The Michigan State Spartans failed to take care of the ball yet again in key moments and allowed the Wisconsin Badgers to claw back from a Spartan run at the start of the second half for the win down the stretch. The Badgers move to 2-0 in Big Ten play and snapped a 12-game losing streak in East Lansing, while Michigan State moved to 0-2.
Michigan State came out swinging on defense to start. After Wisconsin won the tip, Aaron Henry stole the ball. Thomas Kithier missed the first shot attempt of the game by any team on the ensuing possession, but stole the ball from D’Mitrik Trice and proceeded to get his own layup attempt to draw first blood on the scoreboard. Lots of turnovers and missed shots later and Wisconsin tied it up at 2-2 finally just shy of three minutes into game action.
Wisconsin went on a short run and took the lead 7-2 before MSU responded again on a three by Rocket Watts at the 16:15 mark. The Spartans spent most of the first half playing catch-up to Wisconsin, tying it up five times before finally taking the lead back at the 9:04 mark. It was short lived as the Badgers took the lead back and kept it until a pair of Joey Hauser free throws tied it up at 39 with just 43 seconds left. Brad Davison and Foster Loyer traded three-pointers and it was off to the locker room tied at 42.
The Spartans ball control was the issue of the first half as the team gave up seven turnovers, five of which were steals by Wisconsin. The Spartans offensively were hot, going four-for-four from three-point range, and shooting 58.6 percent from the field overall.
Michigan State came out of the locker room on a run, jumping out to a 51-42 lead by the 16:25 mark. The turnovers made another ugly appearance again as Wisconsin proceeded to claw back and tie it up at 53 with 13:45 left. It was a back and forth affair with MSU holding the lead most of the game until a Nate Reuvers jumper with 7:37 left took gave the Badgers the lead for good.
Despite finishing the game shooting 72.7 percent from three-point range, Michigan State was an abysmal 19-46 from two-point range. Trice had a season-high 29 points as the Spartan defense failed to contain an opponent’s star guard yet again.
Hauser led MSU with a career high 27 points along with a team high seven rebounds. Aaron Henry’s 12 points were second best on the team, but his seven turnovers were also a team high and half of MSU’s 14 turnovers on the game. Rocket Watts led the team with seven assists, but no other plays managed double-digits scoring in this one besides Henry and Hauser.
Overall not a great start to conference action these last two games. Michigan State will be back on the court Monday, Dec. 28 at 8:00 p.m. EST at Minnesota.