Picture: Jim Oxley, https://badgerofhonor.com
Michigan State University: 69, Wisconsin: 57
For the first time in three years, the unranked Wisconsin Badgers visited the Izzone in East Lansing to play the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans for the second time this season. However, this time the outcome was a bit different. On January 17th, 2016, Michigan State played the Badgers in Madison, Wisconsin, and lost by one point. Last night, February 18th, 2016, the Spartans won by a solid 12 points. This now puts Michigan State at a record of 22-5 and Wisconsin at a record of 16-10.
Throughout the game, Denzel Valentine proved that he came to effectively lead the team, charge the court, defend and get the W for the Spartans with 24 points, ten assists and seven rebounds. As #1 in the country right now in assists, Valentine further proved his intelligence on the court.
Michigan State led throughout the entire game, starting right off the bat with a three-pointer from Bryn Forbes (shocker!) in the first 15 seconds. Forbes, who had 17 points last night, proved to be another reoccurring x-factor for Michigan State.
In the first quarter, it was 12-3 at 14:36 and 20-10 at 8:05, so Michigan State had quite the cushion when it came to getting comfortable, although that didn’t change the way the team played. Players who stuck out for Michigan State included Eron Harris, Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn Jr., Marvin Clark Jr. and Deyonta Davis. Eron Harris, a guard for the Spartans, had a great game in terms of shooting. Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn Jr., a sophomore guard, was back in the game last night after suffering from a case of plantar fasciitis. Marvin Clark Jr. was determined to fight and get the rebound and while half of the time he was successful, unfortunately half of the time they called him for fouls.
With the score coming to 32-19 at 1:33 in the first quarter, it seemed that Wisconsin couldn’t make any of their shots and that the main forward for the Badgers, Nigel Hayes, was having a very off game. Although, Wisconsin did see some success as Bronson Koenig (#24) had some good three’s, especially when Harris and Valentine accidentally left him wide open on the three-point line (making Izzo very unhappy).
Major rebounders for Wisconsin included Ethan Happ (#22), who led the team with 18 points, and Vitto Brown (#30) who both served as big guys trying to make it to the rim; however, they were not successful against Deyonta Davis and Matt Costello, two power-houses for MSU. Although, Khalil Iverson (#21) did block one of the shots Costello tried to take.
At halftime, the score was 32-23 MSU and the final score ended in 69-57 with the Spartans taking the victory. Next, Michigan State will play Ohio State on February 23rd and Wisconsin will play Illinois on February 21st.
Madeline Stamm, Michigan State University 2019