While the majority of its fanbase was sound asleep, No. 12 Michigan State played into the early morning hours and defeated Oregon, 74-70, on Day 2 of the Phil Knight Invitational.
It was a nice bounce back for the Spartans, who fell to No. 18 Alabama on Thanksgiving night. Michigan State was once again without starting small forward Malik Hall and sixth man Jaden Akins, but was on equal footing with a Ducks team that is enduring injury trouble of its own.
Here's what stood out from a nice win for MSU:
1.) Joey Hauser was a warrior
Joey Hauser clearly is not 100 percent healthy, but he battled through that tonight and turned in an excellent performance for Michigan State.
Hauser led the Spartans with 18 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting, including a 4-of-8 mark from three-point range. The senior made it a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds, while also contributing three assists in a well-rounded effort.
The 2022-23 season has been very "boom or bust" for Hauser. When he's played well, he's put up outstanding numbers this year. But, he's completely disappeared in a couple games as well. Fortunately for Michigan State, Hauser has been more "boom" than "bust" through six games.
Izzo has to be careful with the amount of minutes he plays Hauser, but at the same time the Spartans have limited options right now.
2.) Career night for Pierre Brooks
Sophomore guard-wing hybrid Pierre Brooks didn't have the most efficient of nights, but tonight was his best game yet as a Michigan State Spartan.
Brooks shot just 6-of-16 from the floor, including 3-of-11 from three-point range, and finished with a career-high 15 points. The sophomore added three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Without Jaden Akins and Malik Hall available, Brooks is being given a bigger opportunity for the Spartans. He's a solid shooter, despite his numbers tonight, but Izzo has said Brooks needs to improve his defense in order to earn more minutes. We're seeing some growth in that area for the sophomore.
3.) A.J. Hoggard, Mady Sissoko need to be better
Sissoko got himself in foul trouble early in this one, and not only did that put the Spartans in a tough spot with their short bench, it also took the junior completely out of the flow of the game.
For the game, Sissoko finished with just six points and five rebounds. Michigan State doesn't need him to be a prominent scorer night in and night out, but Izzo would certainly like to see him be more productive in rebounding.
On a related note, Hoggard didn't bring enough for Michigan State tonight either. The junior point guard has a lot on his plate, and he's seemed to be pressing in these two games in Portland.
Hoggard finished with nine points on 2-of-7 shooting, but he did make 5-of-6 free throw attempts. The junior added three rebounds and three assists, with three turnovers. After averaging over eight assists per game through the first four game, Hoggard has been limited to a total of four assists in the past two games, while turning the ball over seven times.
4.) Another strong night for Tyson Walker
I can't even imagine where Michigan State would be without Tyson Walker. Outside of a poor shooting night in the opener against Northern Arizona, the senior shooting guard has been pretty darn solid every night, and has been spectacular on a couple nights.
Tonight was another strong showing for Walker, who finished with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He went 2-for-5 from long range and added eight assists, two rebounds and a steal.
After struggling last season to balance when to orchestrate the offense and when to look for his own shot, Walker has settled into a sweet spot for Michigan State this season and is playing his best basketball right now.
5.) Assist-ratio, free throw shooting were both positives
Michigan State was very efficient on offense tonight. The Spartans shot 44.3 percent from the floor, and assisted on 20 of 27 made field goals.
Additionally, MSU only turned the ball over eight times against Oregon, which Izzo will be pleased with. The head coach often talks about wanting to get 60-65 shot attempts per night, and they were able to do that against the Ducks.
The Spartans were also able to ice the game with their free throw shooting, going 11-of-12 on the night, including 6-for-6 in the final minute. I know Izzo would like his squad to get to the foul line more often, particularly with how well they've shot the ball from there this season. That's still a work in progress, but Michigan State did enough to get the win tonight.
Michigan State advances to the fifth-place game for the Phil Knight Invitational, which will be played on Sunday, Nov. 27 against Portland.
The Spartans will remain on the road, but return to the Eastern Time Zone next week when they travel to Notre Dame on Nov. 30 for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.