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Feb 5, 2024 8:23 pm

Michigan State, Minnesota out to continue upward trend

Tyson Walker

Michigan State and Minnesota each will vie for their third straight victory when the teams meet in a Big Ten Conference matchup on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

Michigan State (14-8, 6-5) is coming off back-to-back wins on its home court against Michigan and Maryland. The Spartans have won five of their past six and 10 of their past 13.

“I think we’re growing together,” coach Tom Izzo said after a 63-54 win over Maryland on Saturday. “Sometimes, you’ve got to go through these kinds of games to grow together.”

Now, the Spartans will shift their attention to Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers (14-7, 5-5) are coming off an overtime victory against Northwestern, which followed a road win against Penn State.

Dawson Garcia scored 20 points to lead Minnesota in its most recent victory. Cam Christie added 15 points for the Golden Gophers, who outscored Northwestern 14-5 in overtime.

Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said his team seemed to improve as each game progressed.

“The second halves that we’ve had this year have obviously been good,” Johnson said. “They just know they’re going to play well. I think that’s just the bottom line. They know they’re going to get stops. They know they’re going to score.”

The Golden Gophers will have to find a way to slow down a Spartans squad that includes four players averaging double digits. Tyson Walker leads the way with 18.9 points per game and is joined by Malik Hall (11.6), A.J. Hoggard (11.5) and Jaden Akins (10.8).

Meanwhile, Garcia leads Minnesota in scoring at 17.7. Christie is next with 10.7 and Mike Mitchell Jr. ranks third with 10.3.

This will be the second and final meeting of the regular season. Michigan State pulled away for a 76-66 win at home against Minnesota on Jan. 18.

Walker scored 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting to lead the Spartans over the Golden Gophers in that game. Hall posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Garcia led Minnesota with 22 points. Mitchell scored 14 points and Pharrel Payne grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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