Michigan State basketball downed a tough Indiana State team in its last game of 2023

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Justin Tran

Justin Tran

On the penultimate day of 2023, Michigan State and Indiana State met at the Breslin Center for a non-conference matchup, unlike the last time they met in the 1979 National Championship game.

Similar to the last time they matched up 44 years ago, Michigan State walked away with an 87-75 victory.

“That was as well-coached and good of a team as we have played,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. “And we’ve played a lot of good teams. They hit some shots that were tough.”

Michigan State came into this matchup riding a three-game winning streak, including a dominant performance over then-No.6 ranked Baylor.

MSU started with a three from AJ Hoggard to get the Breslin Center echoing early. However, Indiana State was dropping three-pointers of their own to match the Spartans’ energy. Eight threes in the first half for the Sycamores, including four from standout junior guard Isaiah Swope.

Michigan State was effective in spreading the ball around in the first half, as well as breaking out of the double teams that Indiana State was consistently using to throw off the Spartan offense.

MSU junior guard Jaden Akins showed off what he had to offer in this game, shooting 2-3 from the arc and tallying nine points in the first half for Michigan State.

“Jaden, man, when he started covering two, it made a big difference,” Izzo said. “I give him a lot of credit.”

Finishing off the second half hot, Michigan State rode a 44-34 lead into halftime.

The Sycamores would not back down to the Spartans though, as they started the second half on a 15-5 run to tie the game at 49 with just under 16 minutes to play.

Indiana State continued to run with MSU, connecting on six threes in the second half and getting another solid 20 minutes of play from Swope. However, as coach Izzo said, “winning teams make winning plays,” and that’s exactly what Michigan State did.

Like clockwork, it was graduate guard Tyson Walker who led the Spartans with 22 points in the game, 12 in the second half and went an impressive 10-10 from the free throw line.

Michigan State played together as a team in the closing minutes of this game, with no one trying to be the hero, and it worked. Graduate forward Malik Hall finished with 18 points in the matchup, including 13 in the second half. A three-point jumper to take back the lead with eight minutes to go got the crowd on their feet, and Hall continued to carry the team down the stretch.

The unsung hero from this game was senior center Mady Sissoko, who continuously hauled in tough rebounds to give the offense second-chance points. Sissoko totaled six points and 12 rebounds, eight of those on the offensive glass.

Michigan State pulled away late against a tough Indiana State team and secured the victory heading into Big Ten play.

“To have no students, and to have that place rocking like that was unbelievable,” Izzo said.

Michigan State will take on Penn State next on Jan. 4 to open up the 2024 portion of their campaign.

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