Spartans defense boosts Michigan State to halftime lead after slow start vs Duke
Michigan State is locked in another classic battle with Duke as the Spartans put together a remarkable first half.
It started in a rather disastrous fashion as Thomas Kithier and Joey Hauser each picked up two quick fouls. Those fouls were accompanied by some early turnovers as the Spartans dug themselves a deep, 10-point hole early on.
The half ended remarkably, however, as the Michigan State defense clamped down on the Blue Devils. Duke shot just 9-for-30 from the field and 1-for-9 from three-point range as Tom Izzo’s squad pushed ahead with a 37-33 halftime lead.
Aaron Henry is the leading scorer for MSU at the break with 10 points. Rocket Watts was the only other starter to score in the first half, pouring in seven points and setting the tone with an aggressive shooting stretch after the Spartans fell behind.
The bench was led by Julius Marble II and Malik Hall with the two forwards seeing lots of time filling in for Hauser and Kithier. The two combined for 14 points and 6 rebounds on 5-for-8 shooting and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Keeping Kithier and Hauser out of foul trouble will be key as Duke will likely put together a strong half after a frustrating start to the game, but it is really a good sign that the Spartans lead after such a bad start early on.