EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan State Spartans bounced back from Monday night’s stunning season-opening loss with a 74-51 win over Southern Indiana on Thursday night.
The Spartans held the Screaming Eagles to just 14 points in the first half and SIU shot just 14.8 percent from the field in the half against a suffocating Spartan defense.
Michigan State used a balanced scoring attack with four players posting double figures. Tyson Walker led the way with 14 points. Jaden Akins added 13 points, Malik Hall had 12 points and Mady Sissoko posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Ten Spartan players played over 15 minutes in the game and no one played more than 24. Tom Izzo said that balanced playing time distribution was by design.
“You know and I know we’re not going to play everybody 20 minutes, [not going to play] 10 guys 20 minutes,” Izzo said. “We almost did that tonight for a reason. We’ll use a lot of that to see now and start separating the playing time a little bit more.”
After finishing just 1-for-20 from three against James Madison, the Spartans were just 1-for-11 on Thursday night. Tyson Walker knocked through the team’s lone three-point field goal with just over five minutes left. Izzo said the poor numbers from beyond the arc do not concern him at this point.
“I’m sure you’re going to ask me so I’ll ask you ‘are you concerned about the three point shooting?'” Izzo said in his opening statement to the media. “And I’m going to tell you I’m not because we did it all summer, all fall and shot the ball really well. You know, it’s just they didn’t go in.”
“They’re going to eventually fall,” added Walker. “We work hard on our shooting so we’ve just got to keep staying confident and keep shooting them.”
On the flip side, the Spartans were much improved at the free throw line. The Spartans were 23-for-28 from the line against Southern Indiana after going 23-for-37 against James Madison.
Up next, Michigan State will travel to Chicago on Tuesday for a top-five showdown against No. 2 Duke at the United Center. The game is a part of the annual Champions Classic and will tip off at 7 p.m.