Steven Izzo scores first collegiate points in a dominating MSU win

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Aleesa Luecker

After a tough loss on the road to Illinois, Michigan State came back to the Breslin Center looking to get back in the win column.

On a historic day, graduate guard Steven Izzo scored his first collegiate points as a Spartan to help fuel a win, 73-55.

The key to this game was getting back to the way of MSU basketball. The Spartans were able to get on the board first, with a signature turnaround jumper from graduate forward Malik Hall. After taking the early lead, Michigan State struggled out of the gate.

This game remained close for both sides, with Rutgers’ ferocious defense halting Michigan State to a nearly 3-minute scoring drought, until sophomore guard Tre Holloman broke the drought with a transition three.

“I was disappointed offensively”, Izzo said.

Michigan State continued to shoot poorly, going 1-for-7 with three quick turnovers. The dry spell ended with graduate guard Tyson Walker taking the lid off the rim.

Coach Tom Izzo always says great defense leads to good offense, and the Spartans delivered. Freshman guard Coen Carr and sophomore forward Jaxon Kohler led the way with two defensive blocks to hold Rutgers to a close game.

“I’m excited to have Jaxon back. Kohler brings a different idea to that position,” said Izzo.

As the first half came to a close, both MSU and Rutgers continued a four-minute scoring drought, with Michigan State missing seven straight shots before the half ended.

The Spartans finished off the quarter strong, scoring 6 straight with the final basket of the half being a clutch three-pointer from Walker to give MSU the 28-22 lead heading into the half.

Malik Hall started the Spartan’s second half off strong with a quick three-pointer to put the Spartans up nine, but Rutgers would answer with a three-pointer of their own by Aundre Hyatt. For the majority of the game, Rutgers made it difficult for MSU to get momentum.

The Spartans turned up the heat with two big three-pointers from Walker and a transition bucket from Holloman which put Michigan State up 46-36. The Spartans shot 48 percent from three and that led to their incredible second-half play.

Michigan State came out with a changed pace, going on a 21-2 run in the last six minutes, and Carr forced a timeout call with a fierce dunk that rocked the Breslin.

“They had a huge run and we could never really get back,” Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell said.

Offensive rebounds have been key for Michigan State, with the team having eight on the night. Mady Sissoko capitalized on a second-chance shot and slammed a dunk home for Michigan State.

To put the exclamation point on the afternoon, Izzo pulled out a shifty crossover move and scored an and-one to seal the deal.

“I was happy to celebrate this moment with my son,” Tom Izzo said.

Michigan State gets back in the win column, moving their record to 10-7 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The Spartans return to Breslin for a Big Ten matchup against Minnesota on Jan. 18.

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