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Michigan State men’s basketball rolls past Northern Arizona in 73-55 victory

MSU moves to 1-0 on the season prior to facing Gonzaga on Friday.

NCAA Basketball: Northern Arizona at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State men’s basketball defeated Northern Arizona 73-55 in the first game of the 2022-2023 season on Monday night.

Prior to the game, Michigan State announced that it would honor two players with a patch on its jerseys this season. The patch features the No. 5 and No. 24 alongside a Spartan Helmet logo. The numbers honor Adreian Payne and Stan Washington, respectively, both of whom passed away in the last year. Payne played for MSU from 2010-2014, leading MSU to the Elite Eight in his final season. Washington played for MSU from 1963-1966 and finished his career at the program ranked second in scoring.

Michigan State’s starers for the game were junior guard A.J. Hoggard, senior guard Tyson Walker, senior forward Malik Hall, graduate forward Joey Hauser and junior center Mady Sissoko.

Plenty of MSU players were high on the stat-sheet. Even by the end of the first half, Hauser had 10 points. Both Hauser and sophomore guard Pierre Brooks had double-digit point totals to end the game. Hauser finished with 18 points (and 10 rebounds) and Brooks had 14 points. Hoggard added nine points and eight assists.

The Spartans started quick and early, and never trailed in the game. MSU took a 34-20 lead into halftime. Offensively, Northern Arizona struggled in the first half, shooting just 26 percent from the field.

All three scholarship freshmen — forward/center Jaxon Kohler, center Carson Cooper and guard Tre Holloman — played in the game and scored at least one point. The initial plan with Cooper that was talked about throughout the offseason was that he would be considered for a redshirt. That will not happen now as he impressed throughout the summer and preseason practices, and ended up earning a spot in the rotation.

Freshman walk-on guard Nick Sanders (the son of Barry Sanders) also got into the game late.

Michigan State finished the game with 16 personal fouls. Hoggard and Holloman had three each. The good news, though, is that Sissoko only had one foul — he averaged 9.9 fouls per 40 minutes last season.

Next up, Michigan State will take on No. 2 Gonzaga in the Armed Forces Classic on Friday (Nov. 11) on ESPN. Tipoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time from San Diego.