In a typically physical game between Michigan State and Louisville, it was the Spartans coming away victorious by a final score of 73-64 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup Wednesday night in East Lansing.
The Spartans used an extended run during the second half, fueled by tight defense and great ball movement, to break the game open. Sophomore A.J. Hoggard was a key contributor to the run and finished the game with nine points and four assists.
Louisville fought back late, thanks to a barrage of three pointers from El Ellis, who finished with a game high 22 points, including 4-for-7 from three-point distance.
In the end, it was not enough, as MSU was able to make just enough plays down the stretch to secure the win.
Malik Hall lead the way for the Spartans with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Marcus Bingham Jr. had another strong game with nine points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Max Christie, Gabe Brown and Jaden Akins were all in double-figures as part of the balanced MSU attack.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Spartans, as Michigan State turned the ball over 19 times leading to 25 points for Louisville. That was especially annoying considering the Cardinals were not shooting well for large stretches of the game.
The Spartans led 36-28 at the half after an ugly first half for both sides that featured a lot of turnovers and some very poor shooting. Michigan State made a run late in the half to get the Spartans a bit of a cushion, but immediately gave it back to start the second half with a poor start that was once again plagued by turnovers.
Once the Spartans were able to hold onto the ball for an extended period, Michigan State was able to pull away and get the lead up to 20 points at one point and had the game (mostly) in hand from that point on.
The Spartans improve to 6-2 overall, and score their third win over a Kenpom top-50 team. This was another solid win in terms of building a resume in the non-conference season.
Michigan State plays at home again on Saturday against Toledo, before the two early Big Ten games next week.
It hasn’t always been pretty for the Spartans thus far, but at this point in the season, MSU is in pretty good shape overall. The record is where you want it to be and there have been some very positive developments. So far so good for Tom Izzo and company.