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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Michigan State suffers historic November loss in season opener to James Madison

MSU+graduate+guard+Tyson+Walker+scored+35+points+against+James+Madison+on+Monday%2C+November+6%2C+2023+at+the+Breslin+Center.
Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker scored 35 points against James Madison on Monday, November 6, 2023 at the Breslin Center.

EAST LANSING – The No. 4 ranked Michigan State Spartans welcomed the James Madison Dukes to the Breslin Center for their regular season home opener. The Dukes stunned the Spartans 79-76 in overtime, giving MSU its first home loss in November since 1986 and its first under head coach Tom Izzo.

“They outplayed us, they deserved to win,” Izzo said after the loss.

The Spartans struggled from the start as the Dukes jumped out to an early 11-4 lead in the first four minutes of play. James Madison was impressive in transition defense and forced MSU turnovers early on.

The Spartans continued to struggle shooting the basketball, going 3-for-16 from the field and 1-for-6 from the free throw line as the Dukes led 22-9 halfway through the first half.

MSU found a rhythm offensively midway through the first half, as the Spartans cut the deficit to four with the Dukes heading into halftime with a 37-33 lead. Senior guard Tyson Walker and freshman forward Coen Carr led the Spartans in the first half with a combined 18 points.

MSU freshman forward Coen Carr battles for a rebound against James Madison graduate forward T.J. Bickerstaff (3) and redshirt junior guard Terrence Edwards Jr. on Monday, November 6, 2023 at the Breslin Center. (Jack Moreland)

To start off the second half, the Spartans found themselves leading for the first time with a 42-41 lead. The back and forth battle continued, with three lead changes before the Spartans went on a 10-3 scoring run to take a 54-51 lead with under eight minutes to play.

In the final seconds of the game, JMU senior forward TJ Bickerstaff tied the game at 68 all, as MSU called a timeout with 14.5 seconds to go. Walker missed the potential game-winner to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Dukes held on to a slight 71-70 lead in the first three minutes. A pair of free throws from Terrence Edwards made the game 73-70 with under two minutes to go in overtime. Tyson Walker would go to the line being fouled on a made basket, Walker missed the free throw and Malik Hall was unable to secure the rebound off the miss. 

JMU junior forward Raekwon Horton’s three-pointer would give the Dukes a four-point lead in the final seconds of the game. A final heave for the Spartans to tie the game and send it to a second overtime fell short, as the Dukes escaped Breslin with the upset win.

The Spartans shot 1-for-20 from beyond the arc and 23-for-37 from the free-throw line. 

“It’s depressing to miss free throw after free throw,” said Izzo. 

MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo argues a call by the referee as the Spartans take on James Madison on Monday, November 6, 2023 at the Breslin Center. (Jack Moreland)

Junior forward Terrence Edwards Jr. led the Dukes with 24 points in the upset win, while TJ Bickerstaff also contributed with 21 points. 

“It’s an ecstatic locker room because of the respect that we have for Michigan State and their history and their players, and for me, we have to get ready for Kent State on Thursday,” said James Madison head coach Mark Byington. 

 Izzo hopes that his team responds to the upset loss. “I hope they respond by playing a little harder, more physical,” said Izzo.

The Spartans will look to rebound on Thursday when they face off against Southern Indiana at 7:00 p.m. 

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About the Contributors
Caden Handwork
Caden is a sophomore journalist from Gross Pointe, Mich. He is the host of the Hedging the Bet podcast and a general assignment reporter for Impact 89FM.
Jack Moreland
Jack Moreland, Sports Photo Editor
Jack (he/him) is a Journalism major focusing in sports reporting and media photography. Growing up in nearby Okemos, Michigan, he has been a lifelong Spartan and is proud to sport the green and white. Jack is a big Baby Keem fan and is known to post on your block with your wishlist on you.

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