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


Strong second half surge lifts MSU to win over Rutgers

Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker finishes a layup to cut into a late Illinois lead on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024 at the State Farm Center

EAST LANSING – After a two-game road trip, the Michigan State men’s basketball team returned to the Breslin Center on Sunday for a matchup against Rutgers. The Spartans were looking to earn a much-needed win after a gut-wrenching 71-68 loss to No. 10 Illinois on Thursday night.

After a sluggish first half that featured turnovers and scoring droughts, a strong second half for the Spartans propelled them to a 73-55 win.

“A lot of work to do. We’re still not consistent, but to win a game when our two best shooters didn’t shoot it real well, that speaks volume that we won it the old-fashioned way,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said.

Turnovers and scoring droughts were a struggle for both teams to start. The Scarlet Knights committed six turnovers in the first half, while the Spartans had seven

After an 11-2 run early in the second half for Rutgers, the Spartans pulled away with a 19-0 run that was ultimately the difference in the game.

MSU’s defense shined in the win, holding the Scarlet Knights to 37 percent shooting from the field and under 39 percent from three-point range. The Spartans also outrebounded the Scarlet Knights by seven.

Senior forward Malik Hall led the Spartans with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while senior guard Tyson Walker scored 13 points. Junior guard Jaden Akins and sophomore guard Tre Holloman also made an impact, scoring nine points.

Sophomore forward Jaxon Kohler scored his first points of the season in his third game back from a foot injury.

“I’m excited to have Jaxon back,” Izzo said. “The problem is trying to work him back in after nine weeks off, but the more tools you have in the box the better chance you have.”

In the final minute of the game, Steven Izzo scored his first collegiate points of his career while being fouled on a basket, where he made the free throw and finished with three points.

“I was most excited that our players and our fans cared so much about him [Steven], they made that more special for me, it was something I’ll never forget,” Izzo said.

With the win, MSU moves to 10-7 on the season with a 2-4 record in Big Ten play. The Spartans will be back in action on Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Breslin Center to face off against Minnesota. Tipoff is set for 6:30 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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