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Michigan State Basketball: The great, good, bad, and ugly from Indiana loss

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Michigan State basketball
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a strong start, Michigan State basketball had a total collapse, losing to Indiana Hoosiers 82-69.

Michigan State basketball, Joey Hauser in particular, got off to a hot start at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon, jumping out to a 17-8 lead just over six minutes into the game. Hauser looked as though he was headed towards a career night, scoring 11 of those 17 points in impressive fashion.

After the lead was built, Trayce Jackson-Davis followed Hauser’s lead and took over.

Led by TJD, the script quickly flipped as though the Spartans were going to be run out of the building. Indiana finished the final 12 minutes of the first half on a 29-15 run to take a 37-32 lead and as much momentum as one team can into the locker room.

MSU came out in the second half looking like the team from the first 10 minutes of the game, opening on a 12-5 run to take the lead with 15 minutes remaining. In what turned out to be a game of runs, Indiana came roaring back. After opening the second half shooting 7-for-8, Michigan State went 1-for-8 on their next eight shots.

Using this cold streak, Indiana saw its lead balloon, and eventually closed the Spartans out 82-69.

Here’s the great, good, bad and ugly from MSU’s lopsided loss at Assembly Hall.

Great: Jaden Akins

After back-to-back subpar games against Illinois and Purdue, Jaden Akins came to play against Rutgers and Indiana. Akins followed up his 11 point performance against the Scarlet Knights on Thursday with a 15-point game Sunday in Bloomington.

As Michigan State found itself down beginning the second half, Akins began to light it up from three, eventually finishing shooting 3-for-4 from deep. Each make settled the crazed Indiana crowd ever so slightly.

Even with this great performance, as mentioned, Jaden had a string of below average games. To open Big Ten play Akins had four out of five outings in which he scored in single digits. Jaden truly is the Spartans’ X-factor and must play as such. Going stretches of Big Ten games with no impact cannot happen. Shooting almost 44 percent from 3-point range, Akins has the ability to be a true threat on all levels for Tom Izzo. He has to play like it each night.

Good: Joey Hauser

Even with a costly mental error late in the second half of the game, Joey Hauser was terrific on Sunday. As already stated, Joey single handedly got the Spartans off to a great start.

Finishing the first half with 14 of MSU’s 32 first-half points, Hauser looked like the veteran leader he is. He was able to take what the Hoosier defense was giving him, along with creating opportunities for himself. Joey shot 50 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep to go along with six rebounds in his 22-point outing.

It has been well documented this season that the Spartans struggle to make it to the free throw line on a consistent basis. Sunday afternoon, Hauser did his part to get Indiana into foul trouble. Having 12 free throw shots, Hauser cashed in on nine while forcing Indiana forward Jordan Geronimo to foul out with five minutes remaining in the contest.

Bad: Assists, bench production

Michigan State averages 15 assists per game. Death, taxes, and Michigan State having an elite assisting team. Against Indiana on Sunday, the Spartans had just six assists. It seemed as though the Hoosiers had MSU completely out of sorts and the lopsided score was a result.

Not moving the ball to find the open shot dug the Spartans into a hole they could not climb out from. I assume this is more of an anomaly rather than an area of real concern for the Spartans, but MSU cannot make a routine of the lack of assists.

Just days removed from an extremely well-balanced effort from the Spartans, Michigan State’s bench reverted to prior habits. Outside of Jaxon Kohler, who again looked better than starter Mady Sissoko, all other bench players were ineffectual. Each playing 13-plus minutes, Tre Holloman and Pierre Brooks both failed to have any impact.

While Holloman has not shown much offensive prowess this season thus far, Brooks has. It has been noted in previous weeks that Brooks has the talent to provide seven to nine points off the bench, but yet he continues his intense sophomore slump. Other than a two-point performance against Rutgers, Brooks is now scoreless in five of his last six games. More than just not scoring, Brooks looks absolutely lost defensively, and cannot buy a basket at any time.

Pierre needs to spend every minute not in the classroom in the gym, because he is, unfortunately, borderline unplayable at this point.

Ugly: 3-point defense

Normally an above average defensive team, Michigan State was far from that on Sunday.

Michigan State basketball currently ranks tied for 51st in the country in 3-point defense, with an opponent percentage of 30.5. Indiana finished against the Spartans shooting double that at 60 percent from deep. Whether this was due to the energetic crowd at Assembly Hall, a great 3-point shooting roster for Indiana, or a lack of MSU’s defense, the result is all the same. What makes that 60 percent shooting clip even more impressive is that freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino missed on all three of his attempts, dragging the team’s average down.

Michigan State had no answer for sophomore guard Tamar Bates, who had been scoreless in the Hoosiers two previous games, and junior Trey Galloway. The two connected on a combined 8-of-9 from three.

MSU guards were repeatedly beat to the spot and/or unable to properly close out on the red hot shooters. Beating a team that is shooting 9-for-15 from three point range is next to impossible. Michigan State has to do a better job disrupting opposing shooters if they plan to break away in conference play.

Writer and contributor for Spartan Shadows. Tyler Dutton, a graduate of Michigan State, is a college and professional basketball specialist with over four years of experience writing on both the Spartans and Pistons.

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