Bryn Forbes

Denzel Valentine
Associated Press

No. 1 Michigan State routs Maryland Eastern Shore 78-35

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Denzel Valentine had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help No. 1 Michigan State rout Maryland Eastern Shore 78-35 Wednesday night.

The Spartans (10-0) are off to their best start since the 2000-01 season when they were defending national champions and won the first 12 games.

The Hawks (1-8) had only one player score in double digits. Dominique Elliott had seven of his team’s 16 points in the first half and finished with 11 points.

Valentine and Bryn Forbes combined to score 17 points by halftime when Michigan State led 33-16. Forbes finished with 14 points. The seniors, who were teammates at Lansing Sexton High School, helped turn a three-point lead into a 20-point cushion in the first half.

After a 19-2 run ended, Spartans coach Tom Izzo still found a reason to be upset enough to call a timeout.

Michigan State more than doubled the advantage it had at halftime, building a 39-point lead with 8:53 left. When the Hawks cut their deficit to 67-33, Izzo called a timeout to send another message.

Eron Harris scored nine of his 12 points in the second half for the Spartans. Michigan State’s Marvin Clark scored seven of his nine points after halftime, looking as if he is returning to form after missing the start of the season with an injured left foot.


Maryland Eastern Shore: The Hawks hope to bounce back from a slow start against stiff competition just as they did last year. Maryland Eastern Shore won just two of its first eight games last year in coach Bobby Collins’ debut season, then finished with 18 victories and played in the postseason CIT.

Michigan State: The unselfish Spartans spread the ball around a lot to get many players shots. By the time Michigan State led 53-23 midway through the second half, 10 players in its 12-man rotation had made a shot while the Hawks had combined to make just nine of their first 45 shots.


Maryland Eastern Shore: The Hawks play a second straight Big Ten team, traveling about 130 miles by roads to face No. 6 Maryland on Saturday.

Michigan State: The Spartans host Florida on Saturday in a rematch of the 2000 NCAA final. Michigan State, which beat the Gators to win its second national title, plans to honor the championship team and expects players such as Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Jason Richardson to come back to campus for the celebration.

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No. 3 Michigan State romps over Binghamton 76-33

Denzel Valentine
Associated Press
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Denzel Valentine had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Bryn Forbes scored 14 points as No. 3 Michigan State rolled over Binghamton 76-33 on Saturday.

The Spartans (9-0) stormed to a 41-12 halftime lead, shooting 15 of 29 from the field, and holding cold-shooting Binghamton (2-5) to 4 of 31. For the game, Michigan State was 30 of 65 and the Bearcats were 10 of 60.

Valentine scored all of his points within the first 10 minutes of the game as the Spartans took a 21-5 lead. Alvin Ellis III’s 3-pointer late in the half increased the lead to 30-7. Eron Harris scored nine points of his 11 points in the first half.

The Bearcats didn’t reach double figures until just over a minute left in the half when Dusan Perovic’s 3-pointer made it 38-12.

Justin McFadden led Binghamton with 10 points.


Michigan State: The Spartans are off to the second-best start of the Tom Izzo era, trailing only the 2000-01 team that set the record with a 12-0 start. … Valentine set the tone for the game with a dunk off the opening tipoff. … It was the lowest point total against the Spartans since the 92-46 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Nov. 20.

Binghamton: The Bearcats trailed 9-0 before Everson Davis scored. … The Bearcats had the youngest team in the nation last season and still have 11 underclassmen on their 15-man roster.


Michigan State entered the game averaging a nation’s best of 22.9 assists. They had 12 in the first half and 24 for the game. Valentine entered the game averaging 8.4 assists per contest and had four in limited action against the Bearcats


Michigan State is among five schools currently ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 in both football (No. 5) and men’s basketball (No. 3).


This was the first-ever meeting between the teams. … The Spartans are 7-1 all-time against opponents currently in the America East Conference. … The only other time Binghamton faced a team ranked as high as No. 3 was Michigan in 2012-13. … The Bearcats are 0-11 all-time against ranked teams and 0-6 vs. the Top 5.


Michigan State hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday.

Binghamton visits Oakland University on Monday.

Don’t overlook Bryn Forbes’ contributions for No. 3 Michigan State

Bryn Forbes, Austin Cox
Associated Press
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With senior guard Denzel Valentine proving to be one of the nation’s top players at this early point in the season, the question for No. 3 Michigan State was who would step forward as a consistent supplementary option. Wednesday night another senior guard stepped up, as Bryn Forbes scored 20 points to help the Spartans come back and beat No. 24 Louisville 71-67 in East Lansing.

Forbes scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half, with Valentine scoring 15 points (25, five rebounds and seven assists for the game), shooting 4-for-7 from three against a Louisville defense that gave the Spartans trouble in the first stanza.

Louisville was able to use its length and athleticism in multiple defensive looks, as their press morphed into either man-to-man or a 2-3 matchup zone, disrupting the Michigan State offense as a result. Instead of exhibiting good shot discipline the Spartans hoisted up challenged jump shots, not breaking out of that habit until the latter stages of the half. That was good enough to trim Louisville’s margin to three, but they needed to be more consistent if they were to overtake the visitors.

Also of importance was to have some step forward alongside Valentine, who scored ten points but wasn’t able to create as much for others thanks in large part to the Cardinals’ defensive efforts.

Forbes has the ability to put points on the board, and for the second consecutive game he managed to provided needed scoring alongside Valentine. In two separate second-half stretches Wednesday night his shot-making served as the spark Michigan State needed, the second of which being three-pointers within the span of two minutes and thirty seconds with the last giving the Spartans a 58-56 lead.

There were other contributors to the win, with freshmen Kenny Goins (five points, 13 rebounds) and Deyonta Davis (nine points, six rebounds) being positive factors off the bench. But with Tum Tum Nairn and Eron Harris both struggling offensively, Michigan State needed someone to step forward alongside Valentine to do some of the “heavy lifting,” and Forbes was that man.

This performance is a nice follow-up to Forbes’ 18-point outing in Michigan State’s win over Providence Sunday night, and he’s now reached double figures in six of Michigan State’s eight games to start the season.

Valentine has proven himself to be one of the nation’s best players, and that will continue to be the case. But for Michigan State to make a run at conference and national titles others will need to step up and do so consistently. For most of the season Bryn Forbes has been one of those players, which is a positive sign for the Spartans as they look to win the program’s third national title.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press

Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Tom Izzo calls Denzel Valentine’s play during foreign tour ‘unbelievable’

Denzel Valentine (AP Photo)
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Michigan State wrapped up a 12-day tour of Italy on Monday.

The Spartans’ one-point loss to the senior national team from Georgia sent them back to East Lansing with three straight losses, but Tom Izzo is taking some positives away from the trip abroad.

“Denzel (Valentine), the first three games was unbelievable,” Izzo during an interview The Drive with Jack on WQTX, via Kyle of Austin of “He could have been the MVP of the whole tournament.”

Valentine began the trip with 16 points in a lopsided win over Basket Fiorentina. From there, the competition got much tougher, as the Spartans dropped their second game, 93-75, to the Russian National Team, a team ranked sixth in the FIBA world rankings. In a losing effort, Valentine had a game-high 21 points with five assists in 34 minutes of action.

He followed that performance up with 23 points in a 90-69 loss to the Italian National Team, ranked No. 36 in the world. In four games, the senior wing averaged 17.0 points per game.

The 6-foot-5 Valentine is coming off a junior campaign where he averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assits per game. His offseason also included a stint with USA Basketball in the 2015 Pan-Am Games.

Gavin Schilling and freshman Matt McQuaid were also praised by Izzo in the interview. Byrn Forbes scored in double figures three times on the trip, while Tum Tum Nairn recorded 16 assists to six turnovers in the three games against the senior national teams.

Michigan State’s impact transfer guard Eron Harris sat out the trip after his offseason arrest.

Michigan State caps Italy trip with one-point loss to Georgian national team (VIDEO)

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State played some tough competition in the final three games of its four-game trip to Italy, as they took part in a four-team tournament that included the national teams from Italy, Russia and Georgia. Sunday afternoon Tom Izzo’s team took on Georgia, with their comeback from a 14-point deficit falling a point short (71-70) as Bryn Forbes’ long three-point attempt as time expired hit the back iron.

Gavin Schilling led the way for Michigan State with 17 points and nine rebounds, Forbes added 14 points and point guard Tum Tum Nairn played what Izzo praised as his “best game of his year so far.” While Michigan State finished the trip with a 1-3 record, playing against seasoned competition (all three international teams will compete in next month’s Eurobasket tournament) can only benefit the Spartans when it comes to the 2015-16 campaign.

Above are some clips from the game as well as remarks from Izzo, as put together by Michigan State Athletics.