Michigan State Upset 55-53 By the Syracuse Orange
Little Caesars Arena
The #4/5 Michigan State Spartans had a massive home crowd advantage against a team playing their third game in five days with virtually no or certainly limited depth. And they were upset by the Syracuse Orange 55-53.
If you would have looked at the Syracuse stat sheet you would have been certain that the Spartans won the ball game. MSU held the Orange to 36% shooting from the floor and 13% from the three. MSU dominated the boards 51-30 and had a 75% advantage in bench points. But the numbers lie.
Syracuse despite nearly no depth held Michigan State to 26% shooting and against a team like MSU that loves to run, they matched the Spartans with a terrible two points off of the fast break. In the end, the Spartans got great shots, they simply couldn’t hit open shots and wouldn’t attack the rim to counter it.
It was a devastating loss for a Spartan team that entered the season with a national title or bust mentality. Miles Bridges turned down millions from the NBA to come back and the emotion was tangible. I was in the locker room in 2016 when the Spartans were upset by Middle Tennessee State. That was the worst locker room I have ever been in. Until tonight. Izzo echoed by sentiments saying, “I was in that 2016 locker room and that was the worst I have ever experienced. Until tonight. This one topped it.”
Senior Ben Carter played 23 minutes compared to Jaren Jackson, Jr. (3J) only getting 15. Izzo explained it saying, “He was in foul trouble the first half. And it’s different in the tournament. And the second half we just, Ben seemed to have a feel in there, which we knew he did. But it really was in the defensive end.”
Xavier Tillman played 22 minutes compared to Nick Ward getting 16. Izzo went to pontificate about the numbers for his bigs. “Not clutch; they played pretty well. It wasn’t that Jaren didn’t. It’s just that sometimes the youth — we did some different things defensively than we’ve been doing that worked. We didn’t jump those ball screens and stay up high on them. We kind of feathered them and made sure that, for the most part, Battle didn’t get to the rim. I thought we did a very good job on Battle, didn’t give up the 3s. We ran them off the 3s because we were helping with our bigs, and it was a bit of an adjustment for a couple of the bigs. And so we found some guys.”
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