Denzel Valentine scores 30 as Michigan State routs Indiana

By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 15, 2016 at 12:24 AM
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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- There was a lot less suspense to this Valentine's Day performance. Denzel Valentine still found it even more satisfying.

Michigan State's star player had a huge game on his namesake holiday, racking up 30 points and a career-high 13 assists as the No. 8 Spartans pulled away to an 88-69 win over Indiana on Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center.

The senior point guard made a game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds against Ohio State on the same holiday last year. He got more enjoyment out of Sunday's blowout victory.

"That was a better ending for me," said Valentine, who notched his 14th career double-double while shooting 11 of 19 from the field, including a 5-for-8 performance on 3-point attempts. "You always want the highlight ending but this was more solid, more complete. We got out of here with a comfortable win."

Valentine and his teammates needed a wakeup call after trailing by 10 midway through the first half. He found a sudden jolt of energy from that point.

"I felt tired for some reason at first," Valentine said. "I just had to breathe and calm myself down. Once they went on that run and we got down 10, that's when I really started breathing and I relaxed. I got an and-one bucket and then I just felt normal. I felt under control after that."

Michigan State senior center Matt Costello recorded his 10th career double-double with a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Valentine assisted on a handful of his layups.

"Makes my job a lot easier," Costello said.

Senior shooting guard Bryn Forbes had 14 points for the Spartans (21-5, 8-5 Big Ten), who bounced back from an overtime loss at Purdue on Tuesday.

Forbes was overshadowed by his backcourt partner, who had 15 points and seven assists after halftime.

"He's a great player, no question about it," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Valentine. "He got to play to his strengths for the most part. We did not put enough pressure on him. You've got to wear him down. Purdue showed that the other night."

Senior power forward Max Bielfeldt's 15 points and 10 rebounds led the Hoosiers (20-6, 10-3), who dropped out of a first-place tie in the conference. Sophomore Robert Johnson contributed 11 points and five assists, junior forward Collin Hartman also scored 11 points and freshman center Thomas Bryant chipped in 10 for Indiana.

Hoosiers senior point guard Yogi Ferrell, the conference's fifth-leading scorer, was held nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo was as impressed by Valentine's defense on Ferrell as his offensive output.

"His defense is so much better," Izzo said. "Everything we've asked that kid to get better at, he's gotten better at."

Crean was more disappointed by his team's defense, which allowed Michigan State to shoot 57.6 percent.

"They made too many threes. They were just too comfortable, and they're pretty good when they're not comfortable," Crean said. "We let their best players be comfortable. Denzel and Matt were outstanding and they didn't need a whole lot from anybody else."

Indiana led 33-23 thanks to Bielfeldt, who scored 10 points before the break. But the Spartans finished the half on an 18-7 run, capped by a Costello layup that gave them a 41-40 halftime lead.

Michigan State carried that momentum into the second half, reeling off a 25-9 run to build its lead to 66-49. Valentine gave the Spartans their first double-digit advantage with a transition 3-pointer.

Freshman power forward Deyonta Davis followed with two putbacks and reserve junior guard Alvin Ellis III completed the outburst with a 3-pointer.

The Spartans' lead remained in double digits the rest of the way.

NOTES: Spartans redshirt freshman F Kenny Goins left the game in the first half with a left knee injury. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo fears that Goins suffered a meniscus tear. ... Michigan State has now won 12 of the last 16 meetings. ... Spartans sophomore PG Lourawls Nairn returned after a seven-game absence due to plantar fasciitis. He did not score, though he recorded an assist in two minutes of action. ... Michigan State is 18-0 when allowing fewer than 70 points. ... Indiana led the Big Ten in scoring (84.1 points per game), field-goal percentage (50.9) and turnovers forced (13.5). ... Hoosiers senior PG Yogi Ferrell is one of five players in Big Ten history to record at least 125 assists in four straight seasons. ... The Spartans face Wisconsin at home on Thursday, while Indiana has a home game against Nebraska on Wednesday.

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