Chris Collins

Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine drives against Northeastern during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boston Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
AP Photo/Winslow Townson

No. 12 Michigan State makes 16 3s, beats Northwestern 76-45

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EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Denzel Valentine made five of Michigan State’s season-high 16 3-pointers and the 12th-ranked Spartans clamped down on cold-shooting Northwestern for a 76-45 victory Thursday night.

Valentine finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Spartans (18-4, 5-4 Big Ten) beat the Wildcats for the seventh straight time. Matt McQuaid scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, and freshman Deyonta Davis had eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Northwestern (15-7, 3-6) shot a season-low 20.7 percent from the field in its fourth consecutive loss. It finished with more free throws (17) than field goals (12).

Bryant McIntosh had 14 points on 4-for-15 shooting for the Wildcats, and Aaron Falzon finished with 11 points. Redshirt senior Tre Demps was 2 for 14 from the field, missing each of his seven 3-point attempts.

Valentine scored 14 points in the first half, and then focused on more of a distributing role as the Spartans pulled away in the second half.

Northwestern closed to 41-29 on Alex Olah’s two free throws with 16:44 left, but Michigan State responded with a 13-2 run. McQuaid had the final 11 points of the spurt, including three 3s – two of them coming off passes from Valentine.

It just got worse from there for the Wildcats, with little-used Matt Van Dyk giving the Spartans their biggest lead of the game with a fast-break dunk in the final seconds. Michigan State shot 51 percent (28 for 55) from the field, including its 16-for-26 night from long range.

TIP-INS

Michigan State: Valentine’s 3-pointer with 8:06 left in the second half moved him past Julius McCoy (1,377) for No. 23 on the school’s career scoring list. … The Spartans’ previous season high was 12 3-pointers in a 78-35 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 9.

Northwestern: The Wildcats have one game left in their first stretch of four straight against ranked opponents since the 1989-90 season. They take on No. 3 Iowa on Sunday. … Northwestern went 17 for 19 from the free-throw line, compared to 4 for 4 for the Michigan State.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: hosts Rutgers on Sunday.

Northwestern: visits No. 3 Iowa on Sunday.

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

VIDEO: Northwestern’s four-part summer series

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Northwestern released a unique four-part look into its summer preparation for its trip overseas.

“The Foundation” follows head coach Chris Collins and the Wildcats as they were followed by cameras throughout the summer in a Hard Knocks-style format. The videos include footage of the start of summer practices, the team’s summer workouts, some off-the-court looks at the team and concluding with the team’s trip to Spain.

The four videos combined total a little over 22 minutes and it offers an up-close look at being a Big Ten player during a summer where an exhibition trip is included.

You can view all four videos here:

Three-star forward Rapolas Ivanauskas becomes Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment

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To this point in his tenure as head coach at Northwestern, Chris Collins has done a good job of recruiting local talent to Evanston. Saturday evening he and his staff reeled in its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-8 forward Rapolas Ivanauskas has picked Northwestern.

Ivanauskas currently attends Barrington High School in Barrington, Illinois, where he averaged 18 points, 8.3 rebounds and two assists per game as a junior. For his efforts Ivanauskas was named second team All-Area by the Chicago Tribuneand he also held offers from Creighton, Iowa and Purdue.

“Rapolas Ivanauskas is significant pickup for Chris Collins and Northwestern because he’s a local top-100 prospected who has a significant amount of skill,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said of Ivanauskas. “He’s shown an ability to score from the inside and outside, and he made major strides in his junior season.”

As stated above Ivanauskas is Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment, and of their three 2015 commitments two are front court players in Aaron Falzon and Derek Pardon with guard Jordan Ash being the other. Add that group to a solid corps of sophomores led by point guard Bryant McIntosh and wing Vic Law IV, and Northwestern doesn’t lack for young talent that’s either already on campus or on its way.

The hope in Evanston is that the young talent being gathered by Collins and his staff will ultimately yield the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament berth.