Michigan State Survives Portland and Wins PKI Finals

Michigan State survived an early gunfire and late assault on Sunday to hobble with a winning record from Portland.

The Spartans came back from 10 points behind in the second half and held up late on Sunday afternoon in their last game of the Phil Knight Invitational to beat Portland 78-77.

Michigan State led by 10 points with less than two minutes to go but gave up a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left, then turned the ball over and immediately gave up another 3-pointer to see their lead to one increased shrank.

But after Pierre Brooks missed a jumper with 10 seconds left, Portland missed a shot at the rim in the closing seconds as Michigan State went by one.

The Spartans ended the four-day, three-game tournament with a 2-1 record. After falling to 18th-ranked Alabama on Thursday, the Spartans recorded victories over Oregon and Portland and finished fifth in the eight-team PKI.

Michigan State played the tightest part of its season schedule without two of its top players, Malik Hall and Jaden Akins, both of whom suffered foot injuries and were out late Friday.

This exhausted Spartans group rallied Sunday after an early gunfire from the pilots, who were playing at their home gym.

Portland made nine 3-pointers in the first half and had an eight-point lead at the break. Michigan State lost a few shooters for open 3s, but the Pilots also caught multiple shots from well past the 3-point line.

Michigan State kept up with their first four 3-pointers of the game but remained scoreless for more than three minutes late in the half as the Pilots, playing at their home arena, stretched their lead to as much as 10 points.

The Spartans came back into play early in the second half on a 12-point run marked by seven possessions: Mady Sissoko completed a lob and was fouled hard, hitting a free throw and two technical free throws, then AJ Hoggard hit a layup , which put Michigan State ahead by three at 5:09 p.m.

Portland stayed within six points for the next nine minutes before Tyson Walker resigned and hit a 3-pointer late in the shot clock and freshman Tre Holloman ran up from the free-throw line on the next possession to give Michigan State an eight-point lead 6:04.

Michigan State fixed its early defensive problems, allowing just a 3-pointer from Portland in the first 18 minutes of the second half before late anxiety set in.

The Spartans had a few brands of their own now. Brooks went 4-on-4 from 3-point range and had 15 points on just seven shots, marking his second straight 15-point game.

Joey Hauser continued his 18-on-10 game against Oregon with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists against the Pilots.

Tyson Walker scored 10 in the second half and 16 for the game to lead Michigan State down the stretch. And Hoggard overcame two early turnovers (and an early bench spot) to have 12 points and nine assists with five turnovers.

Sissoko also finished in double digits with 11, giving all five Spartans starters double digits.

The Spartans are now getting little rest ahead of their next Test: a trip to play Notre Dame in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge match on Wednesday.