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Senior Day Success for the Spartans, Hoggard goes off

DeShawn Johnson

In the last game of the season for the Michigan State Spartans, they face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes as they look to get a win on senior day.

The senior day activities started with the Michigan State Men’s basketball team seniors dressed in all white for shoot around. Immediately following the shoot around, the Spartans starting five got a warm welcome as the stadium darkened, and phone camera lights went up.

The Spartans Hold Their Own

The Spartans, unlike the rest of the year, had a hot start on offense to start this game, with a little help from A.J. Hoggard and senior Malik Hall. Hoggard to start the game threw a slick pass to Hall for a big slam.

Hoggard and Hall proceeded to score the first 10 points for the Spartans, both hitting big threes early. Senior forward Joey Hauser decided to get involved hitting back-to-back mid-range jumpers, and the Spartans went on a 17-4 run.

The Spartans have struggled against teams with a definitive center, but with the Buckeyes’ smaller line-up, the Spartans were holding their own in the paint on defense and continued to deny scoring opportunities for OSU.

However, the Buckeyes began to find shots outside the paint and started to sink a few, but the Spartans responded with a point of their own every time, holding on to a 25-14 lead with 7:59 left in the first.

For the rest of the half, there was a bit of a pattern beginning to form between the two teams. Ohio State would close in on the Spartans’ lead, leaving the Spartans to find a way to extend it again.

After a first half of back-and-forth scoring between the teams, MSU would lead by nine going into the half, 34-43.

A slow start for some of OSU’s feature players, but freshman guard Bruce Thornton finished the half with 10 points and two 3-pointers. Highly watched guard Brice Sensabaugh and Forward Justice Sueing also added six each, but no threes yet.

For MSU, Senior Malik Hall led all scorers with 10 of his own points as well as two 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Jaden Atkins right behind him with nine points, as he hit some big threes early.

The Action Continues

Both teams didn’t hesitate to bring the action at the start of the second half, in the first three minus a combined total of 17 points were scored between both teams. MSU would hold onto their lead through this, 50-44, with 17:15 left.

Sensabaugh is the main reason for that early tandem on OSU’s side with two more 3-pointers, scoring six of the first 12 of OSU’s second-half points.

Tyson Walker would get things going for the Spartan in the second half. With 12:36 left, he scored his third bucket of the half as the Spartans went on a 11-4 run as they tried to run away with their lead and this game.

The Buckeyes weren’t just going to let this happen though, and soon the first-half pattern returned. Ohio State would find themselves closing in on the lead with a three to cut the lead to single digits, and then the Spartans would respond with a basket of their own, once again leaving the lead just out of reach for OSU.

After a few minutes of repeating the pattern, things finally changed for OSU. Thornton hits a big three coming off of a screen from Brice Sensabugh to cut the Spartan lead to just three. 67-64, with 5:26 left in the game.

With 5:00 left to go, Tyson Walker decided to show off his handle and finish, taking the ball between two defenders and driving to the hoop. This, followed by a couple of free throws for Hoggard, pushed the Spartans to a six-point lead.

A Junior Gets the Win

Somehow on senior day, it would be a junior to get the last say. Hoggard would drive the ball up the middle and finish with some finesse to get the Spartans over the hump and win the game 84-78.

Michigan State finishes the regular season with its 80th win over OSU, and the season totaling out at 19-11.

Junior Guard A.J. Hoggard would lead all scorers with 23 points, and he also had 7 assists. He would be one of five players to finish with double digits (Joey Hauser, Malik Hall, Tyson Walker, A.J Hoggard and Jaden Atkins).

After the game, players and other seniors were given a ceremony as this will be the final regular season game of their college careers. Head coach Tom Izzo was there to congratulate each senior manager and player.

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