No. 12 Michigan State falls to No. 18 Alabama, 81-70, in Phil Knight Invitational

PORTLAND, Ore. – Michigan State men’s basketball led for much of the first half but fell back by five at the break and failed to catch Alabama in the second half en route to an 81-70 loss at the Moda Center in the first round of the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday night.

Senior Guard TysonWalker led for the Spartans with 21 points, four assists and three rebounds while junior guard AJ Hoggard finished with 18 points and four rebounds and graduated forward Joe Hauser ended with nine points and five rebounds.

Michigan State falls to 3-2 overall while Alabama improves to 5-0.


  • Michigan State was five points down (42-37) at the break, but Alabama used a 15-3 run to extend an 18-point lead (67-49) to Nimari Burnett’s 3-point lead with 9: 17 to take over the game.
  • The Spartans play without a senior forward Malik Hall and second guard Jaden AkinDidn’t give up, drawing to nine points, 72-63, on a knight from Hoggard with 4:02 in the game.
  • A pair of 3-pointers from Hoggard in the last two minutes took MSU down to 78-70 with 1:41 left, but the Crimson Tide would hit four free throws to push the lead back to 11 points (81-70) to close the rating down.
  • Alabama had jumped out to an early 8-2 lead after a layup by Noah Gurley in the opening minutes of the game, but the Spartans worked their way back in and leveled the game 10 after a freshman forward layup Jaxon Koehler at 12:23 p.m.
  • Trailing 11:03 on the block 15-14, the Spartans used a 9-2 run to take a 23-17 lead over a freshman guard knight Tre Holloman with 7:43 left.
  • The Spartans took their biggest lead of the game, 28-21, after a hookshot from Kohler by 5:41 to play.
  • MSU led by five points, 30-25, after a jump from Walker by 4:42 before halftime, but Alabama’s Brandon Miller scored six straight points as the Crimson Tide took a 31-30 lead.
  • A walker jumper leveled the game with 37-all, but Noah Clowney hit free throws with 33 seconds left and Miller hit a three-pointer with three seconds left to give Alabama a 42-37 lead.

Important statistics

  • The Spartans shot just 38.7 percent from the ground (24 of 62), with 33.3 percent (11 of 33) in the second half.
  • Alabama entered the game and led the country in rebounding, but Michigan State finished the game with a 42-40 advantage on the boards
  • MSU finished the game with a 72.0 percent shot from the free throw line (18 of 25) but missed four front-end shots in one-and-ones.
  • Michigan State has committed just 11 turnovers, but Alabama scored 18 points from those turnovers, including 12 points from seven first-half errors.


  • Alabama now leads the all-time series with Michigan State 2-1.
  • Michigan State has a record of 43-28 against Southeastern Conference teams…head coach Tom Izzo is 21-7 against teams from the SEC.
  • MSU finished the game with a 72.0 percent shot from the free throw line (18 of 25) but missed four front ends
  • Senior guard Tyson Walker notched a team-high 21 points, his fourth straight game in double figures and the 50th game of his career in double figures.
  • It was his second game with at least 20 points this season and the 13th of his career.
  • Junior guard AJ Hoggard had 18 points, his third double-digit game this year and the 14th of his career.


Michigan State will play Oregon in the second round of the Phil Knight Invitational on Friday, November 25 (midnight ET).


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