Couch: Three quick thoughts on Michigan State’s 77–70 loss at Nebraska

Couch: Three quick thoughts on Michigan State’s 77–70 loss at Nebraska

This season will be tough for Michigan State in the Big Ten if it can’t count upon its defense to go on the road. The 77–70 loss at Nebraska on Sunday night gave us a taste of what that scenario might be like.

Yes, the Huskers deserved a good night of shooting at home. But MSU gave up too many looks that could have been made, too many good shooters who got going, and too a lot backdoor buckets.

The Huskers had a little more to offer in a game between two teams that really needed a win to turn their seasons around.

Also, the fact that MSU’s two centers only scored two points and grabbed three boards in 25 minutes didn’t help. That was a big deal and still is.

They were waiting for MSU to do some good things, and they did them. After getting the flu, Malik Hall was fully healthy and played his best scoring game. He only missed a late 3-pointer when the Spartans needs a basket.

He scores 22 points, grabs seven rebounds, and gives out three assists within 34 minutes. If not, you’d like MSU’s chances. Late in the game, Tyson Walker made some huge shots.

As the game went on, A.J. Hoggard played pretty well. He scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, gave out three assists, and only turned the ball over once. The offense got going with Jaden Akins.

The Spartans had been patient on offense when they had some key plays, which led to good shots as well as points. They went on the attack in transition after getting buckets. This was a noticeable improvement on offense.

It helps to play Nebraska. After hearing all of that, I would still say that MSU won by about seven points because they made eight out of seventeen three-point shots, scored 28 points within the paint, as well as shot 44%.

Before Christmas, they were 0-2 in the Big Ten and 4-5 overall. On Saturday, they play sixth-ranked Baylor. They are in a tough spot.

No one else has shot better against the Huskers this season than 50% from the floor.  Not even Duke, Arizona, or Wisconsin, who all shot less than 46%. Nebraska made 10 three-pointers, 13 of 15 foul shots, and 30 points within the paint.

They’ve lost three out of their endure four games. They lost to Arizona, which was ranked third at the time and is now ranked first, and to Wisconsin, which is ranked 23rd. In between, they beat Georgia Southern 86–55 on November 28.

To start the second half, Gary stole the ball and scored a layup going the other way. This started an 11-2 run that brought Nebraska a 42-36 lead, which was its biggest of the match until Williams scored the last point with 25 seconds left. With 16:30 to play, Tominaga made a 3-pointer, ending the run.

After winning their first seven games, the Cornhuskers lost two straight to then-No. 15 Creighton and Minnesota.

Because the one thing about their game that was what kept them in the game failed them on Sunday.

On Saturday, MI State plays No. 6 Baylor at Little Caesars Arena within Detroit. In a week, Nebraska will not play.

On December 17, they will go on the road to play Kansas State. There were times when either scoring or Akins was very important for MSU to take the upper hand on offense.

One example is that in the first half, the Spartans only had Tre Holloman, Jeremy Fears Jr., Coen Carr, Mady Sissoko, as well as Akins on the court for offense. It’s not a good idea to run with that group for too long.

But while it’s open, Akins is the best choice. Akins made a three-pointer from the left wing right away and then score on a layup by swooping in from the other end on a fast break. This was after Nebraska made a basket, by the way.

The lead and MSU’s offense kept going with that group, which also had Malik Hall on the court for a while. Akins was a big reason for that.