Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

No. 18 Michigan State basketball secures Gavitt Games win over Butler, 74-54

Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker celebrates after hitting a three-pointer against Duke on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at the United Center in Chicago.

EAST LANSING – After a loss to No. 9 Duke in the Champions Classic, the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans returned home to take on Butler in the Gavitt Games. The Spartans rebounded with a 74-54 win on Friday evening at the Breslin Center.

“We took a step in the right direction against a team that has been playing awfully well,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said.

Pierre Brooks, the former Michigan State forward was back in town to face off against his former team, as he was met with boos and cheers from the Spartan crowd before the game. Brooks finished with 13 points.

“I thought Pierre played good, and now I can be happy for him,” Izzo said.

The Bulldogs held their own against the Spartans early. as they were able to force turnovers with senior guard Posh Alexander and junior Pierre Brooks playing excellent defense early.

Senior guard Tyson Walker and junior guard Jaden Akins led the way for the Spartans, hitting three-pointers to go up 16-14 early.

The Spartans’ defense was excellent in the first half, forcing five first-half turnovers. MSU held Butler to 25 percent shooting in the first half.

Tyson Walker was dominant in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6 for 11 shooting. MSU led Butler 37-25 going into halftime.

Coming out of the second half, MSU would start sluggish, committing four turnovers in the first five minutes of the second half. The Spartans led 41-34 early in the second half as Butler’s 7-0 run cut the deficit to seven.

MSU extended its lead to 13 with senior forward Malik Hall and Jaden Akins leading the charge, going up 51-37 early in the second half.

After struggling in the first three games of the season, AJ Hoggard started to find himself offensively, scoring nine second-half points on 4 of 7 shooting, including 1 of 2 from beyond the arch. Hoggard finished the game with 14 points.

In the end, the Spartans would be too much for the Bulldogs offensively and moved to 2-2 on the season. Tyson Walker led the Spartans in scoring with 21 points, while Malik Hall also contributed with 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting, along with six rebounds.

“I don’t think we’ve given Malik enough credit,” Izzo said. “He’s making threes and he’s getting in the post, he’s becoming more of a complete player.”

Sophomore center Carson Cooper got the start over senior center Mady Sissoko. Cooper recorded 3 points and 11 rebounds in the win.

“Defensively is what my focal point is for the team, whatever I can do and whatever coach puts me out there to do, I’m just gonna do it to the best of my ability,” Cooper said.

The Spartans will be back in action at the Breslin Center on Sunday, Nov. 19, to take on Alcorn State. Tipoff is set for 6:00 PM.

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About the Contributors
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 is a sports photographer for Impact. He grew up just outside of East Lansing and has been a lifelong Spartan. He has a primary interest in basketball and contributes to Impact’s NBA podcast, Courtside Convo.

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