Michigan State extend win streak in 69-65 victory over Wisconsin
The Michigan State Spartans entered Madison, Wisconsin hoping to join Purdue atop the Big 10 Conference standings. Coming off a victory over their in-state rivals, MSU looked to extend their six-game winning streak to seven against the 18th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
The game came down to the final minute with MSU and Wisconsin exchanging punches throughout the contest. Behind big games from A.J. Hoggard and Jory Hauser, the Spartans pulled out a 69-65 victory. With the win, MSU improved its overall record to 12-4 and its Big 10 record to 4-1, now tied with Purdue for first place.
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead at the start of the game, but the Badgers never let the lead get too far away from them. With just over seven minutes left in the first half, a Chucky Hepburn layup and and-one free-throw gave Wisconsin its first lead of the game at 22-21. A few possessions later, a Tyson Walker three-pointer brought MSU back in front. The teams exchanged leads in the closing minutes of the half, and MSU finished the period ahead 33-31.
A big second half from Wisconsin’s Steven Howl brought the Badgers into the lead in the second half. Crowl finished the game with 19 points after scoring only four in the first half of play. Hepburn as well was instrumental in Wisconsin’s strong second half. Wisconsin held the lead from just over the 10-minute mark in the second half up till the 2:21 mark. A three-pointer by Hauser gave the Spartans the 61-59 lead. The Hauser three-pointer was part of a 15-4 scoring run that MSU went on to close out the game.
Michigan State overcomes turnover issues and lack of bench scoring
The Spartans committed 14 turnovers in the game, with the Badgers taking advantage of the extra opportunities. Wisconsin played a clean game, committing only five turnovers against MSU.
MSU’s bench struggled throughout the game as well. Malik Hall was the only bench player to score in the matchup. The Badgers’ bench scored 20 points in the game.
Michigan State overcame the bench struggles and turnover issues. The team shot 52.3 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from three-point range. The Spartans shot 17 free throws, making 16 of them. Wisconsin attempted just eight free throws in the contest.
A.J. Hoggard and Joey Hauser lead the way for a Michigan State victory
Hauser finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds for MSU. Hauser shot six-for-eight from the floor, including sinking two of his three shots from beyond the arc. The senior shot a perfect six-for-six from the free-throw line as well.
Hoggard struggled early in the game, but he came up with some clutch points in crunch time. After Wisconsin tied the game in the final minute, Hoggard connected on a two-pointer to give MSU the lead, one it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Hoggard finished the game with 10 points, eight assists and four rebounds
Walker and Mady Sissoko made major contributions as well. Walker tallied 13 points while Sissoko collected a game-high 11 rebounds.
The victory brings MSU’s record to 2-2 against ranked opponents this season. Their next opportunity to take on a ranked opponent will come when they take on the Purdue Boilermakers on Jan. 16.
The Michigan State Spartans will look to extend their winning streak to eight when they visit Illinois on Jan. 13. The game tips off at 9 p.m. on FS1.