Michigan State No.10 dodges Minnesota’s thwarted offer with last-second shot – Twin Cities
EAST LANSING, Mich .– Joey Hauser shot a low shot with a tenth of a second left, taking Michigan State’s No.10 to a 71-69 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night for a ninth straight victory.
The Spartans (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten) had the ball with 18.1 seconds left, and AJ Hoggard entered the lane in the dying seconds to prepare the much-maligned Hauser for the final basket.
“I was happy for Joey, and the players were happy for Joey,” said coach Tom Izzo. “I appreciate all the fans who chanted his name.”
Michigan State rookie Max Christie scored 16 points, Gabe Brown scored 13 points and Tyson Walker added 10 points.
The Gophers (10-4, 1-4) were very competitive throughout the game and had the opportunity to surprise.
Minnesota’s chances of victory were jeopardized when Eric Curry injured his left ankle with one minute to go, putting him on the bench with 19 points.
“EC has done pretty well,” said coach Ben Johnson. “I don’t know the extent of it.
“If Eric can go, Eric will go. He’s a grown man. He’s sort of the leader of our team and he did a great job of showing it.
Eylijah Stephens scored 18 points, Payton Willis had 15 and Jamison Battle added 13 points for the Gophers. Stephens made four late free throws, putting the teams tied at 69.
The Spartans started strong, but couldn’t maintain success against a disjointed team.
The Spartans were leading 27-17 late in the first half, but they were sloppy and Minnesota took the opportunity to reduce their deficit to three at halftime.
The Gophers scored seven straight points, including five from turnovers, to take a 52-51 lead midway through the second half. Michigan State has taken the six-point lead a few times, but couldn’t sideline Minnesota.
“I don’t think I’ve been in a game where you shoot 52% from the court and 43% from the 3 and almost 85% from the line and I could have lost,” Izzo said.
In the opening conference game for both teams last month, Michigan State beat Minnesota 75-67 in Minneapolis.
“They were introduced to Big Ten basketball,” Johnson said. “It was the first game of its kind ‘Welcome to the show.’ I didn’t feel like we were responding well.
“We slowly figured out how to play in this league to give you a chance with physical strength and mental strength. We are in a growing process with a lot of guys who have never been here. This is the fun part of this group because you can watch it grow.
Minnesota goalie Luke Loewe was called up for a flagrant foul for tripping Brown as Michigan State led 42-40 with 15:18 left. Brown made two free throws and Walker did a layup, making it a four-point swing.
Minnesota: Johnson was disappointed his team didn’t win, but was proud of his team’s strength and quality against a Top 10 opponent on the road.
“If you play like that with that kind of intensity, aggression and connectivity, we’re going to have fun in the second half,” Johnson said.
Michigan State: The Izzo team had a relatively easy schedule, beating the Gophers twice, Penn State, Northwestern and Nebraska.
“I know what’s coming up,” Izzo said. “I know we need to improve.
FACE IN THE CROWD
Hall of Fame member Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda, had seats next to the Michigan State Bench and were with the Spartans in the locker room after the game.
“He must have reminded me that we are 14-2,” Izzo said.
Williams retired last April after winning more than 900 games and three national titles in North Carolina and Kansas. He watched the ninth-ranked Jayhawks beat Iowa State’s No.15 62-61 on Tuesday night.
“He called me a few weeks ago and told me he wanted to go to six or seven places,” Izzo said.
TO LET DOWN
Michigan State’s previous game against rival Michigan last Saturday was postponed because the Wolverines had fewer than seven stock players, who allowed COVID-19 protocols to play. This could have led to a lack of energy from the Spartans against Minnesota.
“We’re coming off of a disappointing no-play, and that’s no excuse,” said Izzo.