No. 22 Michigan State welcomed Chris Mack back to the Louisville sideline by burying a season-best 10-of-18 shots from behind the three-point line on their way to 73-64 victory over the Cardinals in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge Wednesday night.
U of L caught the perpetually hot and cold Malik Hall on one of the wrong nights, as he buried 6-of-8 field goal attempts and all three of his triples on his way to 15 points and five rebounds. Three Spartans joined Hall in double figures, while Marcus Bingham Jr. controlled the paint to the tune of 12 rebounds, nine points, three blocks and two steals.
Michigan State led by as many as 20 in the second half before El Ellis caught fire and make things at least somewhat interesting in the game’s final minutes. Ellis made an extremely convincing case for more playing time by knocking down 8-of-12 shots (4-of-7 from three) and scoring a game-high 22 points. Dre Davis (15 points) and Malik Williams (10 points, 8 rebounds) also turned in solid performances.
Both teams rebounded about the same percentage of missed shots, both teams were characteristically careless with the ball (19 turnovers for Michigan State, 16 for Louisville), but the difference was the three-point shooting. The Spartans shot 23.6 percent above their season average from three, while the Cardinals were a dismal 7-of-27 (25.9%) from deep. Particularly troubling was the duo of Matt Cross and Noah Locke combining to miss all seven of their three-point attempts
I’m not overly down about this one. The effort was there, Louisville just caught Michigan State on a night where the Spartans were as impressive as they’ve been so far this season. As long as the Cards keep playing with this level of fight, they’ve got a chance to become something. Also, we probably need to see a little bit more of No. 3 on the court.
Onto Saturday and the start of ACC play in Raleigh ... and then right back to the heart of non-conference play.