Michigan State's Xavier Tillman, Rocket Watts and Malik Hall break down the victory over Seton Hall. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
Newark, N.J. – While Michigan State struggled with foul trouble and the size of Seton Hall on Thursday night, it appears the Spartans dodged a bullet on the injury front.
During No. 3 Michigan State’s 76-73 victory over No. 12 Seton Hall in the Gavitt Games at the Prudential Center, sophomore Aaron Henry turned both of his ankles on one play with a little less than five minutes left in the first half.
However, Henry returned to start the second half and finished with nine points in 24 minutes.
“I rolled the first one and when I tried to come down on this one I rolled the other one worse than this one,” Henry said as he strapped ice to both ankles in the locker room. “It was a weird play, but I’m all right. It ain’t the end of the world.”
It might have seemed like it if Henry would have been unable to continue.
While the offensive numbers were OK, Henry was Michigan State’s best chance at trying to limit Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, who scored 37.
“He did show some grit,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I told him that he’s got to play and I think he learned how to fight through something.
“I don't know how he will be tomorrow but tomorrow's another day. It’s not gonna get hurt worse it’s just that it was an ankle that wasn't, you know, was not doing good at halftime. I was pleased that he came out in the second half.”
Michigan State has gone up against its share of big-time scorers. In the season-opening loss to Kentucky it watched as freshman Tyrese Maxey scored 26 off the bench for the Wildcats.
On Thursday, it was preseason All-American Myles Powell who went off, falling three points short of his career best while playing with a bad ankle.
“It’s tough to guard a guy that has a lot of freedom like that,” Henry said. “He almost can do whatever he wants to do. That’s tough because he can go either way, but credit to him. He's probably the best scorer I’ve played. Probably the toughest matchup I’ve had.”
Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News talks about Michigan State pulling out a 76-73 win over Seton Hall behind 21 points from Cassius Winston. The Detroit News
The praise didn’t end there.
“Miles is one of the great players I've ever seen in college basketball,” Izzo said. “He seems to play hard. He seems to have fun. He seemed like a great kid, didn't talk a lot of crap. He just did it the right way and my hat off to him.”
Late in the game, Miles twice drove to the basket, drew contact, but didn’t get a call. Afterward, he wasn’t blaming the loss on the officials.
“With the ball in my hands and me being a leader and a captain, I could've made a better decision,” Powell said. “I'm not going to blame it on the refs.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks about the Spartans' victory over No. 12 Seton Hall in the Gavitt Games. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News