Michigan State basketball

© Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball: 3 positive developments from loss to Alabama

Despite losing to No. 18 Alabama, Michigan State basketball fans should be happy with a few things that they saw.

Are your ears still hurting from listening to Bill Walton talk about everything but basketball on Thursday night? Maybe the Michigan State basketball loss made it seem worse, but man am I glad that game is over.

The Spartans weren’t able to overcome a lack of depth as Alabama rolled 81-70.

Alabama was up by 16 at one point and it felt like it was going to run away with a win as Michigan State’s depth was causing major issues on both ends of the court. The Spartans didn’t quit, pulling back within single digits before losing by 11.

Despite dropping to 3-2 after the loss, there were some positive developments from this game that should have Michigan State basketball fans feeling optimistic.

Here’s what I liked from the Spartans in the loss.

1. The young guys got valuable experience and looked good

Jaxon Kohler, Tre Holloman, and Carson Cooper all played big minutes on Thursday night as the only scholarship bench players that the Spartans had. They each played well in their own way.

Kohler showed some impressive post moves in the first half and gave fans a taste of what they could expect to see for the next few years. He had nice touch around the rim and was aggressive on the glass. Kohler worked his butt off for his six points, seven rebounds, and a block. Holloman hit some nice shots and didn’t turn the ball over. He finished with six points and an assist with no turnovers. Lastly, Cooper had a couple of really nice blocks as he showed some defensive prowess.

These three combined for 31 minutes off the bench and they didn’t look to be afraid of the big stage.

2. Tyson Walker is developing into a go-to scorer

For a second straight game and just the third time in his Michigan State basketball career, Tyson Walker finished with 20-plus points. He dialed it up on the offensive end and finished with 21 points on 9-for-22 shooting and added four assists with no turnovers.

Although he took 22 shots to get 21 points, he wasn’t afraid to take the lead. Without Malik Hall, he’s going to have to score more in order for Michigan State to stay afloat. He’s proving to be a go-to scorer and that’s a great sign for this team’s overall growth.

3. This team doesn’t quit

AJ Hoggard showed some poor body language early in the game and it would have been easy for him to check out as he was struggling and the Spartans were down big, but he rebounded to finish strong.

And the Spartans followed his lead.

Though Michigan State did lose by 11, it could have been much uglier if not for the grind-it-out attitude from these guys. They just won’t go down without a fight and they fed off their leader late in the game.

A fully healthy Michigan State team probably beats Alabama or at least takes the Tide down to the wire, but it’s nice to see that even down two starters, the Spartans aren’t going to roll over.

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