There was nothing pretty about it but Michigan State started the regular season off on the right foot with a 64-59 win over Navy.
The Spartans looked sluggish all game and struggled mightily to establish an inside presence. MSU had several runs in the first half but the lead never eclipsed eight points.
“We didn’t do the things we needed to do to be successful,” head coach Tom Izzo said.
Michigan State looked like they were going to blow it open early in the second half as they built up a 13 point lead but the Midshipmen refused to go away and went on a 10-0 run to pull Navy within 3.
The rest of the half was a back and forth. The only consistent source of offense was Travis Trice. The senior guard had 17 of MSU’s 28 second half points and finished with 25 on the game.
“I was just looking at the score like ‘we’ve got to win this game,’” Trice said.
Izzo was disappointed with his stars Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine who had 12 and five points respectively.
The already shaky shooting guard position took a hit as Alvin Ellis went down in the first half with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
“From what I saw it didn’t look good,” Izzo said.
Bryn Forbes played extended minutes in Ellis’ absence but struggled shooting going just 1-8 from the floor and finishing with five points.
Michigan State heads to Indianapolis next to take on No. 4 Duke in the Champions Classic on Tuesday.
“If we play like we did, we’ll get embarrassed,” Izzo said.
Tip for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Andrew Hayes is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports