Michigan State Basketball: 3 takeaways from uninspired loss at Michigan

Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball played one of its worst games of the season, losing at Michigan and dropping to 8-5 in conference play.

It wasn’t the rivalry game anyone expected to see with a low-scoring output in the first half, but things heated up in the final 20 minutes before Michigan finally put the final nails in the coffin, 77-68.

The Spartans had one of their worst offensive showings of the season, shooting 33 percent from the floor, including just 6-of-23 from long range. It was an ugly game for Michigan State despite having just seven total turnovers and most of those came in the first half.

Michigan State was out-toughed and out-hustled yet again, losing the battle on the boards and giving up a multitude of second-chance points.

This was a game Michigan State needed to win, but it fell short.

3. Freshmen were bright spots

When talking in his presser after the game, Tom Izzo stated that his freshmen just aren’t ready yet. And that got me thinking about the game I just watched.

What we saw was a tough Malik Hall playing in the post against guys much bigger than him and with more experience. He held his own and threw his body around to get stops. He had just two fouls in 26 minutes yet finished with eight points and four rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting. He had that toughness that has seemed to lack with the rest of the team.

Coming off the bench was Rocket Watts and we witnessed him confident offensively yet again with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He may not have contributed anything in the way of assists or defensive stats, but he was a strong role player.

So no, Tom, this wasn’t the case on Saturday. Your freshmen aren’t the ones you have to worry about because they actually came in and played exceptionally well.