PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Bryn Forbes scored a career-high 33 points, hitting a conference record 11 3-pointers, and No. 2 Michigan State woke up in the second half to rout Rutgers 97-66 on Wednesday night, handing the Scarlet Knights their 17th straight loss.
Eron Harris added 15 points, Denzel Valentine 14 for Spartans (25-5, 12-5 Big Ten), who made 16 3-pointers in winning their fifth straight game and ninth in 10. Matt Costello had 10 points and matched his career-best with 15 rebounds.
Forbes’ 11th 3-pointer came on a fadeaway and it broke the single-game record of 10 set by John Diebler of Ohio State against Penn State in 2011.
If Michigan State beats Ohio State on Saturday in its regular-season finale it will earn a double bye in the conference’s upcoming tournament and the No. 2 seed.
Corey Sanders, who was returning from a four-game suspension, had 19 points for Rutgers (6-23, 0-17). The Scarlet Knights have now lost 32 consecutive conference games dating to last season.
Rutgers needs to beat Minnesota, the second worst team in the conference, to avoid a winless season in the league.
For a half, Rutgers had many wondering whether it was going to pull off the greatest upset in program history, topping the win against No. 4 Wisconsin last season.
The Scarlet Knights shot 67 percent from the field, making 16 of 24 shots, with Sanders leading the way with 15.
Only a 3-pointer by Forbes – of course – with 8.4 seconds left in the half gave Michigan State a 43-41 lead, and had many wondering what was going on with the Spartans.
They answered the question in the second half, outscoring Rutgers 20-3 in less than five minutes to take a 63-44 lead. Forbes, who was 11 of 16 from long range, hit three 3-pointers in the run and that was it.
If there was a lowlight in the half for Rutgers, it was Denzel Valentine dunking on a 5-on-none break with 5:55 to go.
Earlier in the half, Spartans coach Tom Izzo walked on the court and screamed at Valentine for something that miffed him.
Michigan State: The Spartans tied a school record, hitting 17 three-pointers in a 96-62 win against Rutgers on Jan. 31. Coming into this game, they were leading the nation, making 43.3 percent from long range, with Forbes leading the nation individually at 50 percent.
Rutgers: After its hot shooting first half, the Scarlet Knights shot 8 of 28 in the second half in being outscored 54-25.
Michigan State hosts Ohio State on Saturday.
Rutgers hosts Minnesota on Saturday.