Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Takeaways from the Michigan State and Michigan Victories

Michigan State played Baylor in the Continental Tire Motor City Invitational at Little Caesars Arena and Michigan hosted Eastern Michigan. Both teams came away with convincing, double-digit non-conference wins.

Michigan State v Michigan
Michigan State v Michigan / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Michigan State finally got off to a great start to begin a game against a ranked opponent this season and they were led by the strong three-point shooting performace by Tyson Walker.

Tyson Walker scored five of Michigan State's first nine points as the Spartans took a 9-5 lead early in the game. Walker then made his second three of the game to give MSU a 12-7 lead with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. He then had a step back three to make it a 19-7 Spartans lead as you could see his confidence continue to grow throughout the beginning of the game. He didn't stop there, as he hit his fourth three from the wing in front of Baylor's bench to give MSU a commanding 22-7 lead.

A two-handed Coen Carr dunk gave the Spartans a 28-9 lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half. Michigan State played excellent defense early holding the Bears to only one for nine shooting from beyond the three-point arch. The Spartans went on a 27-4 run to give MSU a big lead that not many expected against the No. 6 ranked team in the country. Tre Holloman would make a three from the corner to make it an impressive 41-15 Spartan lead. Carr then threw down another two-hand dunk to make it a 45-15 game and Michigan State would go into halftime with a 45-17 lead.

In the first half, Michigan State shot 63% from the field on 17 of 27 made shots. They also shot 71.4% from beyond the arch on five-for-seven shooting and made all six of their first-half free throws. The Spartans outrebounded the Bears 18-9 at the half and eight steals to their four. Michigan State had three blocks and only five turnovers compared to Baylor who had zero blocks and 11 turnovers at the end of the first half. The biggest surprise was the Spartans having 22 points in the paint compared to the Bears eight. Michigan State nearly dominated Baylor in every category in the first half.

Michigan was able to get some key rebounds and hit some first-half three-pointers to take a lead early in the first half over the Eastern Michigan Eagles and have a double-digit lead at the half.

The Wolverines made some key three-pointers from beyond the arc to take a 13-4 lead. Nimari Burnett made two of his first three-point attempts and Terrance Williams II and Dug McDaniel each made a three each early in the game. McDaniel would make another three as EMU and Michigan went back and forth with made baskets to make it a 21-17 Wolverine lead with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

Michigan would step up on the defensive end and take a 28-19 lead. Tarris Reed Jr. provided 7 points and was the anchor of the Wolverine defense midway through the first half. The Wolverines only brought two players off of their bench with just over three minutes remaining in the first half. Williams had ten points off of three for five shooting from the field at that point of the game and four Michigan players had six or more points up to that point.

Michigan would extend their lead to 44-28 after Oliver Nkamhoua made two free throws. Williams made a step-back three from the wing to make it a 47-30 game and Burnett would tip in a missed shot and the score would be 49-32 at the half. The Wolverines shot 58.6% from the field and made eight three-point attempts going into the half. Michigan also had more rebounds, assists, and blocks than Eastern Michigan going into the second half.

After a Baylor run, Michigan State held strong and got their first statement non-conference win of the season.

Baylor came out of the half ready to play as they trimmed their deficit to 19 points as the score was 47-26 early on in the second half but A.J. Hoggard would score to stop the Bears run. Walker would then make a layup to make it a 51-29 game as he continued to play well as he had done in the first half. Hoggard would then respond with an and one and Jaden Akins would get a dunk to make it a 56-31 Spartan lead.

Holloman made a three on the wing to make it a 61-33 lead for the Spartans to stop any notion that Baylor would make a significant run. Then Baylor would respond after a couple of made baskets to make it a 63-40 game. Akins would respond with a corner made three to get the lead back up making it a 66-40 game with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. Walker would then help spur a Spartan run helping MSU to a 74-46 lead.

Michigan State would continue to ride Walker's hot hand but he had some help as well. Both Hoggard and Holloman had ten or more points and the Spartans big men contributed on both ends of the floor. Hoggard would essentially cap off the victory with a turn around jumper to make it a commanding 80-52 Spartan lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game. Xavier Booker would make a three pointer with a minute and a half left in the game and Michigan State would go on to win the game by a final score of 88-64.

Michigan did not allow Eastern to close the gap in the second half

Even though the Eagles went on a mini-run to start the second half scoring seven of the first ten second-half points, the Wolverines were able to respond starting with a Nkamhoua-made basket as the score was 54-41 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game. Will Tschetter would make an and one to extend the Wolverine's lead to 57-41.

Eastern Michigan would go on another second-half run to trim the Wolverines lead to 10 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game. However, Michigan would respond and make some key baskets to make it a 64-49-point game with 9:14 left in the game. Michigan's defense and offense would step up to extend their lead to over 20 points. The Wolverines would make some substitutions late to get some bench players who usually don't play many minutes an opportunity to play late in the game.

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Michigan would end the game with five players scoring 11 or more points lead by Nkamhoua's 17 points. The Wolverines would win this game by a final score of 83-66 and they next play on Friday in hopes of getting their seventh win of the season.