We just didnt have enough, Izzo says on Michigan State basketballs loss to Duke – Detroit Free Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. — They all had their moments all season. And as Michigan State basketball tried to claw back Sunday night against Duke, they each took turns delivering big plays.

Gabe Brown bombing away from outside. A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker attacking from the top. Marcus Bingham Jr. playing perhaps the most passionate and possessed stretch of his career.

In the end, the seventh-ranked Spartans ran out of answers against the talent-rich Blue Devils. Instead of wilting — as coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team had much of the season — his players used their physical gifts to push No. 2 seed Duke to an 85-76 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Michigan State forward Gabe Brown (44) celebrates a three point basket against Duke during the first half of the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C..

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“We didn’t maybe follow the game plan totally, and some of it is because sometimes some guys are bigger, stronger, and quicker,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “And yet the job Marcus did and starting us off with those blocked shots, Gabe had an unbelievable day — hit some big, big, big shots — and Tyson coming off that ankle, him and A.J. did a pretty good job.

“We just didn’t have enough.”

The boosts came in waves.

Bingham, a 7-foot senior, attacked early and often. He drew contact in the paint and went 4-for-4 at the free throw line. He elevated for rebounds and blocks. He stepped out and hit two 3-pointers.

The result was Bingham’s fifth double-double of the season and his third in six games. He finished with 16 points and posted a career-high six offensive rebounds among his 10 boards; he also added three blocks and two steals. And Bingham also helped defend and pester Duke big men Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams in the paint.

“Just trying to do my best to try to help my team win…” said Bingham, who is the Spartans’ all-time leader with 168 blocked shots. “I’m proud of the guys. We all played hard tonight, I think.”

Michigan State forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (30) grabs a rebound against Duke during the first half of the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C..

Brown hit four first-half 3-pointers, including three in a row during a stretch in which MSU connected on deep shots on five straight possessions. The 6-8 senior captain scored 14 of his 18 points before halftime, helping pull the Spartans back after they missed 11 straight shots and fell behind by seven points.

“Once we settled down,” Izzo said, “we just kept battling back.”

It was when Izzo broke out the Walker and Hoggard pairing at the 7:15 mark of the second half that MSU reclaimed the lead for the first time since the midpoint of the opening period. Hoggard scored four straight, Walker drained a step-back 3-pointer and Bingham hit a pair of free throws in a 9-0 run that gave the Spartans a 70-65 edge with 5:10 to play.

Hoggard’s layup over Duke’s 7-1 center Williams with 2:50 to play would be MSU’s last lead, 74-72. When the 6-4 Hoggard tried it again on the Spartans’ next possession, Williams blocked his shot. Banchero scored at the other end to give the Blue Devils the lead for good, as they closed out with a 20-6 run after MSU went up five.

“I thought they reached down in Mike Krzyzewski fashion and did an unbelievable job of kind of taking it at us. We just didn’t have enough left,” Izzo said. “That doesn’t change how I feel about my team. We’ll grow from this, we’ll get better. I hope the people realize this program is here to stay, because today was probably a helluva game for TV. A helluva game.”

Hoggard and Walker, a sophomore and junior, respectively, combined for 21 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three turnovers. Freshmen guard Max Christie had nine points despite a critical late turnover — one of just seven by the Spartans — and fellow freshman Jaden Akins made a first-half 3-pointer. That quartet is expected back in the fall, and MSU’s backcourt appears headed in the right direction going into next season, with four-star point guard Tre Holloman also arriving.

Michigan State guard Tyson Walker attempts a 3-point basket against Duke during the second half of MSU's 85-76 loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Greenville, South Carolina.

“When it was tough for me in the beginning, they helped me out every day, keep talking to me, became my best friends,” said Walker, who transferred last offseason from Northeastern and still has two years of eligibility remaining. “I learned a lot, just how it is to play every day here. It’s not easy. And they showed me what it takes. Basically, what it takes to win.…

“I’ve never played this long of a season, making it this far. But to them, it’s not far enough.”

But Izzo pointed to the need for an offseason with his guards hitting the weight room to improve.

“Part of it is those bigger, stronger, better athletes taught us a lesson on strength,” Izzo said of Duke’s guards. “It’s not a typical Mike team, if you ask me. That is as physical of a perimeter team as I think I’ve ever played against him, and they just drove it, drove it, and drove it.”

Who’s back?

Michigan State forward Joey Hauser (10) makes a jump shot against Duke forward Paolo Banchero (5) during the first half of the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C..

All three of MSU’s seniors have eligibility remaining, but Bingham, Brown and Joey Hauser each went through senior day festivities after a March 6 win over Maryland. It remains unclear if any of them will return.

“It’s something for the team next year to learn from,” Bingham said after Sunday’s loss. “Coach has been here before. This gives them motivation going into the off-season to work hard and get stronger and just remember this moment so when they come back, they’ll be prepared.”

Hauser, a 6-9 forward, stuck with Banchero for long stretches defensively as the Duke freshman — a potential lottery pick in the NBA draft — finished with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting and seven rebounds.

It was a bit of a dip offensively for Hauser, who followed his career high-tying 27 points in the first round against Davidson by scoring just five on 1-for-5 shooting against the Blue Devils. He also had six rebounds and three assists.

“He’s a great player,” Banchero said of Hauser. “I knew coming in I was going to have to be on my ‘A’ game guarding him. I just wanted to be aggressive.”

How Izzo approaches his post situation will be intriguing, particularly with the added COVID waiver years for Bingham and Hauser and two scholarships that were left open this season. MSU returns junior captain Malik Hall, who went scoreless Sunday, and sophomore Mady Sissoko, who did not play. Jaxon Kohler, an offensively skilled 6-10 four-star prospect, arrives with Holloman in the summer.

On the wing, freshman Pierre Brooks played a little over a minute Sunday. Christie and Akins both can play there as well. And Brown cryptically appeared to leave the door ajar for a potential comeback.

“I’m sad that I can’t play another night, but it’s motivation,” Brown said. “It’s motivation for sure for next year.”

Izzo on Krzyzewski

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo hugs Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski after MSU's 85-76 loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Greenville, South Carolina.

Mike Krzyzewski’s career got extended an extra week with Duke’s win.

The Hall of Fame coach won his 1,200th career game and improved to 13-3 against Izzo, including 4-2 in the NCAA tournament. Krzyzewski announced last summer he plans to retire after this season.

“I’ll always pull for Mike. I think he’s done some things that will go down in the lores of basketball,” said Izzo, who has 666 career victories. “But you can remember this game in a lot of ways. My way of remembering it won’t be quite as enjoyable, but it will be respectful.”

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.