April 16, 2024

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Michigan State basketball player Jackson Kohler pitches Rutgers in a 70-56 win

Michigan State basketball player Jackson Kohler pitches Rutgers in a 70-56 win


EAST LANSING – Tom Izzo predicted a rock fight and got one.

Rutgers hammered the boards all night long. But Michigan State BasketballThe Crimson Knights defense swept through despite all their second chances, and the Spartans put together an old-school display in a must-win moment.

With a watershed moment for freshman Jackson Koehler.

Koehler helped MSU overcome early post-season woes by having career-highs with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the Spartans’ harder-than-looking 70-57 victory Thursday night at the Breslin Center, a renewed performance after two straight losses.

“It shows our growth with our guys,” said AJ Hoggard, a goaltender. And even our guys stepped up tonight, with Jaxon going in with a double-double. He didn’t really play those last two games, his minutes were down a little bit more than usual. For him to respond just like that, it just shows you what kind of team we have, what kind of people we have in the locker room. This clothes.

“So, it would mean a lot to us to recover like that.”

MSU (13-6, 5-3 Big Ten) held Rutgers shooting 2-for-17 from 3 points while the Spartans took advantage making 12-of-22 from deep. AJ Hoggard (16 points), Joey Hauser (13 points), Tyson Walker (12 points) and Jaden Akins (11 points) each made three three-pointers.

It will be another quick turnaround for MSU, which travels to Indiana for info Sunday afternoon on CBS.

“It was good that we only had two days to kind of absorb and we had to move forward right away,” said Hauser, who added six rebounds and four assists. “We couldn’t dwell on Bordeaux’s loss. It took a lot out of us, especially being their last possession. But we had to move on right away, and that’s what we have to do on Sunday as well.”

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Koehler went 6-for-9 from the floor and helped the Spartans overcome a 34-20 Rutgers scoring advantage in the paint. The Scarlet Knights also had a 42-34 rebounding advantage, including an 18-6 edge on offensive glass that led to a 15-4 margin on second chance points.

“Fighting Rocks, I mean very physical, very tough matches. Crunching games. We get a little better at that,” said Izzo. “But I’m glad we won and we’re all on our butts.”

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Clifford Omoroi had 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Paul Mulcahy had 12 and Caleb McConnell had 11 for Rutgers (13-6, 5-3). Leading scorer Cam Spencer went 3-for-14 and scored eight points, missing seven consecutive three-pointers before hitting a single point late on. The Scarlet Knights made just 34.4% of their shots.

From slow to sizzling

as they did in Monday’s 64-63 loss to Purduewhich built an early 24-11 lead, gave the Spartans another bad start.

They did it this time by being hit on the inside and on the boards by the Scarlet Knights, who got a pair of Omoruyi to start the game and hit 6 of 12 shots to build a 14-5 lead in the first 6:03. Rutgers took an 8-3 advantage on the Cup early, capped by a three-point play by the Mawot Mag in the first media timeout.

Immediately after, Walker hit a 3-pointer right after to shoot a 12-2 run that was capped off by another Hoggard 3, with a pair of neat Kohler runs into the sandwich between. It was that outdoor shooting that set the tone for how MSU got back into the game and beat the Scarlet Knights advantage built in the paint.

Walker scored six straight points on a traditional three-point game and his second pointer before scoring his second error and sitting out the final 5:46.

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Hoggard handed it to McConnell, who took it in transition for a layup that put Rutgers back by a point. But Hoggard answered with a powerful shutout stretch before the inning, hitting a deep 3-pointer 3:58 before the shot clock expired. Hauser drained another 3, then Hoggard set up Akins for another from behind the arc as MSU led 36-30 at halftime.

The Spartans lost nine second chance points as the Scarlet Knights had a 10-4 advantage on offensive glass and a 21-16 rebounding margin at the break. Rutgers also had an 18-12 advantage at the post.

MSU made 7 of 13 three-pointers and limited the Scarlet Knights to just 1-for-10 from behind the line. The Spartans hit 7 of 10 shots over the final 7 minutes while Rutgers closed to 3-for-15 in the last 8 minutes.

“I thought we got some good looks, and they made it hard for us too, sometimes,” Scarlet Knights coach Steve Bickel said. “We really had to attack the trophy as a secondary way to score… I don’t know if they’ve hit the ball better than 3 this season. They’ve made 3s, we haven’t.”

within the game

MSU’s recovery problems remained after halftime, as the Crimson Knights grabbed four offensive boards on their first possession of the second half that ended in an Omoruyi fumble and a touchdown.

Re-substituting starting center Maddy Sissoko, Koehler quickly got on the defensive plate and then finished inside with a throwing ball at the other end. And Izzo went with Koehler and Carson Cooper alongside fellow rookie guard Trey Holloman during one stint, getting solid defense and rebounding during that span of his senior youth.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Koehler clocked a career-high of 23 minutes, 23 seconds; He’s only played 13 minutes in MSU’s past three games against Wisconsin, Illinois, and Purdue.

“Being with my teammates made us want to be on the field more,” said Koehler, who added a career-best three shots.

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Rutgers cut a two-point lead on two free throws by Omoroi after Hauser’s third foul, but Akins grabbed an offensive board at the other end and then kicked it to Holloman, whose lopsided pass found Sissoko to punt the ball. .

After Walker waved a 3-pointer by Rutgers’ sly call before the shot that had Breslin bouncing on first, Akins got a steal from Mulcahy and took it along the court for a two-handed dunk that once again sent the crowd into hysteria and the Scarlet Knights demanded a timeout.

The MSU defense got two stops, Kohler’s base jumper and Hoggard’s third-pointer to build their lead back to 50-41 with 11:06 remaining. The Spartans continued to stifle Rutgers shooters, as Spencer missed three 3-point attempts as the Scarlet Knights were 0-for-6 from deep after halftime until Spencer hit one with 10.8 seconds left and the score was decided.

Hoggard finished with seven tackles but committed four of MSU’s 10 turnovers. Akins stuffed the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists, a career-high four assists and a block. The Spartans had 19 assists on 26 baskets, while trailing only 12 three-pointers in wins over Villanova and Portland back in November.

“It was like when we made shots,” said Walker, who went 3-for-5 from deep and just 4-for-10 overall on Thursday. “It was one person who was going to call the shots and nobody else was going to do it. Today, everybody called the shots.”

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @employee.

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