| Detroit News
Over the years, a trip to Cameroon Indoor Stadium has generally caused misery for Michigan State. Taking the Duke several times in the Champions Classic, Michigan State, represents a loss for the Spartans.
Tuesday night’s No. 8 Michigan State 6-6 Duke, 75-69, won an ugly start to the knockout. It was Michigan State’s first win on the prestigious stage, the Spartans’ first win against the Blue Devils at the annual event, which also includes Kansas and Kentucky.
Rocket Watts led the Spartans with 20 runs (3-0), with Aaron Henry scoring 14 runs, five rebounds and five assists. Julius Marble scored 12 points as Joey Hauser scored a double-double, 11 runs and dropped 10 rebounds, while Malik Hall scored 10 points and 10 rebounds for his own double-double.
Matthew Hurt scored 21 for Duke (1-1). Jalan Johnson added 11 runs and Jordan Goldwire added 10 points for the Blue Devils.
The opening 10 minutes could not have been worse than Michigan State because it made only 1 of its first 10 shots and lowered itself to 10 in the beginning, turning the ball into a dangerous clip that would often stain.
But less than 10 minutes after Duke took the lead 18-9, the Spartans began to thank a spark from the chest as the Michigan State defense scored four points in a row.
Watts hit the first 3-pointer of the Hauser season before hitting two straight jumpers. When Henry hits a runner, DJ. After a couple of free throws to the Stewart Blue Devils, the Spartans started 13-2 with a 37-31 lead with 39 seconds left in the half.
Marble and Hall each scored four points, while Foster Lower scored three times. Duke’s Hurd hit a baseline jumper and failed to give Michigan State a 37-33 lead at halftime on Henry’s three long busers.
The Spartans maintained pace to open the second half, taking a 48-36 lead after six straight points from Watts, forcing a quick time from the Blue Devils into the game over 17 minutes. At the end of the time, Hauser nailed a 3-pointer from the corner, giving Michigan State its biggest lead at 51-36.
That lead eventually rose to 54-38 after Hall and Hauser hit three of four free throws, but Jordan Goldwire responded with a 3-pointer to pull the Blue Devils into 54-41.
Duke began to move away from the spot, forcing some turning points and starting to pull a couple of layoffs from Goldwire by 60-51. But Watts hit another jumper to extend the lead to 62-51 as Michigan State took a double-digit lead most of the way from there, with the Blue Devils missing a triple and MSU two free throws until the final minute.
Duke got five points in just 20 seconds to play, but Hall and Watts each hit a couple free throws to put the game on hold.
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