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Michigan State men’s basketball dominates from deep, avoids collapse against Villanova

Despite a valiant effort down the stretch from Villanova, MSU used red-hot shooting from beyond the arc to take down the Wildcats by a final score of 73-71.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State men’s basketball team took down Villanova by a final score of 73-71 on Friday night in a game in which the Spartans narrowly avoided a second half collapse.

The Spartans were led by guard Tyson Walker, who scored 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field. Guard A.J. Hoggard and forward Joey Hauser contributed 13 points each, with Hoggard finishing with 10 assists and eight rebounds as well. Forward Malik Hall chipped in 12 points.

The game started out slow with the score tied at 11 at the 10-minute mark in the first half of play. Defense was a positive for the Spartans early, as they held the Wildcats to just 34.6 percent shooting from the field in the opening half.

The last 10 minutes of the half saw the Spartans drain five shots from three-point range, going 8-for-14 from beyond the arc for the half. This shooting display gave the team a 34-24 lead at the break, with Hauser and Walker combining for 18 points to lead the way at halftime.

The offense took off in the second half, with the Spartans stretching their lead to as many as 16 points. Walker took over for a large portion of the half, scoring 14 of his 22 points in the second frame.

Following a steal on the defensive end, guard Jaden Akins did his best Ja Morant impression, submitting his early entry for dunk of the year. Akins finished the game with nine points off the bench.

However, Akins did end up leaving the game with what appeared to be a lower leg injury. He recently under went surgery on his left foot in September.

Villanova would make things interesting down the stretch, storming all the way back to cut the lead to a single point in the final minute. Eric Dixon led the way for the Wildcats, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

With under 20 seconds remaining, Walker would make one of his two shots from the free throw line to give Michigan State a 73-71 lead. Dixon launched an attempt at a game-winner from deep with seconds remaining, but the shot did not fall as the Spartans were able to hold on and claim the victory.

The Spartans shot 52 percent from beyond the arc for the game, going 13-for-25 from deep. Turnovers were kept relatively in check, as Michigan State finished with 12 for the game. MSU also out-rebounded Villanova 31-26.

The win propels the team to 3-1 on the season as the Spartans prepare to travel to Portland, Oregon to battle Alabama in the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday, Nov. 24.