EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo wished his gamers to stay as dialed in as they had been earlier within the week to upset No. 4 Kentucky.
Michigan State basketball’s outdoors shooters took it to one other degree early Friday night time. And then wanted each ounce of resolve developed up to now week to battle off a ferocious Villanova comeback for a 73-71 victory as a part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East.
The No. 25 Spartans locked in on the Breslin Center rims from the outset, hitting 13 of 25 from 3-point vary for the sport to construct as a lot as a 16-point lead halfway via the second half.
But the Wildcats crawled again inside 4 factors with two minutes to play on an Eric Dixon 3-pointer after which inside a degree on Jordan Longino’s 3 with 50.2 seconds remaining.
Tyson Walker hit one in every of two free throws with 16.9 seconds left, and Villanova received the rebound. It was up to MSU’s perimeter protection, and Mady Sissoko stepped out and put a hand in Dixon’s face to forestall what would have been a successful 3-pointer, the ball banging off the backboard and Malik Hall grabbing the rebound as time ran out.
A BIG WIN:Michigan State basketball’s win over Kentucky exhibits early development in key gamers — and Izzo
It was the third straight shut sport for MSU, which misplaced, 64-63, on Nov. 11 to No. 2 Gonzaga and beat Kentucky 86-77 in two overtimes Tuesday in Indianapolis as a part of the Champions Classic.
“Today confirmed maturity from us, actually, as a result of some individuals would get glad with an enormous win (in opposition to Kentucky),” stated Walker, who led MSU with 22 factors on 9-for-14 taking pictures and added 5 assists. “We got here to follow the following day and practiced more durable after which the day after that. And we had been prepared for in the present day. … We discovered lots in these two video games.
“Shoot, we discovered lots in every part we did — even from the scrimmage with Tennessee, the exhibition, the primary sport. We discovered lots with these video games. And that helped in the present day.”
The Spartans’ perimeter protection held Villanova to 8-for-29 from 3-point vary for the sport, though the Wildcats shot 55.6% within the second half and made 4 3-pointers within the last 5:46 — three of these within the last three minutes — to battle again.
“I believe we defended the arc very well till these final stretches the place they received their 3s in,” stated AJ Hoggard, who got here up two rebounds wanting a triple-double, ending with 13 factors, 10 assists and eight rebounds. “But I believe earlier than all that, I believe we did a superb job of defending them the entire sport.”
Joey Hauser had 13 factors with 5 rebounds, whereas Hall scored 12 as MSU shot 51.9% general and outrebounded Villanova, 31-26. That led to a 14-4 second-chance scoring benefit.
And it capped what Izzo known as “essentially the most memorable week in my complete profession.”
“It was a fistfight,” Izzo stated. “We knew it might be a 12-, 15-round battle.”
The Spartans (3-1) are off till 10:30 pm Thursday in Portland, Oregon, the place they may face No. 16 Alabama within the first spherical of the Phil Knight Invitational. MSU will play three video games in 4 days within the Thanksgiving week occasion. Tom Izzo’s crew may probably face Villanova once more in its last sport as a part of an eight-team bracket, which additionally contains No. 1 North Carolina. The MSU-Alabama winner faces the winner between Connecticut and Oregon within the second sport subsequent Friday.
The Spartans opened the sport on a blistering taking pictures tempo from outdoors.
Hauser and Hall drained 3-pointers on two of MSU’s first three possessions. Jaden Akins drilled one other, and the Spartans compelled the Wildcats to miss their first 4 from outdoors.
Villanova hit a pair as a part of a 10-2 run to take a 14-11 lead halfway via the primary half earlier than MSU caught fireplace once more from deep.
Hoggard and Walker related on consecutive journeys, Hoggard hit one other after which arrange Hauser for his second 3-pointer. Hauser used a head-and-shoulders pretend for a layup, and Walker dropped in a driving finger-roll layup as a part of a 9-0 run to prolong the lead to double digits.
The Wildcats ended that run with a Dixon layup and received a dunk to finish the half, with Walker’s second 3-pointer sandwiched between that to ship the Spartans into halftime main, 34-24.
MSU was 8-for-14 from 3-point vary and shot 48.1% general within the opening interval whereas holding Villanova to 2-for-10 from outdoors and to 34.6% from the ground.
“Just the pace that they play with, it is actually arduous to take away 3s at that tempo. And that is why they play like that, proper,” first-year Wildcats coach Kyle Neptune stated. “We misplaced them somewhat bit there.”
Hauser introduced again his robust play from Tuesday’s win over No. 4 Kentucky, hitting 4 of 5 photographs and main the Spartans with 10 factors at half. Walker scored eight, and Hoggard performed a turnover-free half with six factors, six rebounds and three assists.
Hanging on once more
MSU’s massive 4 stored pushing within the second half, driving the lead to as many as 16 when Walker hit a jumper with 8:07 to play.
But Villanova crept again inside single digits within the second half thanks to an 8-2 run, stopped solely briefly by a Hoggard layup. Then the Spartans began stumbling, with a 3-pointer from the Wildcats’ Brendan Hausen with 5:44 to play beginning a 20-9 burst.
“Our guys’ mentality was to simply maintain coming,” Neptune stated. “Eventually, we caught a groove offensively. I believe if we had yet one more minute, we’d have been proper there.”
Hauser’s inbound lob move from below Villanova’s basket out of a timeout with below a minute to play received stolen close to the arc, and Longino dropped a 3-pointer with 50.2 seconds left to pull Villanova inside one at 72-71.
Izzo blamed himself for not calling timeout as Hauser struggled to discover an open teammate.
“I believed we had shut to a knockout there on the 10-minute mark, we had been up 16,” Izzo stated. “And for all of the credit score I received via doing issues effectively down the stretch in opposition to Kentucky, I ought to get some blame for not dealing with that stuff very effectively down the stretch in the present day, as a result of we didn’t execute very effectively.”
Walker break up a pair of free throws, and the Wildcats rebounded and known as timeout with 7.1 seconds to play. But the Spartans’ protection once more got here up massive alongside the 3-point arc to cling on.
“Going again to the Gonzaga sport, we really feel like we let that one slip away. So we knew even with (Villanova) coming again tonight, we had to discover a method to win,” Hoggard stated. “We could not let two slip away like that. They had been simply all studying factors. All these video games main up to this had been simply studying factors for us.
“And I really feel like we did a superb job of simply being resilient when it went up in that stretch. But we nonetheless have to do a greater job of sustaining and never letting it get to that.”
Villanova hit 9 of its final 13 photographs over the ultimate 8:39, together with half of its 3-pointers for the sport. Dixon’s 22 factors and 9 rebounds led the Wildcats (2-2). Daniels scored 13 factors however was 4-for-14 taking pictures, going 1-for-8 from 3-point vary. Brandon Slated added 16 factors and 6 rebounds.
“I advised my crew earlier than the sport it’s going to be the hardest crew we play all yr so far as bodily robust. And they had been each little bit of that,” Izzo stated of Villanova.
“We received plenty of issues we received to get higher at as a result of we may have misplaced that sport. Of course, I’ve had plenty of video games that we may have gained and we misplaced, so I suppose this one we may have misplaced and we gained. We knew the entire time it was going to be a dogfight. We additionally knew that we had been gonna have to beat them; they weren’t gonna beat themselves.”
Contact Chris Solari:email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.
Read extra on the Michigan State Spartans and join our Spartans e-newsletter.