Bryn Forbes leads No. 6 Michigan State over Ohio State

By Doug Bean, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 24, 2016 at 1:18 AM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tom Izzo would never complain about a late-season Big Ten win on the road, but the Michigan State coach was not pleased with what he saw Tuesday night in Value City Arena.

The sixth-ranked Spartans didn't execute to Izzo's satisfaction and he was disappointed with the performance of his big men. Michigan State was still good enough, though, to come away with an 81-62 victory over Ohio State thanks to the uncanny shooting of Bryn Forbes.

The senior guard drilled 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range and 9 of 14 from the field on the way to 27 points that helped Michigan State (23-5, 10-5 Big Ten) win for the seventh time in its last eight games.

"This was disappointing for me," Izzo said. "We didn't beat them by 20. We just hit some big shots. ... Bryn Forbes bailed us out. It's a shame that I'm feeling like I do when Bryn Forbes had maybe a career night."

Forbes was the catalyst for the Spartans, who made 14 of 22 3-pointers (63.6 percent) and 31 of 57 shots from the field (54.4 percent).

"I was kind of shocked how open I was at times," Forbes said. "Some nights you're hot and that's how it goes."

But Izzo was tough with his critique of his team. The hot shooting masked some of the deficiencies he saw that included breakdowns in running the offense and lapses in concentration.

"It's a good win. You win by 20 -- any time you beat Ohio State like that it's a good win," Izzo said. "For the most part, they did a better job in a lot of areas than we did.

We went into the game talking about focus, toughness, things that are going to help us as we move into the end of the year. Right now, I'm questioning whether me team understands the difference between playing. We didn't do the things we needed to do early in that game."

The Spartans struggled to gain any separation from the Buckeyes in a tight first half, going into intermission with a 36-31 lead and receiving a tongue lashing from Izzo in the locker room.

"The second half we just came out and dictated the game," senior guard Denzel Valentine said. "The second half Bryn made some shots and bailed us out."

Forbes nailed two 3-pointers at the start of the second half and senior forward Matt Costello followed with three baskets to help Michigan State expand its lead to 50-40 with 15:41 left.

The Buckeyes had trouble all night stopping Forbes, who continued to drill 3-pointers as the Spartans built their advantage to 67-54 on his 3-pointer with 7:58 left and remained comfortably in front the rest of the way in the 19-point win.

"We made shots. At the end of the day, in the game of basketball, if you make shots, it cures a lot of evils," Izzo said.

Valentine, a Big Ten and national player of the year candidate, finished 17 points and eight assists, and Costello added 16 points, making 8 of 11 shots from the floor.

"Valentine, I think, is the best player in the country," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "He does so much with is pace and getting guys open."

Ohio State (18-11, 10-6), dealt a blow before the game when gritty forward Jae'Sean Tate was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury that will require surgery, was led by junior forward Marc Loving with 19 points.

"Jae'Sean is the heart and soul of this basketball team. We challenged our guys, man down, you've got to man up," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I hate it for Jae'Sean, but that being said, we have to go on and find a way to regroup and get ready to go again. You can't make excuses."

Ohio State freshman guard JaQuan Lyle scored 16 points and sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop added a team-best nine rebounds. The Buckeyes made 19 of 21 free throws (90.5 percent) but were just 19 of 48 from the floor (39.6 percent).

"I think the first half we did a good job playing hard and playing tough and then the second half they started hitting shots," Lyle said. "We all started hanging our heads and I wouldn't say we quit, but we let the game go."

NOTES: Ohio State sophomore F Jae'Sean Tate will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday, the school announced before tip-off. Tate had battled a shoulder problem all season. He was averaging 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds while starting all 28 games. He had 15 points and 12 rebounds on Saturday in the Buckeyes' 65-62 overtime win at Nebraska. ... Michigan State was averaging 79.4 points per game, the highest by a Tom Izzo-coached team in his 21 seasons. ... Ohio State has won at least 10 Big Ten games each of the past 11 sessions, the longest run in school history. ... Michigan State is the third Final Four team from last year that the Buckeyes faced this season after earlier playing Wisconsin and Kentucky. ... Ohio State and Michigan State meet again in the regular-season finale on March 5 in East Lansing, Mich.

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