MSU basketball uses fast start, strong finish to top Maryland

Once again, Spartan fans can let out a big exhale.

Michigan State jumped out to a big lead but needed a strong finish down the stretch to top Maryland, 63-58, on Tuesday night from the Breslin Center. The Spartans led by as many as 12 points in the second half but needed to come from behind in the final minutes to pick up the victory.

Michigan State couldn’t have gotten off to much better of a start in the first half, jumping out to a 15-0 lead by hitting six of seven field goal attempts. That hot start, however, would fizzle out with Maryland climbing back into the game with the Terps getting the game within five points with four minutes left in the opening frame. Michigan State would respond with a relatively strong finish to push the lead to nine points by the score of 31-23 at the break.

The Spartans would start the second half strong as well, pushing their lead to 12 points within the first few minutes of the half. However, from there things got interesting with Maryland going on a 14-0 run to grab their first lead of the game at the 12-minute mark of the second half. The game would go back-and-forth from that point on, with Michigan State hitting some clutch shots, free throws and a game-clinching dunk from Jaden Akins in the final seconds to pick up the victory.

Michigan State was led offensively by Joey Hauser (20 points) and Tyson Walker (17 points). A.J. Hoggard also came close to a triple-double with eight points, eight assists and 10 rebounds.

With the victory, Michigan State improves to 15-9 overall on the year and 7-6 in conference play. This victory snaps a two-game losing streak for Michigan State and helps boost their chances at continuing their lengthy NCAA Tournament streak.

Michigan State returns to the court on Sunday in a road game at reeling Ohio State. Tipoff from Columbus, Ohio is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on CBS.

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Story originally appeared on Spartans Wire