EAST LANSING, Mi. (WLNS) – For the first time since March 8, 2020, when Michigan State took down Ohio State to win the Big Ten title, fans were back inside the Breslin Center to watch MSU.
The Spartans opened a new campaign with an exhibition against Division II’s Ferris State, a program that won a national championship in 2018.
There’s a lot of connections between the two programs: MSU senior Marcus Bingham Junior’s brother, Mykel, is a freshman on the Bulldog’s roster and grad transfer, from Ferris State, Michael Peterson’s brother, Mitchell, is a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs.
As for the game, Joey Hauser is rocking a new number as well as a newfound confidence. The redshirt senior, who’s now wearing No. 10, led the Spartans with eight points at halftime, helping MSU take a 15 point lead into halftime.
Gabe Brown was right behind Hauser with seven points in the first half, and once the second half got rolling Brown came out with his hair on fire. The senior scored 12 points in the second half, four via two thunderous dunks, and led MSU with 19 points.
“He runs the lane as good as anybody,” Izzo said after the game. “He’s improving defensively. It’ll be fun if him and, probably, Max prove that shooters can guard somebody. That’s usually an oxymoron, a little bit, it’s illegal for a shooter. The tipped dunk was a big deal to us because he hasn’t been a guy that’s gone to the offensive board.”
As impressive as Brown was, it was the freshman Christie that left Izzo’s jaw on the floor. Christie finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Being a McDonald’s All-American in high school, Izzo knew Christe was a good shooter but he wasn’t aware of the aggressiveness Cristie plays with.
“I got to admit, he was a lot more aggressive, but he’s been more aggressive in practice and I think it was one of the good things that happened,” Izzo said. “I liked the fact that he was in there getting his nose bloody. That was probably one of the things people didn’t see in Max Christie. Even I was impressed with that. Which means, here’s a kid who looked at his weaknesses and said that’s not going to be a weakness. All summer he was great. For a first game, he impressed his coach.”
“That boy can get baskets,” Brown said about Christie postgame. “He knows how to play basketball. He does a good job of doing what he normally does, good shots, getting to the line, getting to the basket, and things like that. He’s a very good player.”
Michigan State will play its second and final exhibition game at home against Grand Valley State, on Nov. 4.