The first game of the new TOC writers team era has come to an end. I’m taking the honor of the first post-game recap. There is much to discuss from tonight’s broadcast…
But before we even get to the game, who saw BTN’s pregame coverage about the 2000 championship team? It was a very well done piece. The segment delved into a lot of the players backgrounds and families, showed a lot of behind the scenes footage, and talked about the closeness of that squad. If you saw it, you were definitely pumped up for this game.
Now onto the game
The early moments of this game lived up to the excitement. Mady was the MVP of the first four minutes, getting things started with an and-1 to open the scoring. Before the first timeout, he would add a couple rebounds, a couple blocks, and an alley-oop. He also added one turnover, which we will forgive him for.
Hauser also had 5 early points, including his first triple, as MSU jumped out to an early little lead.
A timeout and then…
Coming out of the timeout, Izzo went to the bench. Kohler and Whitens came in first and Holloman joined shortly afterwards. And the MSU production quickly came to a halt. Oakland went on a 12-0 run and led by 3 at the under-12.
The game was pretty even for a while after that without much excitement on either end. MSU continued to trail but it was pretty much a one-possession game the remainder of the half.
Hauser takes it on the chin
The only noteworthy moment from this portion was Hauser catching an elbow while trying to defend a drive to the hoop, and ending up with a little blood in his mouth.
He went to the locker room but came back to the sideline and got back in the game before the half ended. One thing that was interesting about this, as he was walking off to the locker room to get medical attention, the commentator called Joey the team’s captain. Not sure we had heard that before on any previous broadcasts or read about that elsewhere. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Closing out the half with some fire
Coming out of the final timeout of the first half, Akins hit a 3 to give MSU the lead back. Shortly after, Coach Izzo got a technical. Izzo Jr. came running up to pull his dad back, getting his first action of the game.
The points – and potentially the eruption from Izzo - lead to an 8-0 Spartan run before Hauser stepped out of bounds as they tried to grow the lead before the half. Holloman ensured that Oakland did not chip into the lead late with a buzzer-beating rejection, and MSU led by 5 at the break.
The second half – and the return of Pierre Brooks and some bombs
As coverage of the second half was about to begin, the commentators were talking about how Brooks had not been in during the first half, as some of you pointed out in the game thread. The broadcast showed Brooks sitting right next to Izzo on the bench. It seemed like Brooks was getting the last bit of a talking-to before he was let out of the doghouse.
Just like the first half, Mady got the scoring started and then the bombs started going off. Akins hit a 3 to stretch the lead to 10. Hauser hit a long 2 coming off a curl. And then Walker hit a 3.
Going back to the 1st half, this was a 21-2 run, and the lead was 15, forcing Oakland to call a timeout. It didn’t help.
Walker, Hauser, and Akins would add triples before the first TV timeout of the second half, and MSU grew the lead by 18 points in that segment, maybe the best 4 minute stretch in the history of this sport - okay maybe not, but they came out of the locker room looking great. The best 4-minute stretch of the season? (Ok, at least you have to agree the game?)
The artillery cools a bit
From there, MSU settled down a bit. We did get to see Kohler finally hit a shot after missing a few during his appearances earlier. But then MSU went on a 5 minute drought that allowed Oakland to chip away a little bit, though it was still comfortably a double digit lead.
Hauser ended the dry spell with another triple, and Mady grabbed his 10th board on Oakland’s next possession on his way to a career high 12 rebounds.
After that, MSU got a bit sloppy and the lead got down to 13, causing Izzo to call a timeout. MSU got the lead back to 17 going into the final TV timeout.
The real highlight of the night
Here we had another highlight of the night, as BTN was showing footage of Coach Izzo playing an accordion as they came back from the commercial.
End of game frustration for Izzo
Shortly after the action resumed, Izzo called another timeout, this time to tear into Mady about something he did wrong. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it may have been a lack of effort on a closeout.
Izzo is always teaching. And this would not be the last thing that he would have to be mad about. Right after Izzo was done yelling at Mady, Brooks missed 2 from the stripe, marking the third time an MSU player did that tonight; Kohler and Holloman did it earlier. The Spartans really struggled from the line throughout the whole game, finishing below 50% at 7 for 16.
At the 2 minute mark Hoggard hurt his ankle when he landed on a defenders foot going up for a shot in the lane. He was fouled, but he followed suit and missed his two freebies.
The legacy children signal the end
At 40 seconds remaining, the benchwarmers came in, including all 3 legacy children. Lil’ Izzo collected a rebound in the paint after somehow ending up on defense down low against someone well over a foot taller than him. The crowd cheered, but Steven must have done some showboating or something, cause his dad was screaming at him from the sideline as he dribbled out the clock.
In all, it was a mediocre performance from our Spartans. If it were not for the dominant first four minutes of the second half, this would have been much closer than the final 13 point margin. Hauser led the way with 16, followed by Akins at 15 and Walker at 13.
The best player may have been Hoggard who had 8 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, a steal, and a block, with only one turnover. He was in control of the offense for the majority of the game and he kept his mistakes to a minimum.
So that is that for this game. Nine days until the next one on New Year’s Eve’s Eve against Buffalo.
We will try to get some reading material out to you guys in the days off until then. And just a reminder, tell us in the comments what do you love about The Only Colors, what do you want to see more of, and how can we continue to build this great community with you.
GO GREEN! GO WHITE!