East Lansing, MI – Michigan State basketball is an interesting team to watch this year.
At times, they are unorganized, and nowhere near the Big Ten contender fans are used to seeing; other times, the Spartans look like themselves, but in the blink of an eye, it’s gone again.
That’s how it felt watching MSU compete against Iowa Tuesday night, then travel home to face Nebraska, a team who hadn’t played in 26 days.
Michigan State turned the ball over 22 times (a season-high) while shooting 39% from the floor (23-for-59) and an uninspired 26% from deep (6-for-23).
“I did not feel we were ready to play today,” MSU coach Tom Izzo told reporters in the postgame press conference. “I don’t know if we took for granted that they had a long layoff, and we had beaten them at their place. I thought our locker room was dead.”
Four Spartans, including Joey Hauser, Joshua Langford, A.J. Hoggard, and Foster Loyer, were all in foul trouble in the final five minutes of the first half, with MSU leading 23-17 in what was a sloppy game of basketball.
In the next few minutes, Michigan State clicked on both ends of the court, outscoring NU 9-3 while receiving significant contributions from Aaron Henry, Marcus Bingham Jr., and Rocket Watts.
Then the mistakes set in.
“He played very well until he started to turn the ball over,” Izzo said of Watts, who played three minutes in the second half. “He hit a couple shots, made a three, got some rebounds, and had some really nice assists. His defense was better … but I thought there was some foolish turnovers. He just took the ball a little bit out of control.”
Hauser wasn’t much better.
The redshirt junior played 14 minutes, missed his three shot attempts, and fouled out while being held scoreless for the second time in his career.
“He’s (Hauser) in foul trouble all the time, and some of that is his fault,” said Izzo. “I didn’t think he was looking for his shot, but he can’t play in and out the way he played. It seems like he just attracts fouls.”
However, the 66-year old was happy with Joshua Langford.
The fifth-year senior shot 58% from the field and led MSU’s scoring effort at 18-points.
“He led even more on the bench,” Izzo said. “He was really good. I was really happy with Josh and the way he played … I think he’s grown a lot. I don’t know many people that could go almost two years off and do what he did.”
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