Michigan State Spartans

miles bridges

Video: Miles Bridges hits head on rim during dunk

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Playing above the rim is supposed to be just a cliche. It’s something we say because it sounds cool and is mostly helpful in describing a player’s athleticism and game.

Five-star recruit and incoming Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges, then, would appear to have an at-the-rim game.

The 6-foot-6 wing player hit his head on the rim this week while dunking at the Moneyball Pro-Am.

The novelty – and, probably, pain – of hitting your head on the bucket on a dunk is a pretty good exhibit of the type of athlete Bridges is and is one example of why many consider him a potential one-and-done candidate. He, along with Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston and Nick Ward, are a big reason why the Spartans are again the favorite to win the Big Ten and compete for a national title despite losing the likes of National Player of the Year Denzel Valentine.

St. John’s nabs Michigan State transfer Clark

Michigan State's Marvin Clark Jr., left, drives against Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Jaquan Lynch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in East Lansing, Mich.  (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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St. John’s officially added Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark on Wednesday, the school announced.
Clark, a 6-foot-6 forward, played his freshman and sophomore seasons for Tom Izzo in East Lansing before announcing his intent to transfer last month. He visited Providence in addition to St. John’s.
“We are glad Marvin has decided to join our basketball family,” said St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said in a statement released by the school. “He’s an experienced player with size, athleticism and a solid skill set. Marvin is a good fit for our program and we believe he will transition well into our style of play.”
Clark averaged 4.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor during his two seasons as a Spartan. His playing time diminished from 11.2 minutes per game his freshman season to 9.7 minutes per game last year. Michigan State is again expected to have a full frontcourt, which would have left Clark battling for minutes once again.
At St. John’s, Clark will help bolster a roster that was in need of a major overhaul when Mullin took over a year ago. The Red Storm have been aggressive in targeting and bringing in transfers thus far in Mullin’s tenure.
Clark’s story goes well beyond basketball as he endured a difficult childhood in Kansas City that included time where he was homeless. He’s an easy story to root for, and will get a new start at St. John’s when he begins his final two seasons of eligibility in 2017-18.

No. 1 Michigan State rebounds from slow start to beat Northeastern

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No. 1 Michigan State’s trip to Boston to take on Northeastern wasn’t expected to be an easy one, as the Huskies are an experienced and talented group that picked up a win at No. 15 Miami earlier this season. And that’s how things played out at the start, with Bill Coen’s team dominating the boards and controlling the tempo.

But after a sloppy first ten minutes Tom Izzo’s team played at the level one would expect of the nation’s best team, going on to win 78-58 in a game shown on NBCSN.

At one point in the first half Northeastern had more offensive rebounds (nine) than Michigan State had total rebounds (five), with Zach Stahl and Kwesi Akabah proving particularly difficult for the Spartans to keep off the glass. But once Michigan State’s front court managed to complete defensive possessions with a rebound the Spartans were able to get out in the open floor and increase the game’s tempo, turning a tight game into a comfortable victory by game’s end.

Denzel Valentine accounted for 17 points, five rebounds and six assists, and by game’s end Michigan State finished with more second chance points than Northeastern (14-13). Add in 14 points off of 12 Northeastern turnovers, and Michigan State moved one win (12-0) closer to producing the best start in program history. Offensively the Spartans shot nearly 56 percent from the field and had three players reach double figures, with Bryn Forbes (12 points) and Tum Tum Nairn (11) joining Valentine.

Also of note for Michigan State was the return of forward Gavin Schilling, who missed the first 11 games due to injury. Schilling played just 11 minutes, producing four points and three rebounds, but he was the team’s best big man during their summer trip to Italy and his return gives the Spartans another option to call upon inside. That will be key for them moving forward, as he’ll join a rotation that includes fellow veteran Matt Costello and freshmen Deyonta Davis and Kenny Goins.

Michigan State’s first-shot defense was very good Saturday afternoon, as Northeastern shot just 37.3 percent from the field with David Walker scoring 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting. But the game didn’t change in their favor until the Spartans got back to cleaning up the defensive glass as they had in the 11 games prior, and that attention to detail will be key as Michigan State plays games of even greater magnitude later in the season.

WATCH LIVE: No. 1 Michigan State travels to Northeastern on NBCSN

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) brings the ball upcourt against Florida's Dorian Finney-Smith during the closing moments of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Associated Press
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One of Saturday’s most interesting games will be featured on NBCSN and the NBC Sports Live Extra app in a 12:30 p.m. ET tip as Michigan State, the No. 1 team in the country, will head up to Beantown to take on Northeastern in a true road game. How often does that happen? The game is part of another cool event that Spartan AD Mark Hollis dreamed up, as Michigan State will be playing a triple-header in men’s hoops, women’s hoops and hockey against the Huskies.

The Spartans (11-0) are led by triple-double threat Denzel Valentine while Northeastern (7-3) will rely on the scoring capabilities of guard David Walker.

CLICK HERE to watch this game on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

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

Denzel Valentine
Associated Press
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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.

TIP-INS

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.

UP NEXT

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.

TIP-INS

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.

LENDING A HAND

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

RANKING SIMILARITIES

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).

RARE MATCHUP

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.

UP NEXT

Michigan State hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday.

Binghamton visits Oakland University on Monday.