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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

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Michigan State’s comeback falls short in regular season finale against Indiana

MSU+graduate+guard+Tyson+Walker+%28right%29+loses+the+Northwestern+defender+on+Wednesday%2C+Mar.+6%2C+2024+at+the+Breslin+Center.+
Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker (right) loses the Northwestern defender on Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2024 at the Breslin Center.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –  With less than five seconds left in Sunday’s game, Assembly Hall erupted in relief.

A runner towards the right block from graduate guard Tyson Walker bounced off the rim, before being batted around and finding the hands of Indiana graduate guard Xavier Johnson, who sprinted up the floor and sealed the Hoosiers’ fourth consecutive victory.

In another nail-biting game that took several drastic turns, Michigan State fell to Indiana, 65-64. 

“I am upset,” said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo after the loss. “I’m upset because we had a seven point lead, didn’t guard. But I’m also proud, because of that environment, the way we came back, the way we shot, finally Tyson started making some shots.” 

After being down by 17 in the first half, MSU stormed back to go into halftime trailing by only five, and even held a two-possession lead with less than 10 minutes left in the second half, only to come up short in the game’s final seconds. 

Graduate guard Tyson Walker recorded 30 points in the loss, breaking out of a weeks-long shooting slump. 

Sunday’s matchup marked the first time in eight games where Walker shot over 50 percent from the field. The Jerry West Award finalist went 11-21 on field goal attempts, along with shooting 4-8 from the three-point line. He also recorded three assists and three steals.

The Spartans are now 0-4 in games where Walker records 30 or more points. 

MSU stayed afloat in the midst of its scoring droughts in large part due to its defense. The Spartans recorded 12 steals and forced the Hoosiers into 16 turnovers, as well as 17 points off of turnovers. MSU twice led by seven in the second half, but continued to find themselves on the wrong end of IU’s offensive runs in critical stretches.

“We bounced back and we looked like a real team there for a while,” said Izzo. 

“Two seven-point leads, and we just didn’t get the job done.” 

 Sophomore center Kel’el Ware was spectacular, finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. MSU’s bigs had no answer for Ware’s repertoire, which consisted of low-post turnarounds, mid-range jumpers, and hooks and floaters in the lane with both hands.

Ware also sunk the go-ahead free throw with 17 seconds left that lifted the Hoosiers to victory.

“[Indiana head coach Mike Woodson] did a hell of a job with Ware. Deserves a lot of credit. Played against Ware last year, and he wasn’t very good,” said Izzo. “Earlier in the year, he’s okay. Last half of the year he’s been a force to be reckoned with.”  

Sophomore Malik Reneau and freshman Mackenzie Mgbako also both scored in double figures for IU. Reneau finished with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Mgbako finished with 13 points and six rebounds. 

For MSU, junior guard Jaden Akins and senior guard AJ Hoggard both finished with 10 points, respectively. Hoggard also recorded four rebounds and six assists, while Akins had five rebounds. 

MSU closes out the regular season with an 18-13 record and 10-10 in conference play. The Spartans will head to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, March 14 at noon. 

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About the Contributors
A.J. Evans
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
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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