Michigan State helped its NCAA Tournament resume with a Senior Night win over Northwestern on Wednesday. After trailing 25-20 at the half, the Spartans put together a strong second-half effort to notch a 53-49 come-from-behind win.

Tyson Walker led the second-half comeback with 12 of the Spartans’ 33 points over the final 20 minutes. He finished the game with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-21 shooting from the field, going 3-of-4 at the foul line.

Malik Hall had a big night with a double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds, a career-high on the glass.

Northwestern had the higher shooting percentage (35-32), but Michigan State got off more field-goal attempts (60-51) and managed to make 1 more field goal (19-18) in the tight, low-scoring game.

The Spartans were strong on the glass, winning the rebound battle 46-35. MSU was boosted by 12 bench points to Northwestern’s 2, while dominating points in the paint 26-14.

It was key for Michigan State to dominate the paint on a rough night from 3-point territory (2-of-17). The Wildcats were 7-of-21 from beyond the arc.

The Spartans made it to the foul line twice as much as Northwestern. MSU made 13-of-20 free-throw attempts, while the Wildcats went 6-of-10.

Northwestern led for over 24 minutes. The Wildcats’ last lead was 46-45 at the 4:28 mark. Down the stretch, Northwestern made just 1-of-9 field-goal attempts.

Bubble watch for Sparty

Michigan State’s recent losing skid led to some mentions of the NCAA Tournament bubble. While there wasn’t a consensus, the chatter that was out there should be quieted by Wednesday’s win.

MSU was featured in the headline of CBS Sports’ Bracketology Bubble Watch, with Jerry Palm writing that the Spartans weren’t so safe after their recent losing streak.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, meanwhile, did not include Michigan State-Northwestern as a Wednesday bubble game. Lunardi references 16 teams on bubble watch, and he did not include the Spartans.

Either way, it’s a good win for Tom Izzo’s squad, with the Big Dance just around the corner. MSU entered the game at No. 22 in the NET rankings used for NCAA Tournament seeding.

Beating Northwestern improves Michigan State’s Quad 2 record to 5-4. The Spartans are 4-8 against Quad 1, 5-0 against Quad 3 and 4-0 against Quad 4 teams ahead of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament.

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