Another road game, another disappointing loss for Michigan State basketball.
After getting off to a slow start in Champaign, the Spartans battled back to take a 48-42 lead in the second half after a thunderous Coen Carr alley-oop, but Illinois immediately erased that deficit and took a lead shortly after. The Spartans would pull within a possession at the end, but a missed three by AJ Hoggard was the nail in the coffin -- Tyson Walker's 1-for-7 shooting performance from deep didn't help either.
What did we learn from Michigan State's 71-68 loss to Illinois on Thursday night?
3. The bench needs to be better
Four bench players saw action on Thursday night which was surprising given the fact that Jaxon Kohler returned to the floor. That means we saw no Xavier Booker. But even with Kohler back, pretty much only three guys saw the floor from the bench -- Coen Carr, Carson Cooper, and Tre Holloman.
Kohler played a single minute and turned the ball over and immedaitely got yanked by Tom Izzo. For some reason, Carr played just seven minutes and had four points and a block and looked like he was going to have a solid game but just didn't get the opportunity. Cooper had two rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes, and Holloman had no points, three assists, and a rebound.
This is just not enough production from the bench when these guys are supposed to have major impacts. There needs to be more from these guys moving forward.