Michigan State basketball

© JESSICA GALLAGHER/ Staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball: 3 things I liked from Northern Arizona win

Michigan State basketball picked up a season-opening win over Northern Arizona and here’s what I liked about it.

Watching Michigan State basketball return was the perfect cherry on top of what was a great couple of days for Spartan athletics.

Tom Izzo’s team hosted a Northern Arizona team that returned a lot of talent from a team that went just 9-23 last year, but the Lumberjacks figure to be much improved this season and challenge for a Big Sky title.

Carson Towt and Jalen Cone were the two guys the Spartans had to worry about and they neutralized one while the latter had himself a nice game.

All-in-all, it was a good win for MSU as it shook off some rust with Gonzaga next on the schedule.

Here’s what I liked most from this season-opening win:

1. Jaden Akins looks healthy, aggressive

I was pleasantly surprised to see Jaden Akins take the court on Monday night, but he must’ve had a few practices in a row with no soreness after. That was Izzo’s requirement for getting back onto the floor in live action and he did just that.

Not only did he look healthy and explosive, but he was also aggressive. He was hunting for his own shots and looked like he was poised to take that next step offensively.

Obviously some of his 10 shots off the bench were poor selections (hand in the face on deep twos) but it’s nice to see that he isn’t afraid to get shots up. This is going to pay off for him and MSU this year.

2. Joey Hauser has his confidence back

At the end of last season, we saw a more confident Joey Hauser. That continued on Monday night.

Hauser looked like the player we saw at the end of 2021-22, getting plenty of shots up and not hesitating in the slightest. There were some shots he took that shocked me because he’s been known for second-guessing his own looks. Not against Northern Arizona.

Joey finished with a double-double, leading the Spartans with 18 points and 10 boards and he was 6-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-8 from deep. Love to see a confident Hauser.

3. Young guys looking comfortable

I was really impressed with guys like Pierre Brooks (considering him a ‘young guy’ since he sparingly played as a freshman), Tre Holloman, and Jaxon Kohler.

Heck, in terms of playing time, Mady Sissoko could even be considered as one of the young guys, but I’m actually just writing this to give him a shoutout for solid play.

Brooks finished with 14 points and showcased his shooting touch off the bench with four threes, Holloman was comfortable running the point and even had a nifty layup and looked good on defense, and Kohler brought the juice in the post and flashed some nice moves.

Overall, the young guys looked comfortable and that’s a great sign.

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