EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Foster Loyer made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 20 points to lead No. 13 Michigan State in an 83-67 win over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night at the fan-free Breslin Center.
The Spartans (1-0) closed the first half with a 26-8 run after trailing the Eagles (0-1) by two points midway through the first half.
Eastern Michigan had three players on the bench, and put just two reserves in the game. School spokesman Greg Steiner would only say some student-athletes were unavailable for the game.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the college basketball season by a couple weeks. It also affected Michigan State’s preparations because coach Tom Izzo tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.
Izzo isolated at home for two weeks, dating to his first sign of symptoms, and returned to his on-campus office on Monday. The Hall of Fame coach stood apart from a line of his assistant coaches and players during the anthem.
Izzo, like the rest of the coaches and players on the bench, covered his mouth and nose with a mask. Chairs for both teams were set up for social distancing by using two rows and wrapping them along the baseline.
To make the usually lively Breslin Center more intimate without fans, following the state’s stay-at-home order, a black curtain covered the upper level of empty seats. Pictures of fans covered bleachers that were pushed back around the perimeter of the arena floor, cutouts of spectators were behind the benches and crowd noise was piped in.
If there were fans in the stands, they would have roared with the return of Joshua Langford. The senior guard scored 10 points, playing for the first time in nearly two years due to his injury-riddled career.
Joey Hauser, a transfer from Marquette, had 15 points and nine rebounds in his debut with the Spartans.
Eastern Michigan’s Yeikson Montero scored 16, Ty Groce had 14 points and Darion Spottsville added 10 points.
Eastern Michigan: The short-handed team was very competitive for the opening minutes, leading 19-7, and can build some confidence off that stretch of the game.
Michigan State: Loyer earned the start over Rocket Watts at point guard, replacing Cassius Winston, and made the most of the opportunity by taking and making 3-point shots and leading the team.
The Spartans may move up in The Top 25 with another win later this week against Notre Dame.
Eastern Michigan hosts Toledo on Dec. 4.
Michigan States hosts the Fighting Irish on Saturday night night.
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