East Lansing, MI
For those of you who stayed home to Christmas shop or enjoy the unseasonably warm weather you missed nothing. From the opening tip the #1 Michigan State Spartans dominated the undermanned and overwhelmed Hawks and never looked back.
12 Spartans played in the first half and 10 scored. For the game 14 played. Bryn Forbes led the way for the Spartans dropping in 14 points and adding three boards and five assists. Denzel Valentine had 11 and Eron Harris had 12 points to round out the Spartans that finished with double digit points.
Denzel Valentine led the way on the boards with 10 rounding out his double double. No other Spartan reached double digits. MSU had a decisive advantage on the boards with the winning edge of 48 to 31 while MSU shot 50% and had a mind boggling 25 for 27 shots that came via the assist continuing the Spartans unselfish play.
Izzo said of his teams unselfish play that, â€œ25 assists on 27 basketsâ€¦there was a lot of great passes. 25 of 27 shots come on assists and that should tell you about this team.â€
UMES head coach Bobbly Collins said of the #1 Spartans, â€œThis is a very talented team. With them leading the country in assists and team comradery and Denzel Valentine is the best team in the country in my opinion. I was disappointed with our teams fight. They have a lot of pieces. They can make a run for a national championship.â€
Tom Izzo was not as quick to praise his team. With a reunion of the 2000 national championship team looking on Saturday when the Spartans play Florida again right back here at the Breslin Center, he chose to critique his team.
Izzo said, â€œA little bit of bad. Thought we got out to a decent start. Give them credit they ran the shot clock down a lot. That hurt us so we tried to pressure more. The good news is that the party is over and the next three games get tougher and tougher. Especially Saturday.â€
The Spartans next game is with Florida on Saturday here at the Breslin and that tips off at 6PM and you can see that game on ESPN. It will also be a reunion to honor the 2000 national championship team. The Spartans improved to 10-0 on the season.