EAST LANSING — Max Christie made a strong first impression. Gabe Brown flashed some highlight-reel moves. And Michigan State basketball did what it should in its exhibition opener against Ferris State.
The Spartans blasted the Bulldogs with a 48-25 run between the midpoint of the first half and the 12-minute mark of the second en route to 92-58 victory Wednesday night at Breslin Center.
Brown led MSU with 19 points, while Christie added 17 in his first appearance in green and white.
MSU crushed Ferris on the boards 52-27 and shot 52% from the field while limiting the Bulldogs to just 31%.
Walt Kelser, nephew of former MSU star Greg Kelser, led FSU with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting. Vejas Grazulis added 10 points.
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EXHIBITION SEASON: Michigan State basketball ready for 1st exhibition vs. Division II Ferris State
Michigan State’s Max Christie moves with the ball against Ferris State during the first half on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Christie, a five-star recruit from suburban Chicago, went beyond his advance billing as an outside shooter. In fact, the freshman only took three 3-pointers (and made one) while finishing 5-for-7 from the field.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Christie twice elevated for dunks with fouls preventing him from completing them. He looked springy and quick off the floor, and had the ability to drive the lane and score in traffic. Christie also showed good speed on defense, with three steals, and a willingness to mix it up in the paint, with four rebounds.
Michigan State’s Marcus Bingham Jr. dunks against Ferris State during the first half on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Brown, a senior captain, put together an efficient performance and showed off his athletic prowess with a driving baseline dunk and a put-back jam off a missed shot.
The 6-8, 215-pound Brown went 7-for-9 from the field and connected on three of his four 3-point attempts. He added four rebounds and a soaring block-from-behind in the first half.
Izzo went with a starting group of Tyson Walker at point guard, Christie at shooting guard, Brown on the wing and Joey Hauser and Marcus Bingham Jr. at forward. His first three off the bench weren’tsurprising, with point guard A.J. Hoggard spelling Walker and Malik Hall and Julius Marble subbing for Hauser and Bingham in the post. Jaden Akins also had a lengthy run in the first half as the ninth member of the playing group, with sophomore forward Mady Sissoko and Pierre Brooks II getting short stints.
Izzo experimented with combinations throughout, from three-guard looks to a four-forward set to running with point guards Walker and Hoggard as his backcourt.
Hoggrd added five points and four assists. Hauser finished with nine points and six rebounds, Bingham had eight points in 16 minutes, and Hall added eight points and five rebounds.
Michigan State’s Pierre Brooks looks to pass against Ferris State during the first half on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
It was the first MSU experience for Walker, a junior transfer from Northeastern, and freshmen Christie, Akins and Brooks.
Walker committed a turnover and foul in his first 41 seconds but quickly settled down and showed his ability to run the offense in the halfcourt and take defenders off the dribble. The 6-foot, 175-pounder finished with six points on 3-for-4 shooting, five assists, three rebounds and three steals; he showed the ability to push the ball and score in transition.
Akins displayed defensive tenacity and, like Christie, a willingness to attack the offensive and defensive glass. The 6-4 combo guard had three points on 1-for-6 shooting but grabbed three rebounds and blocked a shot in the paint.
Brooks started shaky early but eased into the flow in a more extended stretch in the second half. He hit a 3-pointer and set up an alley-oop dunk for Sissoko.
The Spartans close their exhibition season Nov. 4 against Grand Valley State (7 p.m./BTN+). They open the regular season Nov. 9 against No. 3 Kansas in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York. Tipoff for that is 7 p.m. on ESPN.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State basketball’s Max Christie, Gabe Brown wow in 92-58 win