By: Matthew MacCormack
The Northeastern Huskies have earned the label “Giant Killers.”
Just a month after marching into Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT and upending perennial powerhouse UConn, Northeastern upset Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday, shocking the Spartans with a 81-73 victory.
After an MSU layup tied the game at 59-59 with 7:48 to play, Northeastern mounted a 13-2 run on the back of redshirt senior Alex Murphy (18 points, six rebounds). Murphy tallied seven points and a steal during the stretch, helping give NU (6-5) the cushion they needed.
Northeastern looked strong from the start, and went into halftime with a 36-32 lead. A Spartan run gave MSU their largest lead (51-45) at the 11:45 mark of the second half, but the Huskies clawed back. T.J. Williams (17 points, nine rebounds, four assists) and Devon Begley (16 points, six assists) helped Northeastern knock off their second high-major program this season.
Entering Sunday evening, Michigan State had lost four games in the 2016-17 campaign, all to ranked opponents. Only No. 19 Arizona, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 4 Baylor and No. 5 Duke had vanquished the Tom Izzo-led Spartans.
But cracks emerged in the Spartans’ armor. Sparty had trouble dispatching Oral Roberts and Tennessee Tech in a pair of home contests in early December, as an injury to superstar freshman Miles Bridges left Izzo devoid of his most talented player.