Steven Izzo scores first career points as Michigan State routs Rutgers

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Published
Jan. 14, 2024 3:38 p.m. ET

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Malik Hall scored 15 points, Tyson Walker scored 13 and Michigan State ended its two-game losing streak by beating Rutgers 73-55 on Sunday.

But no basket drew the roar of the home crowd at the Breslin Center more than Michigan State’s last basket of the game.

With the game in hand and 54.3 seconds remaining, fifth-year walk-on senior Steven Izzo, son of Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, checked in. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound guard had never scored in 43 previous regular-season games played.

Steven Izzo, son of Tom, scores his first field goal with a strong and-1 finish in Michigan State’s 73-55 win over Rutgers

With 36 seconds left, Izzo took a pass on the right wing from Tre Holloman, dribbled to his left, crossed over between his legs and drove 6-foot-4 Scarlet Knights guard Austin Williams right to the baseline. His high-arching floater bounced on the rim twice and fell through while drawing a foul. After being mobbed by his teammates on the baseline, Izzo converted the free throw for the Spartans’ final points.

“It’s the thrill of a lifetime,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told the Big ten Network after the game. 

“I love the fact that my players were probably more excited than I was.”

Both father and son were emotional as they exited the court.

Izzo then showed up late to his postgame press conference, apologizing for the delay and saying he had spent some extra time celebrating the moment with his son.

“I was most excited that our players and our fans cared so much about him that they made that more special for me,” Izzo said. “It was something I’ll never forget.”

Hall shot 6-for-9 and the Spartans finished 25-for-55 shooting (45.5%), including 12-for-25 (48%) from 3-point range.

Aundre Hyatt scored 14 points and Mawot Mag added 12 for Rutgers.

Following a 28-22 Michigan State halftime lead, the Scarlet Knights used the first five minutes of the second half to outscore the Spartans 12-4 and take a 34-32 lead on Williams’ layup with 15:20 remaining.

Michigan State (10-7, 2-4 Big Ten) countered 26 seconds later when Jaden Akins made a 3-pointer for a one-point lead. Mag gave Rutgers the lead with a layin with 14:13 left, but the lead was short lived as Hall threw down a dunk and followed with a three-point play to kickstart a 19-0 Michigan State outburst in a 4 1/2-minute span.

The Spartans led 54-36 until Hyatt made two foul shots to end the Scarlet Knights’ 5-minute scoring drought.

Rutgers (9-7, 1-3) hosts Nebraska on Wednesday as Big Ten conference play continues. Michigan State hosts Minnesota on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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