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Oregon, Michigan State aim for better defense in consolation matchup

No. 12 Michigan State’s emphatic begin to the season slowed considerably in Thursday evening’s opening spherical of the Phil Knight Invitational.

The Spartans’ loss to No. 18 Alabama despatched them into the consolation spherical of the event, the place they are going to face Oregon on Friday in Portland, Ore.

Michigan State (3-2) jumped into the AP ballot this week after incomes a hard-fought double additional time victory over then-No. 4 Kentucky on November 15 and adopted that up three days later by defeating Villanova.

On Thursday, the Spartans led by as many as seven factors in the primary half, however the Crimson Tide cemented management with a 17-4 run early in the second half to increase their result in 18 en path to an 81-70 win .

You might say Michigan State coach Tom Izzo noticed the potential for a loss or two arising.

“When I watched some games yesterday, you just realize that there are a lot of good teams – maybe not a lot of elite teams, elite teams, but a lot of very good teams,” Izzo mentioned on the Monday earlier than the event. “And if you’re Baylor, you’re UCLA and you go into a tournament and all of a sudden one of them walks out with two losses in a row, so that tournament is going to be for us.”

Tyson Walker led the Spartans with 21 factors on 9-of-22 capturing. But undefeated Alabama made 44.4 % of its photographs in comparison with Michigan State’s 38.7 % and had 19 assists on 28 subject objectives scored, leaving some issues for the Spartans to scrub up defensively.

They will refocus in opposition to the Ducks (2-3), who, regardless of taking part in in their residence state, had been crushed 83-59 by No. 20 UConn earlier in the day.

Oregon performed the opening spherical sport with solely seven wholesome contenders, three of whom crammed comparable roles as facilities who had been 6ft 11 or taller. The remaining gamers had been helpless to cease UConn on the sting because the Huskies misplaced 17 of 37 3-point makes an attempt.

Newcomer 7-footer Kel’el Ware delivered 18 factors and 9 rebounds off the bench to hold Oregon offensively, however coach Dana Altman needed extra down the court docket.

“I loved his performance on the offensive end. I needed that same kind of bounce on the defensive end,” Altman mentioned. “He gave up some really easy shots in our zone and just his defensive awareness wasn’t as good as it should have been because he had a really good offensive game, the best offensive game he had.”

Ware was joined by 6-foot-11 N’Faly Dante, who scored 15 factors in opposition to UConn and leads the Ducks this season with 14.8 factors and seven.4 rebounds per sport. Add in 7-footer Nate Bittle (7.4 factors, 5.2 rebounds per sport) and you’ve got what Izzo described as “the greatest team I’ve ever seen.”

Oregon’s Bigs will face off in opposition to Michigan State ahead Joey Hauser and middle Mady Sissoko, who’re taking part in deep down. Before Thursday, Hauser led Michigan State with 14.0 ppg whereas Sissoko averaged 8.8 factors and a team-high 6.5 rebounds. Alabama held Hauser and Sissoko to a mixed 2 for 9 from the ground for 13 factors.

– Field stage media

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