fbpx
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

join-us-button

Michigan State’s season ends in second round of NCAA Tournament against UNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the third year in a row, MSU found itself in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with a bid to the Sweet Sixteen on the line. Against top-seeded North Carolina in the West region, the No. 9 seeded Spartans came up short against UNC, losing 85-69. 

After a blazing stretch to open the game, MSU’s offense disappeared the rest of the half. 

“I feel bad we played so well those first twelve minutes,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. 

The Tar Heels stormed back after a sluggish start, responding with a 23-3 run in under eight minutes and re-igniting a crowd predominantly filled with UNC fans going into halftime. 

MSU managed to cut into the Tar Heels’ lead at the beginning of the second half, and at one point trailed by two. 

UNC, however, seemed to have a second gear that MSU was without on Saturday night. 

“We just didn’t come up with big plays and they did,” said Izzo. 

MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker (2) drives against North Carolina sophomore guard Seth Trimble during a 69-85 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2024 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC.

MSU had trouble creating opportunities on offense against one of the nation’s best defenses. Despite shooting 44% from the field, the Spartans managed to only record six assists, with 11 turnovers. MSU also only recorded two second-chance points, compared to UNC’s 10.

“I thought everything we wanted to do we did,” said Izzo. “I thought our offense let us down.” 

MSU graduate forward Malik Hall (25) drives against North Carolina graduate center Armando Bacot during a 69-85 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2024 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC.

Armando Bacot was the centerpiece for UNC’s success on both ends of the floor. The senior big man found ways to score throughout the paint, even with incoming double teams on every possession, and also rotated well and blocked several shots at the rim on defense. 

Bacot finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. 

Senior guard RJ Davis also had a terrific game, finishing with a team-high 20 points for UNC. 

“We ask a lot out of [Davis],” said UNC head coach Hubert Davis. “We ask him to handle the basketball, distribute, score, defend, rebound, lead our team. There’s a lot on his plate. And he never complains, never whines. Shows up every day, practices hard, is an example of how to prepare, and he goes out every day and plays his tail off.” 

Outside of Davis and Bacot, junior Harrison Ingram lifted UNC’s offense. 

The forward drilled a game-high five three-pointers, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. 

“He was the X-factor,” said Izzo of Harrison. “We felt like we had to double down on him…he hit some big shots.” 

 Tyson Walker finished with a game-high 24 points. The graduate guard went 9-16 from the field and recorded two steals in his final collegiate game.

MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker (2, right) makes a jump shot over North Carolina freshman guard Elliot Cadeau (2, left) in the first half of their matchup in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2024 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. (Jack Moreland)

 

“For the underclassmen, this is just something for them to learn,” said Walker. “How the game goes. You can’t have big mistakes. The game is fragile.” 

Graduate forward Malik Hall and junior guard Jaden Akins were the only other MSU players to score in double figures, recording 17 and 11 points, respectively. Senior guard AJ Hoggard struggled, recording three points and making only one of his 10 field goal attempts.

MSU junior guard Jaden Akins (3) drives against North Carolina graduate guard Paxson Wojcik during a 69-85 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2024 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC.

With the loss, MSU finishes its season at 20-15, with six seniors and key veterans taking their next step in their careers. 

“I’m not making any bones about it,” said Izzo. “We underachieved.” 

“I kept saying to myself, I know this team has enough,” said Izzo. “And you know what? I’ll leave today believing I’m right. I really think we have enough that we could’ve made a little run. I really do.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
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.

Comments (0)

All Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest