EAST LANSING – Max Christie made a strong first impression. Gabe Brown flashed a few highlight moves. And Michigan State basketball did what he had to when he opened his show against Ferris State.
The Spartans blew up the Bulldogs with a 48-25 run from the middle of the first half to the 12-minute mark in the second en route to the 92-58 victory Wednesday night at the Breslin Center.
Brown led MSU with 19 points, while Christie added 17 in his first green and white appearance.
MSU crushed Ferris on 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 the FSU with 12 points on a 5-on-13 shot. Vejas Grazulis added 10 points.
Christie, a five-star rookie from the Chicago suburbs, went above and beyond his anticipated billing as an outside shooter. In fact, the freshman only took three 3-pointers (and made one) while finishing 5 for 7 on the court.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Christie climbed twice for dunks with faults preventing him from finishing them. He looked springy and quick on the ground, and had the ability to lead the lane and score in traffic. Christie also showed good speed in defense, with three interceptions, and a willingness to mix everything up in the paint, with four rebounds.
Brown, a senior captain, put in an efficient performance and showed off his athletic prowess with a basic driving dunk and recoil jam from 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 sweeping block from behind in the first half.
Izzo went with a starting group of Tyson Walker at the point guard, Christie at the shooter, Brown at the wing and Joey Hauser and Marcus Bingham Jr. at the front. His first three on the bench were not surprising, with point guard AJ Hoggard spelling out Walker and Malik Hall and Julius Marble replacing Hauser and Bingham at the post. Jaden Akins also enjoyed a long period in the first half as the ninth member of the playgroup, second-year forward Mady Sissoko and Pierre Brooks II securing short stints.
Izzo experimented with combinations throughout, from three guard looks to a set of four running forwards with leaders Walker and Hoggard as their 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.
Other new arrivals
It was the first MSU experience for Walker, a junior transfer from Northeastern, and freshmen Christie, Akins and Brooks.
Walker committed a turnaround and foul in his first 41 seconds, but quickly calmed down and showed his ability to execute the offense in the half court and knock out defenders from the dribble. The 6-foot, 175-pounder finished with six points on a 3-on-4 shot, 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 glass both offensive and defensive. The 6-4 combo guard scored three runs on a 1-6 shot, but grabbed three rebounds and blocked a shot in the paint.
Brooks started shaking early, but calmed down in the flow in a more extended stretch in the second half. He hit a 3-point pointer and set up an alley-oop dunk for Sissoko.
The Spartans close their exhibition season on November 4 against Grand Valley State (7 p.m. / BTN +). They open the regular season on Nov. 9 against Kansas’ No.3 in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tipoff for this is 7pm on ESPN.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State Basketball’s Max Christie and Gabe Brown claimed a 92-58 victory