Before we start, here’s your required reminder that this Penn State team beat Iowa. College basketball is strange.
This game was a tale of two halves: the one where MSU pulled away and the one loaded with coachable moments.
It’s strange to look back and realize it actually took Michigan State nearly 10 minutes to separate itself from the Nittany Lions, but a 19-3 run in a three-minute span will do that to you. The Spartans started slow – as did Denzel Valentine – but it’s tough to nitpick when the team quickly managed to find its tempo.
The one thing that is impressive about this team is its depth when one area isn’t working well. When Valentine came cold, the frontcourt of Matt Costello and Deyonta Davis stepped up. Costellos finished with 10 points and 11 assists, while Davis added 15 points.
Valentine never really warmed up, shooting 5-of-14 on the day, but still managed to add 19 with eight rebounds. Hitting four triples helped, as did making five of his six free throws.
Bryn Forbes also finished in double digits, adding 15. That’s a testament to how unselfish MSU played as a team, racking up 51 rebounds and 22 assists. Had MSU felt the need, it could have hit 100 and won by 40. PSU should be happy the Spatans showed mercy.
Fourteen players in total logged minutes for the Spartans, with no one getting less than seven. This is particular helpful in the recovery of Lourawls Nairn Jr. Tum Tum didn’t get a field goal try off, but seeing him slowly crank the minutes up is helpful.
Just two games remain in the regular season, and Selection Sunday is just two weeks away. The only thing left for this team to do is pad its resume, improve on its Big Ten ranking and try to sneak back into a top seed once the committee releases its bracket. Sunday was big for the resume padding.