EAST LANSING – For the first 10 minutes of the season, it looked like the state of Michigan was facing an empty arena after a disjointed off-season with an opponent only recently experienced was on the agenda.
But once it settles in, the state of Michigan has shown that the players are ready to take on bigger roles and keep this program on the Big Ten.
The No.. 13 Spartans easily sent Eastern Michigan (83-67) to the season opener on Wednesday evening at the Breslin Center.
Point Guard Foster Loyer was leading by 20 points and lost six 3-point points as he led the Spartans to a double-digit lead in the first half.
Loyer deserves the start of the widely acclaimed battle to take over the All-American Cassius Winston. He quickly showed the improved game that teammates and coaches rave about throughout the off-season.
Loyer regularly sank 3s from a distance behind the arch, taking advantage of the looks created by Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone defense. That pioneered a day the Spartans hit 12 of 28 3-pointers – and restricted Eastern Michigan to 4-on-20 shots from a distance.
Next to Loyer on that grid was Joshua Langford, who played his first competitive basketball game in nearly two years after two foot surgeries ended his last two seasons.
Langford missed his first three shots when he shook off all the rust, but recovered and scored 10 points in 21 minutes in the 21v8 shootout. The former McDonald’s All-American, who averaged 15 points per game prior to his junior season, had uncertain expectations but looked like a player who will make a significant contribution this year.
Transfer striker Joey Hauser overcame a below-average start in his Spartan career with five turnovers in the first 24 minutes of the game, scoring 11 points in the second half and 15 points in the second.
That was more than enough against a team from eastern Michigan who only made eight players eligible for the season opener, a game that only concluded a week ago.
The Eagles got involved with the state of Michigan early on when it came out with more vigor and the Spartans missed shots and made sales. In the middle of the first half, Hauser flipped the ball over after three ball possession to help the Eagles start a nine-point run and get two points ahead of 8:50 before half.
But the state of Michigan came out on hiatus and made baskets on three consecutive trips to regain the lead. That started a 13-point run with two Loyer triplets, and Michigan state took a 16-point lead at halftime.
Michigan state stays at home and welcomes Notre Dame at the Breslin Center on Saturday.
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Michigan State Spartans Men’s Basketball, Big Ten Conference, Joshua Langford, Michigan State Spartans Women’s Basketball, Tom Izzo
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