HONOLULU (AP)—Hawaii made a short side trip a long day for No. 4 Michigan State.
Matt Lojeski and Julian Sensley each scored 20 points for the Rainbow Warriors in an 84-62 victory that ended the Spartans’ streak of season-opening wins at 28.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Sensley said. “In the world of basketball anybody can be beaten on any night.”
Michigan State, the first member of the preseason Top Ten to lose this season, was hampered by poor shooting and leg cramps. The Spartans stopped off on Oahu on the way to Maui Invitational that starts Monday and will see them play three games in as many days.
“The good news is it only gets tougher,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “We fly out tonight.”
It was the biggest home win for the Rainbow Warriors (1-0) since they beat No. 2 Kansas in the finals of the 1997 Rainbow Classic. And the crowd of 8,802 got louder as the lead got larger.
Lojeski, a junior college transfer playing in his first Division I game, was 6-for-8 from 3-point range and his last one capped a 14-2 run that gave Hawaii a 70-52 lead with 6:03 left.
“It was special having this as an opening game and I just did my role,” Lojeski said. “We knew we had to come out and make a statement and we made a big statement.”
Maurice Ager had 16 points for the Spartans, coming off their fourth Final Four appearance in seven years. But he was one of four Michigan State players affected by leg cramps.
Paul Davis, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, left the game for a second and final time with cramps with 13:27 to play. Ager, Shannon Brown and Drew Neitzel all had to leave the game at some point because of the cramps. Brown had to be removed on a stretcher with 6:36 left because of the intense pain.
“He was cramping from his neck to his feet,” Izzo said. He was upset with fans behind the Michigan State bench who were booing and yelling for Brown to be dragged off the court so the game could continue.
“That’s the maddest I’ve ever been as a coach in college,” he said. “Let’s just leave it at that. If we won I’d have plenty to say but I don’t want to come across as a sore loser.”
Izzo admitted the Spartans had a chance in the second half.
“We cut it to six and then didn’t come through,” he said. “It was chaos, a MASH unit after that. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Davis said the players drank “way more” water than usual.
“Once it started it spread,” he said of the cramping.
The cramps so affected the Spartans that for a good portion of the final 10 minutes there were four freshmen on the floor at the same time.
“We’re not a Top Ten team with some of the lineups we used today,” Izzo said. “It’s your biggest nightmare to have the freshmen out there and they’re not ready to play at this caliber on the road.”
Hawaii led by as many as 14 points on the way to a 39-32 halftime lead. The Spartans got within 56-50 with 10:44 to go on a 5-0 run, but Hawaii looked a lot like Michigan State teams of recent years in response.
Bobby Nash banked in a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran out to start the 11-0 run. At one point, Hawaii missed three straight shots but kept possession as the ball went out of bounds. Offensive rebounding has always been a trait of the Spartans, but it was the Rainbow Warriors who came up with 27 second-chance points in this game.
“We just couldn’t get going,” Izzo said. “We just didn’t have the energy and they did with the crowd.”
Lojeski hit two 3s to close the run and the celebration was on for Hawaii.
Hawaii finished 10-for-24 from 3-point range, while the Spartans were 5-for-18. Ager finished 1-for-7 from beyond the arc and Brown was 1-for-5.
The win was the 300th at Hawaii for coach Riley Wallace and it improved the Rainbow Warriors to 2-0 all-time against Michigan State.
“I’ll remember this one,” Wallace said. “I don’t remember 100 or 200 but I’ll remember this one, beating a quality ranked team.”
The Spartans dropped to 10-6 all-time in the state of Hawaii and they have the three in Maui next week.