After a thrilling double-overtime victory over No. 4 Kentucky, Michigan State will face another stiff challenge when it battles Villanova in the Gavitt Tipoff Games on Friday at East Lansing, Mich.
The Spartans (2-1) committed 18 turnovers but none in either overtime as they outlasted the Wildcats 86-77 on Tuesday in the Champions Classic at Indianapolis.
Joey Hauser led the way with 23 points and Malik Hall added 20 to lead four players in double figures.
“I’m happy for him” Hall said of Hauser. “I’ve been a big fan of Joey’s since he first got here. I love the way he plays, and I love his shot and I’m just really happy that he’s kind of floating into his own.”
No matter what transpires against Villanova, Michigan State appears to be heading back to the Top 25 in due time. Both teams sit just outside the Top 25.
“There’s a lot of guys I’m happy for because they’ve kind of withstood the test of time,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “They didn’t decide to transfer, quit, they stayed in it. And you know what? They got something they deserved, at least for one night. We’ll see if we can continue that.”
Villanova (2-1) has scuffled a bit in the Kyle Neptune era with a win over La Salle, a four-point loss to Temple and a 10-point victory over Delaware State, which won only two games last season.
Neptune replaced head coach Jay Wright, who won more than 500 games and two national championships in 21 seasons.
Villanova has played without Justin Moore (Achilles) and Cam Whitmore (right thumb), although Whitmore has been practicing and could be close to making his highly-anticipated debut.
“We have a young team. We’re a work in progress,” Neptune said after a 60-50 win over Delaware State on Monday, when the Wildcats missed all 16 shots from 3-point territory in the first half. “I was proud of the guys’ resiliency and the way they fought tonight.”
Eric Dixon paced the Wildcats with 17 points.
“When you’re making shots, it’s easy,” Dixon said. “When you’re not making shots, you’ve got to band together and come together to grind it out. I thought we did a good job of that.”
–Field Level Media