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Michigan State basketball: 3 quick thoughts from convincing win over Nebraska

Michigan State dominated an improved Nebraska team.

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Michigan State basketball
© Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball controlled the entire game against Nebraska to pick up its second Big Ten win of the season.

Avoiding a somewhat common slow start to the game, Michigan State basketball turned up the pressure early on an improved Nebraska team and ran away with a 74-56 win at home.

Breslin Center was rocking as the Izzone alumni were in attendance and the team seemed to feed off that energy even with students not on campus yet. They cruised, leading by 22 at the half and only maintaining that in the final minutes despite a couple of slow spells.

The Spartans are now 10-4 on the year and 2-1 in conference play with the win and they have a big game approaching on Saturday against Michigan in East Lansing.

Here are my quick thoughts from the convincing win.

1. Tyson Walker got his confidence back

It was apparent from the get-go that Tyson Walker was going to have himself a game.

The senior guard was hitting shots from everywhere and playing stingy defense, leading to some easy buckets on the other end. He didn’t settle for bad shots and when that first one went in, he wasn’t afraid to be aggressive. He had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting which was his best showing since Nov. 24 against Alabama. If he gets his confidence back and can average in the 15-20 range, MSU is borderline elite.

2. Jaxon Kohler had the game he desperately needed

We finally saw Jaxon Kohler make some noise, scoring 10 points and grabbing three rebounds on 5-for-5 shooting. He didn’t just make open layups either. He had a nice turnaround jumper and a mid-range jumper to go along with some points in the paint. It’s nice to see Kohler finally have himself a strong game because he’s struggled all year.

Kohler has a nice repertoire, but we just need to see it consistently. Maybe this was the confidence boost he needed.

3. MSU did the little things really well

Michigan State basketball fans just want to see clean play. No turnovers, no bad shots, good ball movement, and stingy defense. Every phase was working all night long for this team.

The only bad thing I can say about the Spartans was that they had a dry spell in the second half that lasted a little too long and they had some defensive lapses but overall it was a great performance.

Mady Sissoko locked down the post, Jaden Akins, AJ Hoggard, Tre Holloman, and Tyson Walker shut down the perimeter, and the switches were good all night. On offense, the ball movement was impressive as there seemed to be an open man every time and there was very little settling. This resulted in 48 percent shooting from the floor.

Nebraska did shoot 42 percent but just 12 percent from deep. The close outs and rebounding prowess were both present.

This was one of those complete games where all the little things were done correctly.

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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