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Transition-boosted Michigan State out to stop streaking Stony Brook

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Michigan State has a lot of work to do before earning consideration for a Top 25 ranking. During the past two games, the Spartans have finally looked like the Top 10 team they were projected to be prior to the season.

The Spartans dominated previously undefeated Baylor 88-64 on Saturday, then handled in-state opponent Oakland 79-62 on Monday. They’ll host Stony Brook in East Lansing on Thursday.

Michigan State hounded the Bears into 21 turnovers, leading to 22 points. The Spartans then held the Golden Grizzlies to 36.5 percent shooting.

That’s the type of defense longtime coach Tom Izzo had anticipated from his highly-touted team.

“Our defense gets our running game going, and in the last couple of games, we’re starting to get it together,” Izzo said.

The Spartans (6-5) picked up the pace of late by getting their transition game in gear. They have 41 fast-break points in the last two games.

Tyson Walker, A.J. Hoggard and Jaden Akins combined for 36 points, 14 assists and just one turnover against Oakland.

“We’re all really growing together a bit now,” Izzo said. “We’ve got Stony Brook next, and we’ve not only got to figure out how to win a game, but how to keep getting better, because after Christmas, things get a little bit more difficult.”

The Seawolves (6-5) are coming off a 78-74 overtime win against Army on Sunday, their fourth consecutive victory. Stony Brook finished last season with an 11-22 record.

They have four players averaging double figures, led by guards Tyler Stephenson-Moore (15.9) and Aaron Clarke (12.3). They’ve also defeated Stonehill, Bryant and Norfolk State during the winning streak.

They’ll have a much taller task on Thursday against the re energized Spartans.

“Great win against an Army team that played at a really high level,” head coach Geno Ford said. “We’ve put a nice win streak together with some confidence heading into Michigan State.”

Stony Brook played another Big Ten team this season, falling to Nebraska 84-63.

–Field Level Media

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