Michigan State basketball edges Portland at PK85 event: 3 quick takes

1. Hoggard and Brooks picked it up just in time

PORTLAND, Ore. Michigan State took the upper hand in Sunday’s game against Portland when AJ Hoggard and Pierre Brooks decided to join the fight.

There was a noticeable increase in grit from those two players. And the buckets followed. So did the win — even if barely (78-77) — in the Spartans’ finale of the PK85 Invitational, played on Portland’s campus. There’s a lesson there. MSU barely survived this game. The Spartans needed every bucket and rebound, it turned out. They trailed by 10 at one point and led by 12 at another. They’d have lost if Hoggard and Brooks didn’t pick it up when they did.

Hoggard, who had struggled in the first two games of the tournament, finally took control in the second half Sunday, with eight points, six assists and just one turnover after the break. He started breaking down the Pilots’ defense, creating on the drive for himself and teammates. He’s the key to so much for MSU this season.

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