Spartans pre-game ceremony honors 3 killed in campus shooting

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State basketball players wiped away tears as they stood side by side for a moment of silence before losing to No. 8 Maryland 66-61 on Saturday, less than a week after three students died in a shooting on campus.

“I’m really proud of us for just being there,” said Julia Ayrault, who led the Spartans with 15 points. “It’s hard to come back and play a game that feels so small.”

Diamond Miller scored 29 points and helped the Terrapins (22-5, 13-3 Big Ten) hold on to the win after leading by 16 points in the second half.

“We knew today would be extremely emotional,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Michigan State was one possession away from taking us this game.”

The Spartans (13-13, 5-10) rallied for a chance for an upset, missing after DeeDee Hagerman missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.

“They’re strong,” Miller said. “They are resilient. They didn’t stop. »

Michigan State players wore white shirts with “Spartan Strong” and the school logo in green during warm-ups while coaches, support staff, administrators, cheerleaders and the mascot sported the tops all afternoon.

“We all need healing and the sport can do that,” said Michigan State interim coach Dean Lockwood, who has replaced Suzy Merchant since she was in a car accident last month. . “We wanted this to be a healing event for our community.”

Victims and survivors were honored with pre-game remarks as sporting events resumed on a campus and community reeling from the tragedy. As of Saturday, four of the injured students remained in critical condition at a Lansing hospital and one was still hospitalized in stable condition.

The funeral took place earlier in the day for Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner while Arielle Anderson’s funeral is scheduled for next week. They were among eight students who tore down two buildings a third of a mile apart on winding sidewalks on campus.

Police say Anthony McRaea 43-year-old man with no connection to the school, entered Berkey Hall where evening classes were taking place and opened fire in a classroom, then walked about 5 minutes to the MSU Student Union and fired more shots before fleeing and dying from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot.

The union, which would normally be open on Saturday afternoons, had signs in the door windows telling visitors it was closed until further notice..

Red and yellow flowers were placed in the doorknobs at the north entrance and on the other side, a multitude of bouquets of flowers were strewn on the steps on a relatively warm and sunny afternoon. Near the Berkey Hall sign, flowers and candles were placed in a tree bed where Michigan State graduate Pedro Kuyenga bowed his head for a few minutes.

“I prayed for the souls of the students who left unexpectedly and sadly,” he said. “I have prayed for comfort to affected families, and for the knowledge and wisdom of hospital staff who are helping students recover.”

Streams of people also visited “The Rock”, a community gathering place that has become a makeshift memorial since the attack, and the Spartan Statue, where a sea of ​​flowers was placed this week.

The Michigan State men’s basketball team, which like the women had a game postponed earlier in the week, traveled to face rival Michigan on the road Saturday night.

The rivalry rested in a harrowing pregame in Ann Arbor, a long moment of silence was broken by the Michigan band playing “MSU Shadows,” while Crisler Arena was dimly lit with green and white lights from LED wristbands given out to fans.

The Wolverines and their student section wore corn shirts with Michigan basketball supports with MSU across the chest.


Maryland: Miller, the Big Ten Player of the Week, needs more teammates to shoot than they did on Saturday to make deep runs in the conference and NCAA tournaments.

Michigan State: Athletic director Alan Haller said he hopes the game, which drew an estimated 3,439 fans, will give the grieving community a place to gather after sporting events were canceled earlier in the week.


Maryland: Host No. 7 Iowa on Tuesday. The Hawkeyes handed the Terrapins a 96-82 loss two weeks ago.

Michigan State: Host Minnesota on Wednesday, the Spartans’ final home game


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