Michigan State basketball escapes from Minnesota, 71-69, on Hauser shot

EAST LANSING – Nothing was easy for basketball in the state of Michigan. Minnesota took care of that in its second meeting of the season.

Marcus Bingham Jr. and Tyson Walker were relegated to the bench midway through the second half. The Gophers continued to counterpunch when the ninth-ranked Spartans seemed to be gaining momentum.

That left the match in the hands of AJ Hoggard, Joey Hauser and Malik Hall. And they delivered.

Hoggard’s drive and saucer to Hauser with 0.1 left on the clock yielded a 71-69 breakaway against the Gophers on Wednesday night and the Spartans’ ninth straight win in their first game in a week.

And MSU players on the bench stormed the field to storm Hoggard and Hauser after the horn sounded seconds later.

“That was one of those weird special moments in a game where you really didn’t play that well. And yet you won,” said MSU coach Tom Izzo. “And yet they acted as if we had just won the national championship. And it was not the game, I think, but the situation. And that was pretty cool.”

Michigan State Spartans guard Max Christie (5) drives scores against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the first half of action Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at the Breslin Center.

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Max Christie scored 16 points with five rebounds and four assists to lead MSU (14-2, 5-0). Gabe Brown added 13 points and Walker had 10.

But when it came to grabbing time on the stretch, it was the unannounced trio of Hoggard, Hall and Hauser who took control.

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