Recap: MSU beats USC, 72-62, advance to Round of 32 in NCAA Tournament

By Andrew Graham
Special to The Detroit News

No. 7 seed Michigan State is on to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament after a thorough second-half beating of No. 10 seed USC on Friday. There, Michigan State will face either No. 2 seed Marquette or No. 15 seed Vermont.

Joey Hauser led all scorers with 17 points, making four 3s on six attempts. Jaden Akins and Tyson Walker each added 12 points while AJ Hoggard tacked on 11. USC's backcourt duo of Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson struggled, combining to score 17 points while making seven of their 22 combined shot attempts.

With another win on Sunday, Michigan State can advance to the Sweet 16 and second weekend of the tournament for the first time since 2019, when the Spartans made the Final Four.

Final: Michigan State 72, USC 62

Final: Michigan State advances to face the winner of Marquette-Vermont on Sunday after a 10-point win over USC to open the NCAA Tournament.

:33.0 — After the teams traded two points, USC hits a desperation banked 3 to make it 71-62. Hoggard heads to the line for MSU on the ensuing possession, fouled by Ellis, who is now out of the game with five. Hoggard splits the pair and it's a 10 point game.

Michigan State 69, USC 57 — final media timeout, 2nd half

:55.9 — Ellis misses a 3, Hauser rebounds, is fouled, and will shoot two. He makes both and MSU leads by 12.

1:06 — Hauser, an 87% free throw shooter, goes to the line for a pair. He misses the first before making the second, ending the schneid at the line for MSU. It's 67-57.

1:07 — Michigan State gets a turnover from USC on a ball out of bounds, but with a tough inbounds look, the Spartans burned a quick timeout. Spartans have two timeouts remaining.

1:13 — Sissoko misses the front end of the 1-and-1. The good news: The next foul is for two shots. The bad news: The Spartans could be up by 15 instead of nine right now. Score remains 66-57.

1:24 — Hoggard gets back to the line for another 1-and-1 and misses another front end. USC misses a 3 and Sissoko rebounds with 1:13 left — he's fouled.

1:42 — Ellis fouls Hoggard and Michigan State is in the bonus. Hoggard misses the front end of the 1-and-1. Ellis has had a tough day, just six points and now three fouls. He averages 18 a game. Peterson, who averages 14, has just nine. Those two are 6-of-20 from the field.

3:28 — Johnson again from deep and it's a nine-point game all of a sudden.

3:57 — Johnson buries a 3 for USC and ends a 13-2 run for the Spartans. It's 66-54. Of note: USC doesn't have any timeouts left, while the Spartans have three.

Michigan State 66, USC 51 — media timeout, 2nd half

4:24 — Akins from the opposite corner for 3 and it drops. Michigan State leads, 66-51, and USC takes a timeout. The Spartan-centric crowd in Ohio is raucous as it's start to feel like MSU will be playing the winner of Vermont-Marquette later today.

5:16 — Hauser lets fly with a corner 3 that drops — his fourth today — and Michigan State takes the largest lead of the game, 63-51.

6:12 — A Morgan put back for USC ends a five-minute scoring drought for the Trojans and cuts the lead back to single digits, 60-51.

6:27 — Hall backs down his defender and makes a post turnaround to push the Michigan State lead to double figures, 60-49.

7:19 — Cooper misses both at the line and USC gets to cutting into the deficit.

Michigan State 58, USC 49 — U8 media timeout, 2nd half

7:19 — Cooper has provided great minutes off the bench for Michigan State today. He gets fouled trying to put back a Hoggard miss. He'll shoot a pair from the line after the media timeout.

9:18 — A Hoggard steal and layup in transition pushes Michigan State back to a nine-point lead and Enfield takes a timeout for USC. We head to a 30 second media timeout with MSU leading, 58-49.

9:57 — First possession back in, Hoggard gets going downhill and draws a foul. He heads to the line for a pair and converts them both. Michigan State now leads by seven, 56-49. MSU has scored five in a row from the stripe.

10:25: Akins is fouled on a layup attempt in transition. He splits the free throws and Michigan State takes a 54-49 lead. Of note, Hoggard is at the scorers table to check in at the next stoppage. He's been on the bench with three fouls. (Hoggard checked back in seconds later.)

11:19 — Peterson gets a two to fall and USC makes it 53-49.

11:30 — Hall makes both free throws after Izzo snapped a grease board in half with his bare hands during the timeout after a frustrated conversation with the officials.

Michigan State 51, USC 47 — U12 media timeout, 2nd half

11:30 — Hall is fouled going to the basket and will head to the line for two free throws after the break.

12:02 — Pace took a rapid turn for a few minutes, with Hall making a tough runner only for USC to respond with a Dixon-Waters 3. MSU leads, 51-47.

12:55 — A suspect offensive foul call on Malik Hall — it could've easily been a flop — had Izzo incensed. USC quickly turned it into two points on the other end.

13:21 — Johnson gets free in the lane and throws down a dunk for USC to stem the tide, slightly. Spartans lead, 49-42.

13:43 — Cooper with back-to-back roof-raising dunks and the Spartans are on an 11-2 run. USC takes a timeout and we head to another media timeout. Walker had a lovely assist on the first Cooper jam and on the second, Cooper cleaned up a Walker miss in transition. It's 49-40, Michigan State, less than four minutes after being tied at 38.

15:43: Akins misses the free throw and the Spartans get back on defense, leading by five.

Michigan State 45, USC 40 — U16 media timeout, 2nd half

15:43 — Akins with the bucket and a foul through a thicket of defenders. He's hyped, the crowd is hyped, and the Spartans can go up by six after the break.

16:31 — Walker gets into double figures with a layup — he seems to be alright after the spill earlier, and it's 43-40, MSU.

17:14 — Hauser makes his third 3 of the day and gives Michigan State a lead, 41-38. Ellis answered with a two to bring USC back within one.

Michigan State 38, USC 38 — back-to-back monitor reviews

17:26 — Ellis called for the offensive foul on the ensuing end, dumping Walker who stayed down for an extended period and remains in pain. He got his right elbow taped as the refs went to the monitor. It'll be a foul on USC and Spartans ball.

17:39 — Hoggard whistled for an offensive foul, his third of the game. And the refs head to the monitor to take a look and see if the contact was a flagrant or not, or a foul at all. Big moment and the common foul holds, no flagrant. USC ball as Hoggard goes to the bench. MSU fans in attendance are not pleased.

17:45 — Walker and Ellis trade twos, with Walker sinking a midrange jumper and Ellis getting to the rim. It's 38-all.

18:18 — White heads to the free throw line for USC and makes a pair, knotting the score at 36. Of note: Ellis is 1-of-7 for the Trojans. He's really struggled to find scoring opportunities against the Michigan State guards.

18:45 — USC with a pair of empty offensive possessions to start the half as MSU is getting physical chasing down loose balls.

19:37 — Hoggard opens the second half with a drive and converts the layup as MSU takes a quick lead.

HALF: Michigan State 34, USC 34

:03 — Hoggard responds with a post-up turnaround two in the paint to knot the score at 34 and we're headed to halftime. Morgan leads all scorers with 10, Hauser leads MSU with eight as eight different Spartans have scored.

:20 — Dixon-Waters makes a step-in 3 off the dribble to give USC a 34-32 lead.

:49 — Hoggard sprints down the court to beat the defense for a layup, giving MSU a one-point lead with less than a minute to play in the half. USC calls timeout in possession with about 30 seconds to go.

1:44 — A Kobe Johnson 3 gives USC its first lead since the score was 2-0. And while he still hasn't been scoring much, it was Ellis on the assist. 31-30, USC.

2:08 — A nifty baseline turnaround from freshman Jaxon Kohler drops and it's 30-28, Spartans.

2:23 — Kijani Wright gets fouled crashing to the rim as MSU keeps struggling against the pick and roll late in the half. Wright splits the pair and things are all tied at 28 a piece.

2:47 — We've hit the "floater" media timeout with nearly three minutes to play. Should be an exciting sprint to the finish in this half. Both teams have found some stuff that works on offense, only for the defense to adjust.

3:12 — USC is on a 10-2 run and Ellis has finally scored, a nifty left handed runner in the lane and it's a one-point game late in the first half, 28-27.

Michigan State 28, USC 25 — U4 media timeout, 1st half

3:48 — Morgan dives off a screen from a wide open layup and he's in to double figures as USC makes it a three-point deficit, spurring Izzo to burn a timeout. It's 28-25.

4:30 — Morgan makes it six-straight for USC from him and it's a five-point game, 28-23.

5:25: An emphatic Akins dunk in transition is an apropos response to Morgan sticking home a two-handed dunk off a smooth feed from Ellis. Ellis still hasn't scored but he's starting to get more engaged on the offensive end.

6:20 — Holloman with great on-ball defense forcing Ellis to give it up, but Joshua Morgan got a two to drop and USC stays in range, 26-19.

7:37 — Tre Holloman scores his first points in the NCAA Tournament and a two-point jumper kisses the net and puts MSU ahead, 26-17. A subsequent Ellis miss moves the USC lead guard to 0-for-4 to start the day.

7:52 — Peterson makes both free throws and the Spartans lead by a touchdown, 24-17.

Michigan State 24, USC 15 — U8 media timeout, 1st half

7:52 — A foul on Jaden Akins will send Peterson to the line for a pair of free throws after the media timeout. Outside of a few Dixon-Waters makes, it's been tough sledding for USC on the offensive end.

8:29 — Dixon-Waters responds with another two, keep USC just within striking distance. It's 24-15.

9:09 — Mady Sissoko slipped free in the lane and AJ Hoggard found him for a an emphatic two-handed flush. Michigan State is up by 11, 24-13.

9:44 — Hauser sprints off a screen and curls to the wing where he splashes a catch-and-shoot 3. It's 22-13 and Hauser already has eight points.

10:30 — Cooper makes the pair, and MSU closes in on 20 points, leading 19-11. Reese Dixon-Waters responds with a two point jumper for USC to make it 19-13.

Michigan State forward Joey Hauser (10) shoots over Southern California forward Kobe Johnson (0) in the first half of their NCAA Tournament game Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Michigan State 17, USC 11 — U12 media timeout, 1st half

10:30 — Carson Cooper is fouled on a shot attempt at the rim and will shoot a pair of free throws after the break. MSU leads, 17-11.

10:58 — USC gets off a 2-for-11 shooting stretch with a layup and it's 17-11.

11:18 — Walker shot fakes in the corner and gets past Peterson for a midrange two and the lead grows, 17-9.

12:08 — Walker with the basket and the foul. Attacked the rim off a switch and made the right runner through contact. When they're not pushing in transition, the Spartans are trying to attack switches in half court sets. Walker misses the free throw and it's 15-9, MSU.

13:32 — Hauser heads to the free throw line after getting fouled by Ellis on baseline turnaround. That's a size mismatch for Hauser on the switch and Ellis picked up his first. 13-9, Michigan State.

14:43 — A Jaden Akins two is answered by a deep Drew Peterson 3 and the margin is just two for Michigan State, 11-9.

15:35 — USC claws back a two, the broadcast notes Walker got hit in the face and had gauze around his nose and mouth. Refs went to the monitor but didn't assess any foul, and Walker is good to keep playing.

Michigan State 9, USC 4 — U16 media timeout, 1st half

15:43 — Michigan State leads, 9-4, after an AJ Hoggard drive and layup through traffic. We head to the first media timeout as the refs whistle a stoppage for Walker, who has some blood on his jersey. He apparently got hit in the face on the previous play

17:01 — A Tyson Walker drive leads to two points and Michigan State takes a 7-4 lead. Each team is still feeling the opponent out in half court sets, but MSU is also content to keep running.

17:11 — USC makes the first trip to the free throw line for either team, with Tre White converting a pair. It's 5-4, Michigan State.

18:18 — Michigan State takes an early 5-2 lead on a 3 from Joey Hauser. The senior is a deadeye shooter, averaging 45.6% from deep this year.

Michigan State wins the tipoff and we're underway. First offensive possession comes to nothing for the Spartans.


Michigan State (19-12) men’s basketball embarks on a 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzo, with the No. 7 seed Spartans facing off with No. 10 seed USC (22-10) in the East region at 12:15 p.m. Friday.

The Spartans met a disappointing end in the Big Ten Tournament, flaming out in their first game in Chicago, a 68-58 loss to No. 13 seed Ohio State in the quarterfinals. The Trojans had a carbon-copy conference tournament experience, getting bounced in the quarterfinals by Arizona State — the first game for USC in the postseason.

Guard play has the potential to shine, with each team featuring a backcourt duo of double-digit scorers. For Michigan State, it’s Tyson Walker and AJ Hoggard with 14.6 and 12.5 points per game, respectively. And USC has seniors Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson, averaging 18 and 14 points per game, respectively.

Following a Round of 32 exit to Duke last season, Izzo and his Spartans are, yet again, back in the dance. And for an MSU program that hasn’t made a Sweet 16 since a run to the Final Four in 2019, the Trojans are the first obstacle in a potential return to the second weekend.

Follow along for live updates from Detroit News contributor Andrew Graham.

NCAA Tournament East Region


▶ Tip-off: 12:15 p.m. Friday, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

 Records: Michigan State 19-12; Southern Cal 22-10

▶ TV/radio: CBS/760

 Series: Tied 3-3

 Next: Winner of No. 2 Marquette (28-6) and No. 15 Vermont (23-10), Sunday