Michigan State basketball

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Michigan State basketball: 3 quick thoughts from tough loss to Gonzaga

Michigan State basketball gave Gonzaga all it could handle on Friday night and here are three quick thoughts from the loss.

Fifteen seconds stood between Michigan State basketball and a massive upset of No. 2 Gonzaga on Friday night, but a poorly executed final play led to a missed 3-point shot with no time left.

Michigan State fell just short, 64-63.

The Spartans played a great game in some tough conditions outside with a somewhat slippery court and nearly pulled off the upset of the nation’s second-ranked team. But the second half was a struggle offensively compared to the first 20 minutes.

Foul trouble plagued the Spartans and poor play from some key guys on defense was another factor.

Here are my quick thoughts from what was a much closer loss than people had expected.

1. Mady Sissoko is better than we thought

Mady Sissoko looked like that dude for about 20 minutes on Friday night, but then he started to get into foul trouble and you could tell the defense in the post declined.

When he was on the floor and not in foul trouble, he was a problem for Gonzaga, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds and he was legitimately the reason Drew Timme struggled early on. It’s too bad that he couldn’t stay out of foul trouble because he was darn good.

I guess when Tom Izzo said that Sissoko was progressing nicely, he meant it.

2. Joey Hauser has to be tougher

I’m not going to say I’m out on Joey Hauser, but man did he look soft against Gonzaga.

That can’t happen again.

Hauser came back this year to prove that he was a different player than the one we saw for the first few months of last season. He came back to prove a point. Unfortunately, his doubters have the upper hand after the horrid performance he just put up against the Zags, scoring two points, getting manhandled defensively, and fouling out.

Hauser simply has to be tougher.

3. This team is going to be just fine

I liked what I saw from Michigan State on Friday night. Not only did I not expect them to be in the game in the final seconds, but I also didn’t expect them to cover the +11.5. They did both.

Michigan State needs to stay healthy this year, but the playing group that they have is solid and tight-knit.

AJ Hoggard knows how to find the open guys and he’s smart and crafty with the ball, Tyson Walker can shoot and drive the lane, Sissoko is actually really solid down low on both ends, and Hall stepped his game up against Gonzaga. The bench is also decent as long as Jaxon Kohler uses this game as a learning lesson.

Michigan State will be just fine this year, folks.

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