It wasn’t easy, but Michigan State basketball turned in another quality win over Villanova on Friday night.
Four games into the season, not many thought Michigan State basketball would be sitting at 3-1. Friday night’s finish wasn’t pretty, but here we are, with another victory, this one coming against Villanova.
Tyson Walker led the way for Michigan State, as the Spartans closed the game against the Wildcats, 73-71.
From the several first half three-pointers to the Jaden Akins face-melting dunk in the second, the Spartans carried the momentum for the majority of the night. Outside of the last minute scare, Sparty was in control.
Here are three key takeaways from Friday’s performance at the Breslin Center.
1. Joey Hauser is on a tear
Look, we all know the roller coaster that is watching Joey Hauser during the regular season. When he’s on, he’s like a Swiss Army knife on the floor. When he’s off, you often find yourself wanting to smash your TV screen. But, credit where it’s due, Hauser is shooting the absolute lights out right now, and Friday’s game was no exception.
If you take away the game outdoors on an aircraft carrier, Hauser is shooting an impressive 54 percent clip to start the young season. He’s averaging 18 points per game in those appearances, and he’s done so looking sharp and confident.
We’re all hoping that hair-pulling cold streak doesn’t come for Joey, but so far so good.
2. Malik Hall is just getting started
Malik followed up his impressive 20-point game against Kentucky with another 12 points against Villanova, knocking down two big 3-pointers in the process.
It’s apparent that his touch on offense is making its way back to form after a somewhat slow start. More scoring opportunities in the lane will continue to present themselves for Hall, too, especially as Walker and AJ Hoggard’s shots from downtown start to fall at a higher rate.
3. The shots finally fell for AJ Hoggard
Speaking of Hoggard, we’ve seen the defensive disruption he causes for opponents. We’ve seen the elusive passes. And against Villanova, finally, we’ve seen more of Hoggard’s ceiling.
After starting the year just 0-for-4 from three, Hoggard had the deep ball working against the Wildcats, finishing the game 3-fir-6 from long range. We know Hoggard has been working on his game from behind the arc, but tonight we finally got a little taste at just how vital that development might be for the Spartans this season. If he can start knocking down those shots more consistently, his overall offensive game should take off in a big way.