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Michigan State basketball: 3 quick thoughts from tight win over Ohio State

This one was closer than we would have liked.

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Michigan State basketball
© Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball led the entire way, but Ohio State hung around and made things annoying on Senior Day.

If you were looking for one of those stress-free games, Saturday afternoon’s Ohio State vs. Michigan State basketball did not quite fit that description.

Sure, the Spartans led for 99.9 percent of the game, but Ohio State hung around with one of its best shooting performances of the season. The Buckeyes shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and 11-for-25 from deep to score 78 points while the Spartans hit 80 for a fourth straight game.

Defense was not a strong suit for the Spartans for a third straight game and Tom Izzo will probably be touching on that in his post-game presser.

Michigan State improves to 19-11 on the year and 11-8 in conference play and it’s still very much alive in the double-bye conversation.

Here are my quick thoughts on the win.

1. This offense is unbelievable right now

For the first 26 games of the season, Michigan State only scored 80 points twice. The Spartans had a really average offense with an above-average defense.

The script has flipped in the past four games.

Michigan State has scored 80 in four straight games and the Spartans are shooting the ball at an unreal clip of 58 percent from deep in that span. Tyson Walker scored 15 again, Joey Hauser had 16, Malik Hall had 10, Jaden Akins had 13, and AJ Hoggard led the way with 23.

The offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment and that’s something that needs to be carried into the NCAA Tournament.

2. Something needs to be done about this defense

For as good as the offense has been, the defense has been almost as bad.

The Spartans gave up 84 to Michigan, 112 to Iowa, and 78 to Ohio State over the past five games. That’s just unacceptable for a defense that has been top-tier all season long.

Izzo said the Spartans would get back to normal defensively on Saturday but that clearly didn’t happen. He needs to get these guys to buy back in defensively because if they can play this well offensively with their usual stingy defense, no one is beating this team.

3. The seniors went out on a high note

If this was the last home game for Hauser, Hall, and Walker, they went out with a really impressive performance. The trio of seniors (not counting Jason Whitens) shot 17-for-30 from the floor, 6-for-11 from deep, and had a combined 41 points in the winning effort.

I think we’ll see at least one of these guys come back but the one that I believe is surely gone (Hauser) was nearly perfect (6-for-7) from the floor.

It may not have been the blowout win we all wanted, but the seniors played well and were able to kiss the Spartan logo with seconds remaining.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.

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