Michigan State Spartans’ shot by Joey Hauser ekes out last-second win over Gophers, 71-69

Minnesota’s Eylijah Stephens, left, looks to drive against Michigan State’s Jaden Akins during the second half Wednesday in East Lansing. Michigan State won 71-69. (AP photo)

EAST LANSING — Joey Hauser made a low-post shot with a tenth of a second left, lifting No. 10 Michigan State to a 71-69 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night for a ninth straight win.

The Spartans (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten) had the ball with 18.1 seconds left, and A.J. Hoggard drove into the lane in the final seconds to set up the much-maligned Hauser for the final basket.

“I was happy for Joey, and the players were happy for Joey,” coach Tom Izzo said. “I appreciate all the fans that chanted his name.”

Michigan State freshman Max Christie had 16 points, Gabe Brown scored 13 points and Tyson Walker added 10 points.

The Golden Gophers (10-4, 1-4) were very competitive throughout the game and had opportunities to pull off the upset.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo gestures during the second half against Minnesota on Wednesday in East Lansing. Michigan State won 71-69. (AP photo)

Minnesota’s chances to win were hurt when Eric Curry injured his left ankle with a minute left, putting him on the bench with 19 points.

“EC got the ankle pretty good,” coach Ben Johnson said. “I don’t know the extent of it.

“If Eric can go, Eric’s going to go. He’s a grown man. He’s kind of the leader of our team and he did a great job of showing that.”

Eylijah Stephens scored 18 points, Payton Willis had 15 and Jamison Battle added 13 points for the Gophers. Stephens made four free throws late, putting the teams in a 69-all tie.

The Spartans started strong, but couldn’t sustain success against a scrappy team.

The Spartans led 27-17 late in the first half, but they got sloppy and Minnesota took advantage to cut its deficit to three at halftime.

The Gophers scored seven straight points, five off turnovers, to take a 52-51 lead midway through the second half. Michigan State went ahead by six points a couple times, but could not put Minnesota away.

“I don’t think I’ve been in a game where you shoot 52% from field and 43% from the 3 and almost 85% from the line and could’ve lost,” Izzo said.

In the conference opener for both teams last month, Michigan State beat Minnesota 75-67 in Minneapolis.


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