Malik Hall having patented Michigan State basketball senior surge

Michigan State's Malik Hall, right, celebrates his 3-pointer against Illinois during the first half
Michigan State's Malik Hall, right, celebrates his 3-pointer against Illinois during the first half / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Another game is in the books and Michigan State basketball is back in the win column for the third straight time. Beating Michigan on Saturday night was expected but it was also the first time the Spartans completed a season sweep of the Wolverines since 2019 so it felt good to finally get that done after a four-year drought.

This may have been the nail in Juwan Howard's coffin as Michigan's head coach.

But that wasn't the main storyline of the night. The main storyline was Malik Hall having yet another huge game, winning his last game in Ann Arbor as a Spartan. He may have had some turnover issues throughout the game, but when Michigan State needed him most, he stepped up. He finished with 18 points and four rebounds and really put the team on his back down the stretch.

When Michigan State needed a clutch bucket, it was Hall who stepped up and delivered. Well, Hall and the usual hero, Tyson Walker.

Now that Hall has been on fire over the past 14 games, it's clear that he's having the patented Michigan State senior year breakout that plenty of players before him have experienced.

Guys like Travis Trice, Joey Hauser, Matt McQuaid, Matt Costello, and Kenny Goins just in the past 10 years have had the same thing happen to them as seniors. They were all solid in their underclass years, for the most part, but they stepped up to be star leaders as seniors when no one truly expected it to happen.

Everyone was quick to call Hall a disappointment through his first four years and when he returned for his senior year, there were some who doubted that it was the right move. But now we're starting to truly see how good he can be when he's fully healthy and given the reins on offense.

Hall is averaging 23 points and 6.3 rebounds over the past three games and he's over 15 points per game and 5.6 rebounds over his past 14 games. He's been the most consistent he's been in his entire Michigan State career.

We're seeing Hall go from oft-criticized role player to starter, star, and leader in one year's time and his career resurgence has been fun to watch. He may have just played himself into an NBA draft pick. Who wouldn't want a strong-bodied forward who can stretch the floor, handle the ball, and score at will around the rim?