Sophomore guard AJ Hoggard He is a riot of energy whenever he steps onto the court for Michigan State. His constant chattering and foot on the pedal mentality are a welcome change of pace at MSU’s courtside.
Hoggard stood in silence today after back-to-back layups pushed MSUs lead into double-digits for first time in second half against Michigan. The crowd in Breslin Center poured in deafening cheers.
Michigan State enjoyed a decisive homecourt advantage for the first time in almost two years thanks to the constant, loud support from the stands. As the Spartans started to build a lead, the crowd noise continued to increase in decibels. Hoggard was unable to stop the pressure from reaching boiling point, and the game entered its first media timeout.
It was something that you live for, Hoggard stated. He finished with his first ever career double-double (11 assists, 10 points) Being a basketball player is something you long to be a part. Being a basketball player since a young age has been fun. It is also fun to be able to compete against other players. It was great fun. It was exciting to see them get excited after a pass, so it got me going a bit.
The energy level in the building soared to an uncontrollable height during the second period, when Michigan State extended its lead from four points at the half to 16 points at the end of the third quarter. The Izzone roared with excitement after each hustle play for a loose basketball that went in Michigan State’s favor, each tough rebound, and monumental made baskets.
Just moments after Hoggard performed in front of the crowd again, the atmosphere reached a high point thanks to senior forwards Gabe Brown. Brown was left with 13 minutes to go and MSU up 13; Brown received the ball in transition following a steal by freshman guard Jaden AkinsHe raised the ball high above his head, and then he slammed it in two hands to score his first points of game. Michigan was forced to call a timeout.
The crowd, already excited, exploded. Every MSU fan, from the very bottom of the Breslin Center to the courtside, screamed and danced in delight as Michigan began to crumble under the pressure.
I feel like we did a big play every time. Senior center Marcus Bingham Jr. said that the crowd was there to support us and it kind of messed up with them. The Izzone was insane tonight. Even the fans at the top can see them going insane. I looked up a few times and saw them going insane. We are grateful to the fans for their crazyness tonight.
The crowd was again energized as they entered the next stoppage of play. This time, it was due to a 5-0 run by redshirt senior forwards Joey HauserThe game was won by, who scored 14 points. Hauser, who is no stranger to hate from MSU fans has walked into the huddle while the Izzone chanted Joey Joey to praise him.
Hauser said that it is amazing that they continue to support me. But, my job is to keep my eyes on the game during that time. To be honest, I didn’t notice it at the time. I know that my teammates were really out of control for me.
It took just a day for the Izzone members to make it happen. They began to line up outside the Breslin Centre’s turnstiles at 6:30 a.m., eagerly awaiting the first and possibly only matchup between the Spartans, and Wolverines, this year.
Tom Izzo, MSU Head Coach made rounds to the freezing fans and braved the 10 degree weather to get the first row seats in the student section.
The Izzone was quickly full as soon as the gates opened two hours prior to tip, and people were frothing at their mouths, eager to antagonize Michigan Head coach Juwan Howard, and the Wolverines.
Junior forward, the energy here was insane. Malik HallThe final score was 15 points and six rebounds for ”, he said. All the fans deserve a shout out. They were outside for a while and brought the energy. I couldn’t do that after being out that long in the cold. It did feel two years ago, almost like my freshman year.
Izzo had to wait for a Breslin Center atmosphere for a long time, even if it meant enduring the cold for a few hours. Michigan State was once considered one of the most dangerous places in the country to play due to its intimidating atmosphere. However, that fearlessness has diminished over the past half-decade for several reasons.
COVID-19 was the main reason that kept every fan away from the building during the 2020-21 seasons. To reduce the spread of the virus MSU, like most other teams, played in empty venues the entire season.
After a year of empty arenas, Izzo felt like it was the first time I had seen cardboard cutouts. Izzo also spoke out in front of sparse home crowds for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19 restrictions.
Izzo stated that we have never had such problems. Even a year or so ago (COVID-19), there were issues, there were difficulties. … It was good. It was great from a fan perspective.
The roars that echoed through the Breslin Centre were heard often and punctuated every major moment of Michigan State’s 16-point win. It was a welcome back to MSU’s hostile hostcourt to give them another edge in a game that they desperately needed to win in order to keep in Big Ten title contention.
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I love the place, I love the students, and I love it when it is electric like that, Izzo stated. I think today was a big win for Michigan State. Michigan State means the most to me.
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