East Lansing, MI – After beginning the Big Ten season 0-3, Michigan State has quickly recovered with victories over Nebraska and Rutgers.
But Tuesday night's matchup was ugly on both sides for a while; however, the Spartans were due for an ugly win against a quality opponent.
More importantly, when shots weren't falling, Michigan State took it in stride, rising to the occasion and returning to its roots.
"I thought tonight, we played Michigan State basketball," MSU coach Tom Izzo told reporters in a videoconference. "We defended, we rebounded, we ran."
The Spartans held Rutgers to 31% shooting and 3-for-12 from three-point land, including an outstanding chunk of minutes from Malik Hall, who defended the Scarlet Knights star player, Ron Harper Jr.
And MSU outrebounded RU 45-25; credit redshirt junior Joey Hauser with 14 boards and nine points.
"That was a total team win, and it was needed," Izzo said. "It was really needed to win a game the way Michigan State wins games."
It wasn't the best night for Rutgers, but MSU had a lot to do with it.
There is work to be done, but if the Spartans can lock in on the defensive end and crash the glass with physical/mental toughness – they will be okay while the offense figures things out.
"I thought we took the fight to them a little bit, which was very important ... the road doesn't get any easier but to beat a team like that the way we did ... I think this is gonna give us a boost," said Izzo.
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