Bryn Forbes

AP Photo/Robert Franklin

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 2 Michigan State, No. 7 Miami roll on the road

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: St. Bonaventure 98, Saint Joseph’s 90

This was a big game for both teams, but especially for the Bonnies as they still have work to do if they’re to lock up an NCAA tournament bid. Marcus Posley made sure Mark Schmidt’s team picked up the quality win, as he scored a career-high 47 points on 15-for-19 shooting from the field. Dion Wright added 22 points and six rebounds for the Bonnies, while Shavar Newkirk and Isaiah Miles led a balanced effort for the Hawks with 19 points apiece. The two teams combined to score 119 points in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 7 Miami 68, Notre Dame 50: The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish are headed in opposite directions at this point. Miami jumped out to a 21-3 lead, and while Notre Dame made a couple runs to trim the margin to single digits the hole was too deep to climb out of. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan combined to score 36 points, with Rodriguez also dishing out five assists, and Tonye Jekiri added 14 along with nine rebounds. Miami, which has won eight of its last nine games, can still win the ACC outright. As for Notre Dame, they’ve lost three of their last four.

Butler 85, Seton Hall 78: The Bulldogs completed a season sweep of the Pirates, picking up a much-needed win as they look to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and Roosevelt Jones added 20 along with five rebounds and five assists to lead the way for Butler, which shot 51 percent from the field. Isaiah Whitehead scored a game-high 27 for the Pirates, but he did so on 9-for-23 shooting from the field.

No. 9 Oregon 76, UCLA 68: Dillon Brooks hit a dagger of a three in the final minute to seal the win for the Ducks, who clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 title and the top seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament. Brooks finished with 15 points and freshman Tyler Dorsey scored 20 points to lead the way for the Ducks. Isaac Hamilton scored 19 points and Tony Parker added 18 for the Bruins, who are now locked into the ten-seed.

Wednesday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure: Posley was incredible in the Bonnies’ critical 98-90 win over Saint Joseph’s. 15-for-19 from the field (6-for-7 3PT) and 11-for-12 from the foul line, scoring 47 points.

Andrew Andrews, Washington: Andrews scored 47 points, collected six rebounds and dished out four assists in the Huskies’ 99-91 home win over Washington State.

Bryn Forbes, Michigan State: Forbes set a Big Ten record with 11 three-pointers in the Spartans’ blowout victory at Rutgers.

Chris Horton, Austin Peay: 37 points and 21 rebounds in the Governors’ OVC tournament win over Tennessee Tech.

Stefan Moody, Ole Miss: Moody scored 43 points (11-for-24 FG) and dished out six assists in the Rebels’ 86-78 win over Mississippi State.

STRUGGLED

Demetrius Jackson and V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame: Jackson and Beachem combined to score 12 points, shooting 5-for-20 from the field in a 68-50 home loss to No. 7 Miami.

Ahmad Gilbert, Minnesota: Gilbert scored two points, shooting 1-for-8 from the field, as the shorthanded Golden Gophers lost to Wisconsin.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Michigan State has now won nine of its last ten games, as they whipped Rutgers 97-66 in Piscataway. Bryn Forbes, as mentioned above, set a Big Ten record with 11 made three-pointers on the night. Eron Harris scored 15 points, Denzel Valentine finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Matt Costello added ten points and 15 boards.
  • No. 10 West Virginia rolled to a 90-68 home win over Texas Tech, locking up no worse than the three-seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament. Daxter Miles and Jaysean Paige scored 15 points apiece for the Mountaineers, who forced 18 Texas Tech turnovers on the night. With the loss Texas Tech is locked into the seven-seed next week, meaning that they’ll have to play Wednesday night.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Albany’s quest for a fourth straight America East tournament title came to an end Wednesday night, as they lost to seven-seed Hartford 68-59 in an America East quarterfinal. Next up for the Hawks is top seed Stony Brook, which pulled away late to beat UMBC 86-76. Three-seed Vermont will host four-seed New Hampshire in the other semifinal Monday.
  • In the Northeast quarterfinals six-seed LIU Brooklyn eliminated three-seed Sacred Heart, 84-76. Also advancing to Sunday’s semifinals were one-seed Wagner, two-seed Fairleigh Dickinson and five-seed Mount St. Mary’s. Wagner will host LIU Brooklyn in one semi, with Mount St. Mary’s visiting FDU in the other.
  • VCU clinched at least a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title with a 70-60 win over Davidson. Mo Alie-Cox and Melvin Johnson led the way for the Rams, with Alie-Cox finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Johnson adding 16, five rebounds and four assists.
  • Austin Peay advanced to the quarterfinals of the OVC tournament with a 92-72 win over Tennessee Tech. Also advancing was Murray State, which beat Eastern Illinois 78-62.
  • Just three days removed from their home win over Duke, Pittsburgh did themselves no favors with a 65-61 loss at Virginia Tech. Zach LeDay led the Hokies with 20 points and ten rebounds.
  • Providence picked up a second straight victory, holding off Creighton by the final score of 70-66. Ben Bentil finished with 27 points and ten rebounds, and Kris Dunn added 17, six boards and six assists for the Friars.
  • Alabama suffered a damaging loss, as they fell 62-61 at home to Arkansas. The Razorbacks went to a box-and-1 to slow down Retin Obasohan down the stretch, and the move worked out well for Mike Anderson’s team. Obasohan finished with 32 points, but no other Alabama player scored more than ten.
  • Wisconsin continued its roll with a 62-49 win at Minnesota. Bronson Koenig accounted for 14 points and six assists with Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes adding 12 apiece for the Badgers, who have won 11 of their last 12 games.
  • Boston College is one loss away from going winless in ACC play, as they lost 73-72 at NC State on a Maverick Rowan layup as time expired. The Eagles also went winless in ACC play in football last season.
  • A Justin Bibbins coast-to-coast drive and finish gave Long Beach State a 75-73 win at Cal-State Fullerton. Nick Faust finished the game with 30 points and eight rebounds for the 49ers.
  • USC snapped a stretch of five losses in six games with an 81-70 win over Oregon State. The Beavers played without freshman Tres Tinkle, who injured his foot in practice Tuesday.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Bryn Forbes hits Big Ten record 11 three-pointers

Leave a comment

The odds were certainly stacked against Rutgers Wednesday night, as they were facing a team in No. 2 Michigan State that arrived in Piscataway having won eight of its last nine games. Michigan State moved to 9-1 over their last ten with a 97-66 win, blowing out the Scarlet Knights in the second half after leading by just two at the half.

And in the win, Michigan State guard Bryn Forbes set a Big Ten record with 11 made three-pointers. Forbes, who scored all 33 of his points on three-pointers, shot 11-for-16 from beyond the arc against a defense that at times appeared to forget that he’s one of the best perimeter shooters in the country.

After shooting 42.7 percent from three last season, Forbes is knocking down those shots at a 50 percent clip for Tom Izzo and Wednesday night he did his damage in 27 minutes of action. And over Michigan State’s last five games, all wins, Forbes shot 61.4 percent (27-for-44) from distance.

Video credit: Big Ten Network

No. 6 Michigan State beats Penn State 88-57 after slow start

AP Photo/Al Goldis
Leave a comment

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Tom Izzo has been telling his players when they’re not making shots that defense and rebounding can win games, especially in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 6 Michigan State showed that against Penn State on Sunday.

Denzel Valentine started slow and finished strong with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help the sixth-ranked Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 88-57.

Valentine missed his first six shots as Michigan State was off to a 3-of-15 shooting start.

“Our defense and rebounding kept us in the game and that’s the way we have to win as we move forward,” Izzo said. “It makes me feel like they’re listening.”

The Spartans (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten) have won four straight and eight of nine, outscoring teams by 21-plus points in those victories and losing only to then-No. 18 Purdue by one point in overtime on the road during the stretch.

“I think we’ve got a chance to make a run,” Izzo said.

Penn State had been on a relatively successful run recently.

The Nittany Lions (15-14, 6-10) had won three straight and four of five, including victories over then-No. 4 Iowa and then-No. 22 Indiana.

“We were hopeful to put up a fight at least,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “And, we didn’t do that.”

Chambers did his part by being feisty.

He was ejected with 4:53 left in the first half when he was called for two technical fouls within the same rant. Chambers had to be held back by his coaching staff, two assistants at one point, as he tried to charge toward officials more than once before leaving the court. After Chambers was ejected, he started to gather his team for some parting thoughts before he tried to go back at the officials.

“We’re trying to buck the system of being the brunt of everybody’s jokes,” Chambers said. “So we’re going to fight, players are going to fight.”

After the Spartans’ miss-filled start, they connected on 14 of 18 shots.

“We played hard with energy and effort,” Valentine said.

Despite making just 37 percent in the second half, they easily maintained their comfortable cushion.

“Michigan State is playing at an incredible level,” Chambers said.

Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis and Bryn Forbes scored 15 points each and Matt Costello had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Shep Garner had 22 points and Devin Foster scored 11 for the Nittany Lions during a game in which their respect for Chambers grew.

“I love it when Coach comes out and battles for us,” Garner said. “That’s what he does. He puts his neck on the line.”

TIP INS

Penn State: Brandon Taylor entered the game as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. He fouled out with 7:20 left in the game with as many fouls as he had combined points (2) and rebounds (3). The 6-foot-6 senior forward, who shared Big Ten player of the week honors on Monday, was averaging 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Taylor had scored in double digits the previous 16 games, including 24- and 18-point outputs against the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes. … While Chambers was kept away from the court in the second half, one of his assistants was called for a technical foul.

Michigan State: Valentine, a national player of the year candidate, has a chance to become the first player in at least three decades to average 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He entered the game averaging nearly 20 points, seven-plus rebounds and more than seven assists per game. The NCAA began keeping assists as an official statistic during the 1983-84 season.

UP NEXT

Penn State hosts Northwestern on Thursday.

Michigan State plays at Rutgers on Wednesday.

Online:

http://collegebasketball.ap.org/

Follow Larry Lage at http://www.twitter.com/larrylage and follow his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/larry-lage

Valentine-led No. 8 Michigan State beats Wisconsin 69-57

AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Leave a comment

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Denzel Valentine had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, leading No. 8 Michigan State to a 69-57 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday night.

The Spartans (22-5, 9-5 Big Ten) went from eighth place in the conference into a four-way tie for fourth with their sixth win in seven games.

Michigan State’s Bryn Forbes scored 17 points and Eron Harris had 10.

The Badgers (16-10, 8-5) had won seven straight games dating to their victory Jan. 17, at home against Michigan State.

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ scored 18 points and Bronson Koenig had 12 with a scoring surge late in the game. Nigel Hayes was held to a season-low five points, 12 below his team-high scoring average, for the Badgers.

The Valentine-led Spartans took control early and never gave up the lead. Valentine had three assists and two points 3:13 into the game, helping Michigan State take a 10-3 lead. He assisted on or scored every basket for the Spartans when they built a 23-10 lead. The senior guard had nine points and seven assists in 17 minutes, helping Michigan State to a 32-23 halftime lead.

The Spartans started the second half strong, building a 13-point lead on Matt Costello’s dunk off an assist from Valentine. They didn’t have much trouble keeping a comfortable cushion against a team that was coming off a 13-point victory on the road against then-No. 2 Maryland, one of three ranked teams it beat during the seven-game winning streak.

TIP-INS

Wisconsin: Koenig extended his streak with a 3-pointer to 37 games, but didn’t do much else for the Badgers until late in the game when it was out of reach. … Happ had a strong showing after the freshman was held to single digits in three of the previous four games, including scoring a total of six points combined in the previous two.

Michigan State: The Spartans hosted Wisconsin in their only game during an eight-day stretch that will give coach Tom Izzo a chance to fine tune his team toward the end of the regular season. … Michigan State matched its lowest scoring total since Jan. 2 when it scored 69 points in a win at Minnesota.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin hosts Illinois on Sunday.

Michigan State is at Ohio State on Tuesday.

Online:

http://collegebasketball.ap.org/

Follow Larry Lage at http://www.twitter.com/larrylage and follow his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/larry-lage

No. 11 Michigan State snaps three-game losing streak against No. 7 Maryland

AP Photo/Al Goldis
8 Comments

Having lost three straight games for the first time in nine seasons, No. 11 Michigan State entered Saturday’s game against No. 7 Maryland in dire need of a win. In spots such as these a team expects their best and most experienced players to step forward, and that’s exactly what happened in the Spartans’ 74-65 win over the Terrapins at the Breslin Center.

Sure, seniors Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes led the way offensively, with Valentine all over the stat sheet with 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Forbes scoring a game-high 25 points. But the contributions of another senior, forward Matt Costello, cannot be overlooked.

Playing against Maryland’s talented front line Costello more than held his own, finishing the game with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. And he did all of this on an ankle that was less than 100 percent — he was in a boot on Thursday — outplaying Maryland’s interior tandem of Robert Carter and Diamond Stone. Michigan State entered the game in need of not only a win but an emotional spark as well, and Costello was the one who provided that boost.

Michigan State’s season wasn’t on the line by any stretch of the imagination; there are still plenty of games to be played and this is a group still getting used to playing without starting point guard Tum Tum Nairn. But after their loss to Nebraska, playing with a lack of emotion that was surprising for a Tom Izzo-coached team, there was a call that had to be answered. And Michigan State managed to get the job done, with the players who are expected to lead the way doing just that.

Maryland will be fine moving forward. Rasheed Sulaimon struggled offensively, shooting 2-for-11 from the field, and the same goes for Stone as he scored just six points off the bench. But Melo Trimble, who entered the game in a slump, got going and finished with 24 points. That should only help him moving forward, and regardless of what happens when it comes to the Big Ten regular season title there’s no denying that Mark Turgeon’s team has the personnel needed to make a run deep into March and even to early April.

Saturday night was about Michigan State more than anything. A program that’s been lauded for its toughness and its fight needed to display those attributes against a high-level opponent, and they managed to do just that. Forbes and Valentine may have produced the most noteworthy stat lines but it was Matt Costello who set the tone, enabling the Spartans to pick up a much-needed victory.

Not to mention a bear-hug, a butt-slap and a head-rub for his coach on the way off the floor:

No. 11 Michigan State suffers third straight defeat

Associated Press
2 Comments

Earlier this week Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo took responsibility for his team’s issues on the defensive end, as the Spartans’ adjustment to the points of emphasis announced before the season began hasn’t come as quickly as many expected. Wednesday night the struggles continued, as Michigan State couldn’t find an answer to the riddle that was Nebraska senior wing Shavon Shields.

Shields was outstanding, leading all scorers with 28 points, shooting 12-for-20 from the field, to lead the Huskers to a 72-71 win in East Lansing. Michigan State, which had a final shot at the win but Denzel Valentine’s jumper as time expired missed the mark, has now lost its last three conference games and has a 3-4 record in conference play.

With Iowa, which has already swept the season series, and Indiana both without a conference loss the Spartans’ chances of hoisting the Big Ten regular season title may have fallen by the wayside with this defeat.

Defense was once again the culprit, as Nebraska shot 50 percent from the field on the night. Tim Miles’ team isn’t going to rack up the assists, as they entered Wednesday’s with just over 48 percent of their made baskets being of the assisted variety. Instead, they use the likes of Shields, Tai Webster and Glynn Watson to break down opposing defenses, with mixed results to this point in the season.

That wasn’t the case against Michigan State, with the Spartans playing without their best perimeter defender in Tum Tum Nairn for the second consecutive game and at times seemingly afraid to make any kind of contact. Outside of Eron Harris the Spartans didn’t have the early foul trouble they’ve endured in recent games, but they still had issues slowing down Shields and his teammates throughout Wednesday’s game.

Also of note was the off night experienced by Bryn Forbes, who scored three points on 1-for-8 shooting. The senior’s struggled in two of Michigan State’s last three games, as Anthony Clemmons held him in check in Iowa’s win in East Lansing last week, and this comes after scoring 17 points or more in three straight games. In addition to needing to do a better job of adjusting defensively, the Spartans need to get to the point where both Forbes and Eron Harris are clicking on the wings at the same time.

That should come in time, but the bigger concern in the defense. Once again Michigan State struggled on that end of the floor, and while they did have a final chance to grab the win it proved to be too much to overcome.