MSU now sits at 4-5 on the season
EAST LANSING -- Tyson Walker poured in 22 points, AJ Hoggard scored 14 points and assisted on seven buckets, but MSU lost its B1G Ten home opener against the Wisconsin Badgers, 70-57, on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin Badgers Forward Steven Crowl gave 18 points, 5 assist, and 6 rebounds, and Guard AJ Storr contributed 22 points on 8/11 shooting, as the current #23 team in the nation defeated Sparty.
It was a night marred by another slow start for the Spartans as the Badgers jumped out to a 11-2 lead 6 minutes into the game. The game was a wire-to-wire victory for the Badgers (Spartans never lead in game) and gives Wisconsin a six game winning streak, highlighted by back-to-back wins against March hopefuls Marquette and Michigan State.
Head coach Tom Izzo took the blame postgame for the lackluster showing, saying "If you're looking for someone, blame the coach. I didn't do a good job."
The loss comes after MSU senior Malik Hall was expected to be sidelined with an illness he dealt with throughout the week. Minutes before the game, Hall gave the all-clear to Izzo, yet Izzo lamented the amount of minutes he allowed Hall to play on the heels of the sickness. "I played him too long" Izzo stated.
On the court, Wisconsin out-rebounded the Spartans 36-22, and got to the free throw line twice as many times as the Spartans. Signs of a game in which MSU couldn't handle the physicality that is synonymous with Big Ten basketball.
"I think im going to announce that we are getting the shoulder pads out" Izzo said postgame, referencing his plan to work on physicality in this week's practice sessions.
Lack of physicality could be the reason 5-star freshman Xavier Booker got a DNP.
With Carson Cooper and Mady Sissoko combining for 8 rebounds and 5 points, the paint is an issue for the Spartans. The athleticism of Xavier Booker could spark that.
The team is also expected to receive a boost in the lineup with sophomore forward Jaxon Kohler set to return by month's end. Kohler is skilled big capable of scoring multiple ways, and has been compared to Spartan legend Zach Randolph by coach Tom Izzo.
Freshmen Jeremy Fears and Coen Carr contributed some energy, and sophomore Tre Holloman had good moments, but in whole the bench trio combined for 12 points on 5/12 shooting, 3 rebounds, and 2 assist.
Michigan State suits up next against the 7-1 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday, December 18th.
For full postgame comments from Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, head over to Next Up Michigan's Youtube channel now!
Next Up Michigan thanks Head Coach Magazine for providing the cover photo.