Ann Arbor, MI
The Michigan State Spartans invaded Crisler Center today and got a big win 89-73 over their arch rival and extending their current winning streak to four. The Spartans record improved to 20-4 (7-4) and they will most certainly move up on Monday from their current rank of 10th in the nation.
The Spartans continued some of the hottest shooting in the nation. They shot 64% from three and 64% from the field. Denzel Valentine had 21 points, eight assists and nine rebounds. Bryn Forbes had 29 points and rounding out the senior attack was Matt Costello who had 14 points, eight rebounds 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
MSU dominated the boards 35-20 and had an unfortunate 19 turnover, but most came while substitutes were playing. MSU also had 18 assists on 32 baskets.
Michigan head coach John Beilein praised the Spartans afterward saying, “Obviously Michigan State is really a much better team than us. They are really an elite team. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life where you take their last six games, they were shooting 50 percent from 3. Now add this. And volume. Guys will shoot high numbers from 3, but not in volume at 60 percent. So they are really playing well. The adversity that they had earlier in the year when they had some close losses has made Forbes a better player, has made a lot of people a better player. They are better than us. They are more experienced than us. We can talk all you want about what a great performance Forbes had but he doesn’t get any of that stuff if he doesn’t have guys passing to him at the right time. Valentine was just a separator tonight. Valentine sees over everything. He’s like a couple of guys that we had a couple of years ago. They’re difference-makers. You just need guys that can shoot it.”
A vibrant and excited Izzo was on cloud nine as yet again he found himself on the winning side of another MSU vs UM battle. He broke the game down saying, “Well to say I’m ecstatic about the performance would be underserving what we did but I’ve also been in Michigan’s shoes. It seems like they’ve had a two-game stretch like we did with Iowa when we were down the whole game and you never know why. I thought the execution we had offensively really, getting Forbes shots and taking away Robinson’s shots and, for the most part, Irvin’s early – he got some late. But I thought early we did a pretty good job on him. It was a difference in the game. We got our break going, Denzel was awesome. He played so well and then he got a little tired and that’s my fault. We left him in there tired and I think he had two or three turnovers at a critical time. But some of the weird matchups with Deyonta playing on the perimeter a little more, we were worried about that. Give Deyonta some credit. I give Matt Costello – we actually did some switching that we normally don’t do with our center to make up for it and it really worked well.”
Here is a stat for you to consider on just how dominant the Spartans are in this rivalry. Michigan State has won 24 of the last 33 meetings vs. Michigan, including the last four in a row. Tom Izzo is 24-14 lifetime vs. U-M.
The Spartans will return to B1G action on Tuesday night at Purdue. That game will tip off at 7PM and that game can be seen on ESPN.