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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 falls on the road to Northwestern

Northwestern+graduate+guard+Boo+Buie+drives+into+the+lane+against+MSU+on+Sunday%2C+January+7%2C+2024+at+the+Welsh-Ryan+Arena.
Jack Moreland
Northwestern graduate guard Boo Buie drives into the lane against MSU on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.

EVANSTON, Ill. – With just over seven minutes left in the first half of Sunday night’s game, Michigan State and Northwestern were knotted at 26. A game with two teams, both in search of their second conference win of the season, was back and forth, with neither side pulling too far ahead of the other in the game’s initial stages.

That was as close as MSU could keep it. 

The Wildcats closed out the first half on a 20-5 run, sending an unraveling MSU team into halftime with a 15-point deficit, 10 turnovers, and another taste of adversity on the road in the Big Ten.

In their first road game since Dec. 10, Michigan State fell to Northwestern, 88-74, snapping the Spartans’ five-game winning streak. 

“I thought [Northwestern] handled us every way you could,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. “They deserved to win, we deserved to get our ass kicked.” 

MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker finishes a layup through contact against Northwestern on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Northwestern swarmed MSU’s offense, blitzing the Spartans in the corners and on secondary passes out of the pick and roll, forcing them into 13 turnovers. The Wildcats recorded 21 points off turnovers, compared to MSU’s two. 

“They were physical as hell,” said Izzo of Northwestern. “I didn’t like that, and on the other side of it loved it. Absolutely loved it.” 

Although four players scored in double figures for the Spartans, shooting droughts, untimely turnovers, fouls and defensive breakdowns prevented them from seriously cutting into Northwestern’s lead. 

Northwestern had one of its finest performances of the season, recording 22 assists and only five turnovers, with six players scoring in double figures. 

Senior guard Ty Berry led the Wildcats in scoring, recording 22 points and four rebounds, while going 7-11 from the field and 4-7 from three. 

Northwestern senior guard Ty Berry celebrates after hitting a three against MSU on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Graduate guard Boo Buie was second on the team in scoring with 19 points, while also recording a career-high 10 assists with no turnovers. 

“Guys are holding him, grabbing him, pushing him the whole night,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Collins. “And [Buie] just fights through it, and he keeps his composure, and he plays hard, he plays right…I just thought he was fantastic.”

Northwestern graduate guard Boo Buie celebrates after a basket against MSU on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.

 Sophomore center Jaxon Kohler made his season debut Sunday night, logging three minutes and missing his only shot attempt. 

Graduate guard Tyson Walker recorded a game-high 27 points for MSU, with three rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. Senior guard AJ Hoggard recorded 13 points, four rebounds and eight assists. 

“Tyson Walker is a great player,” said Collins. “He’s not a good player. He is a great college guard. I am such a big fan of how he plays, and obviously AJ Hoggard has a lot of ability.” 

For only the 14th game in his career, graduate forward Malik Hall went scoreless with two turnovers in 26 minutes. 

The Spartans are now 9-6 on the season, and 1-3 in the Big Ten. 

Last Thursday, Tom Izzo was forthright in his press conference after Michigan State’s blowout 91-62 win against Penn State, stating: “We might not be as good as we played, and they’re not as bad as they played.”

Tonight, he found himself on the opposite end of that sentiment. 

“I don’t know if Northwestern is that good, but I can tell you we’re definitely not this bad,” said Izzo. 

MSU will take on No. 9 Illinois in Champaign on Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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About the Contributors
A.J. Evans, Sports Editor
A.J. Evans (He/Him/His) is the Sports Editor at Impact 89FM. He is from Southfield, Michigan and is majoring in journalism. He has covered football, women's and men's basketball for the Impact. “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase sky’s the limit….see you chumps on top.” - Biggie  
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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