spartans found themselves ahead 15-8.

The Golden Grizzlies went on a bit of a flurry halfway through the half to make it just a 21-20 Spartan advantage thanks to back-to-back buckets from Jamal Cain. With 8:38 in the half, Brown knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game after four misses from deep to put the Spartans back up 29-22.

Cain remained in hot pursuit for Oakland, shooting 5-for-6 in the first half (3-for-3 from the arc) to lead all scorers with 13 points at halftime in all 20 minutes of action.

Things got dicey with just over four minutes to play in the half, when Hall caught an inadvertent shot to the face from Zion Young and had to go to the locker room early. Hall’s 11 points led the team at the time, and tied for the team lead with Bingham at halftime.

“You never want to lose a player like Malik,” Christie said of his team’s captain, “but I think all of our guys are confident we can step up to the challenge.”

With 1:20 to play in the half, Brown fueled the MSU-heavy crowd with a putback dunk on Christie’s missed 3-pointer. Oakland coach Greg Kampe received a technical foul for what seemed to be arguing that the ball was still above the cylinder when Brown dunked it home. Nonetheless, Brown hit the technical free throw as the Spartans held the Golden Grizzlies scoreless for the final 3:37 of the half to ride a 44-35 lead into halftime.

Walker connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half for his first six points of the contest. Akins joined the fun a minute later with a 3-pointer of his own as the Spartans led 53-40. With 13:43 to play, Hoggard found Bingham for another alley-oop slam in the half court after a Bingham block.

“We ran early and hit those lobs, I think that kept us going at a good pace,” Izzo said. “We’re a good running team and I think we did a pretty good job.”

Later, Hall nailed a mid-range jumper with a big bandage above his right eye.

Izzo picked up a technical foul of his own with 5:22 to play in the game after Cain drew a controversial blocking foul on Hauser. Walker and Brown were the first to run over and calm down their furious coach.

“I can be the one to go to him and calm (Izzo) down a little bit,” Walker said, “and say ‘we got this.'”

The crowd hollered and screamed in support of Izzo as the first technical free throw was missed by Cain. Izzo acknowledged the crowd with a fist pump.

“Not everybody gets to come up to East Lansing. I can’t thank the people (enough) here,” Izzo said. “Our fans were awesome and I appreciate that.”

Christie delivered a knockout punch 3-pointer with just under four minutes to play to give the Spartans a 15-point lead that they would not give back, although the Golden Grizzlies did cut it to eight points in the final two minutes. Christie again said “no” with a fast break dunk off of an Akins steal with 1:00 to play.

Leading the Spartans was Bingham with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Christie and Brown also combined for 31 points and six of the Spartans’ 11 3-pointers, while Walker finished with 10 points and 10 assists. The Spartans managed to shoot 55% from the field in the game. Leading the Golden Grizzlies was Jalen Moore with 25 points, and Cain and Micah Parrish with 20 and 19 points, respectively.

The Spartans will continue their season on Dec. 29 as they welcome the High Point Panthers into the Breslin Center.

You can follow Trent Balley on Twitter at @TrentBalley.