Value City Arena
The #6 Michigan State Spartans came into Columbus and just like the football team’s visit they battered the Buckeyes 81-62. Granted this game had a wider winning margin, but the results sent a dagger through the Buckeyes heart, just like that legendary game.
The story of the night was the hot hand of the Spartans from three. MSU shot a staggering 64% from three (14-22) and 54% from the field. Bryn Forbes led the way with 27 points. Denzel Valentine added 17 points, eight assists and five rebound and Matt Costello rounded out the double digit scores with 16 points and six rebounds to round out the double digit scorers.
Izzo said of the contest that, “We made shots and in the game of basketball if you make shots it cures a lot of evil. We won a game, took a baby step forward. I think you have to give Ohio State a lot of credit. They’re depleted and they’re losing a good player. Thad had gotten this team to play defense. They died a little at the ends. They have been one of the better defensive teams the last five games. They rebounded with us. They just missed some shots.”
I asked OSU head coach Thad Matta just how good is this MSU team and he wasted no time to praise his rivals in green. “First and foremost Valentine is the best player in the country. He does so much and just his pace is great. He gets so many guys where he needs them. Thy run a ton of stuff, run it well and it’s simple. When guys make shots like they did, it’s tough.”
The Spartans had 16 assists on 31 baskets and won the turnover margin with only nine, while the Buckeyes had 11. MSU lead for 35:37 of the forty minutes and the game was a dominant performance over a well-coached, but young Buckeye team.
Izzo had high praise for Bryn Forbes, “The guy that played his tail off tonight was Bryn Forbes. Bryn Forbes bailed us out. Shame to feel like I do tonight when Bryn Forbes had a career night. Forbes was brilliant tonight and deserves all of the credit he will get. Forbes did a lot of things well and we probably played him too much as well.”
Make no mistake that Izzo is a master motivator. This late in the season with his team playing this well, Tom Izzo was going to find something to be angry about. He found it with a team that started slow and talked about why that happened?
“I have no idea. We had good practices. We did not go long. WE came out on the first three plays and ran them all wrong. This was disappointing for me. We didn’t beat them by 20; it was just a lot of big shots. I can’t name one big that played other than Marv. This time of year we will figure out what is important. One bad night and you go home.”
The Spartans improve their record on the season to 23-5 (9-5) on the season. The #6 Spartans will return to action on Sunday at the Breslin Center. That game tips off at noon and can be seen on BTN.