Michigan State basketball toughed out another win over Oregon on Friday night. Here are my quick thoughts.
Has the voice of Bill Walton been seared into your brain yet? For the second straight night, Michigan State basketball fans were treated (sarcasm) to Walton commentary and, yeah, I’m worn out.
Outside of listening to Walton make seal noises and go off on minute-long tangents while the camera angle is already causing aggravation for the average MSU viewer, fans were treated to a win. Michigan State was able to hold on to beat Oregon 74-70 in a back-and-forth affair.
Will Richardson kept the Ducks in the game with 25 points which more than doubled his season high and it just wasn’t enough as Pierre Brooks, Tyson Walker, and Joey Hauser combined for 49 points.
We’ll take this late-night win. Here are my thoughts:
1. Pierre Brooks has the greenest light, and I love it
Brooks looked aggressive on Friday night, and I loved it. You might look at his shooting percentage (6-for-16) and assume he had a bad game, but it was anything but. He looked great.
Not only was he aggressive, but he made the big shots when MSU needed a bucket. He showed no hesitation and hoisted up 11 threes, making three. Brooks almost hit five threes, but two were reviewed and his foot was on the line, marking them down to twos.
This was a great growth night for Brooks, though. And his light is unbelievably green.
2. Tyson Walker, Joey Hauser carried the offense
Outside of Brooks, both Walker and Hauser were carrying the offense. It looked like the Spartans were unable to score in long stretches in this one and when those slumps needed to be ended, those two stepped up.
Walker continued to hit big shot after big shot, finishing with 16 points and eight assists with one turnover and Hauser did the same throughout the first half and into the early second. Hauser finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, hitting 4-for-8 from deep.
These two really stepped up when the offense looked stagnant and if they can continue to hit big shots, the Spartans will be just fine.
3. No win can ever be easy with this team
While Tom Izzo will take any win he can get, he has to wonder why it can just never be easy. He had the Kentucky game which went to double-overtime and took a perfect out-of-bounds play to get there, he snuck by Villanova after being up by 16 with eight minutes left, and on Friday, the Spartans were up eight in the final couple of minutes and continued to make mental mistakes.
The “oh no, it’s happening again” play was the inbounds from Hauser to Hoggard in the corner and an errant pass right to Oregon which led to an and-one to cut the lead to two. Fortunately, guys like Walker, Hoggard, and Mady Sissoko hit their free throws down the stretch.
Wins are not coming easily, but this team is getting its fair share of learning lessons.