Behind double-double from Joey Hauser, MSU defeats Notre Dame 80-70


Joey Hauser forces a putback against Eastern Michigan/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Trent Balley, Men's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Scoring 26 unanswered points is a highly impressive feat at any point in a basketball game, but perhaps most impressive when it’s done over the course of two halves despite the opponent’s halftime adjustments. 

That’s what the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans did at home vs. Notre Dame Saturday, as they remain undefeated on the young season. The Spartans would win by a final of 80-70 and move to 2-0 behind an impressive offensive onslaught as well as solid all-around defense.

“I think we played awfully well,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “That’s a good basketball team that we held pretty well, defensively.”

The final score doesn’t reflect the flow of the game. The Fighting Irish hung with the Spartans early, at one point completing a 7-0 scoring run of their own to take an 18-15 lead. The success was short-lived, however, as the Spartans busted the game open with the aforementioned monstrous run that included closing the first half 17-0. From there, they wouldn’t look back.

In the middle of it all, high-flying forward Gabe Brown finished two alley-oop slams in a row, both assisted by guard Rocket Watts, who provided 13 points and six assists off the bench. Izzo said that Brown himself was the one who noticed Notre Dame playing him up the line defensively and made the adjustment to try to catch a few lobs.

Gabe Brown skies for a dunk vs. Notre Dame/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications


Izzo’s shiny new toy, transfer forward Joey Hauser, was smelling a double-double at halftime for the Spartans with six points and a dozen rebounds. He would complete the mission in the second half, finishing with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Hauser looked much more comfortable than he did in the first game of the season, cutting down his five turnovers in game one to just one Saturday.

“Today was a much different feeling,” Hauser said. “I just felt a lot more comfortable, kind of got my feet under me. Today I was kind of just free-flowing, letting the game come to me.”

For Notre Dame, junior forward Nate Laszewski took eight points and four rebounds into halftime, the brightest spot for the Fighting Irish at the intermission. The team shot just 28.6% from the field in the first half, thanks in large part to the Spartans’ interior defense, as MSU recorded a whopping 10 blocks in the first half. Forwards Aaron Henry and Marcus Bingham Jr. led the charge with four and three of those blocks, respectively.

The second half saw the Spartans bring that same energy, with graduate student Joshua Langford ripping a 3-pointer to start, his second of the game. Langford finished with eight points.

All game long, the Spartans had their way on the interior defense. They would wind up sending 12 shots back for the game.

All in all, 11 Spartans found the scoring column against Notre Dame. Henry led the team with 14 points on 4-for-11 from the floor. For Notre Dame, junior guard Prentiss Hubb led with 23 points on 7-for-22 from the floor.

The Spartans will need to replicate such offensive firepower Tuesday when they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils in the Champions Classic.

“I was proud of my guys,” Izzo said. “This has not been an easy run, and now what a way to look forward going into Duke.”