#1 Spartans Suffer Off Night, but Find A Way to Win Against Florida 58-52 & Improve to 11-0!

Denzel Valentine 2015.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard
Denzel Valentine 2015. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard

Breslin Center

East Lansing, MI

It was not a good night for the #1 Michigan State Spartans. That happens over a course of the season. Hosting Florida here at home on a night that they honored the 2000 National Championship team they suffered one of their worst performances. MSU shot only 36%, but great defense offset that by holding the Gators to only 33%.

The good news is that this team looks exhausted and their struggles were not effort related. The Spartans continued their unselfish play getting 18 assists on only 21 baskets.

That said MSU head coach Tom Izzo thought of the contest that, “In hockey my star of the game would have been Bryn Forbes. Really really proud of Bryn. We struggled. We put a lot on Zel and he struggled in a lot of ways. We didn’t move the ball like me normally have. Disappointed because you want to play better in front of an incredible crowd. People are coming at us now. It was a knock down drag out physical, very physical game.”

MSU won the boards 45-34 and Denzel Valentine had 17 points. Bryn Forbes was the only other Spartan to score in double digits and he made 12. Forbes, Matt Costello and Marvin Clark each had six boards to lead the Spartans. MSU had 12 turnovers on the night while leading 35 of the 40 minutes.

Florida head coach Mike White saw is Gators fall to 6-3 while Izzo’s cagers improved to 11-0. White said of the contest, “Great environment. We really competed. At least we somewhat matched their physicality. If you do that against a Coach Izzo team you have to be reasonably pleased. They have a bunch of good player. Their size, they have a bunch of big bodied guys. Very good depth, shooters that start and shooters off the bench. Year in and year out everyone they put on the court is going to rebound.”

The Spartans next contest is one week from today (after a much needed week off to rest) in Boston against unknown, but dangerous Northeastern.  That game tips as 12:30 and can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.