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3 Likes & 3 Dislikes: Spartans Take Down Rutgers, 73-55

It was a historic day at the Breslin

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 14 Rutgers at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We apologize that there wasn’t an article out closer to the end of the game, and I apologize that this one is going to be brief. But the Lions have a playoff game tonight and my attention is focused there. That won’t stop me from kicking out perhaps my favorite ever edition of 3 Likes & 3 Dislikes. MSU beat Rutgers 73-55 this afternoon. Let’s get into it.

3 Things I Liked:

  1. Steven Izzo’s first points! If we are all being honest with one another, none of us will remember this game for anything other than it was the game when Lil’ Izzo scored his first career points. After years of zeroes in the score column, today was the day we all were waiting for. And what a shot it was! This will be on the Top Ten on Sportscenter tonight. With less than a minute to go, Izzo ran around the baseline to the right wing, took the pass, put the ball on the floor, jabbed left, went between his legs, drove toward the baseline, elevated and put up a high arcing shot that bounced a couple times off the rim before kindly falling through the net. Oh, and he drew contact for a foul that knocked him to the floor, because that is going to happen when Lil’ Izzo goes to the hole. When I saw it drop, I screamed. My arms went in the air. My dog ran over wanting to know what the excitement was. I think I cried a little bit. It was truly a special moment for the MSU basketball team, as was noticeable by the way all of his teammates rushed onto the court to lift him off the floor and celebrate him. I kind of just want to end the article here.
  2. Chants of “Let’s go Lions!” Seems like I am not the only one whose attention is on the local professional football team. In those final minutes, the Izzone could be heard chanting “Let’s go Lions!”. It was smile-inducing. I hope to hear more of that later tonight.
  3. Good Malik Hall. If I am actually going to make a point about the game, I have to tip my hat to Malik Hall, especially after the article I just posted yesterday morning. In this one, he led the Spartans with 15 points, and he also chipped in with six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. He shot a very efficient 6-9 from the floor. The 2-4 from the FT line left something to be desired, but the rest of his performance made up for it, and then some. Let’s get this version of Malicious in the next game too, please.

3 Things I Did Not Like:

  1. Giving up runs. Early in the game, Rutgers had a 7-0 run to go up 10-8. To start the 2nd half, they went on a 12-1 run to erase a 9-point halftime lead and go up 34-32. This Rutgers team is one of the worst offensive teams in all of the major conferences when it comes to scoring, so I would have rather not been victim to giving up stretches, no matter how short, where they were able to completely reverse the momentum of the game. If Rutgers can do that against us, then a better team will be able to go on bigger and/or more frequent runs.
  2. Hoggard rushing. Early on in this one, it looked like Boss Hogg was having a hard time settling into this game and he was playing a little too fast. There were some turnovers, a couple bad shots, and a sense that he was not doing the best at setting up his teammates. This did not last the whole game; he appeared to be more in rhythm by the time the first half was winding down. Still, he is the floor general, and I want to see him putting his mark on the games from the jump.
  3. Akins fouling out. This isn’t the biggest deal, but it is noteworthy as it has been a while since we have seen a Spartan fouling out of a game. maybe since Cooper against Duke. He also is not one of the Spartans that we are accustomed to seeing get in foul trouble. I wonder what it was about his defensive assignment today that had him getting whistled more than usual. Who has a theory on that?

Anyway, Victory for MSU!!! Next game is Thursday when Minnesota comes to town.