The Michigan State Spartans have been riding high to start the 2015-16 season. After their come-from-behind win over Kansas in the Champions Classic, in which they used a 29 – 12 run to close out the game, the Spartans jumped up to #3 in the AP Top 25 polls.
Against the Jayhawks, Denzel Valentine put up a triple-double of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the victory.
Entering the Wooden Legacy, the Spartans held a 4 – 0 record, and have the look of a team who is just getting warmed up. To add some incentive to the game, head coach Tom Izzo was sitting on 499 career wins, and was looking to become the latest coach to reach the 500-win plateau.
They were paired up with the Boston College Eagles to open the 2015 Wooden Legacy in Fullerton, CA. Despite a big performance from Eli Carter, the Eagles were no match for the Spartans on Thursday night.
Behind another triple-double from Denzel Valentine, his second in a span of just nine days, the Spartans rolled to the 99 – 68 victory.
The Spartans got on the board with a dunk in the post from big man Matt Costello, and they were off and rolling. Boston College would hang around for the first few minutes of the game, Baskets from Eli Carter and Jerome Robinson helped the Eagles keep pace with Michigan State, but the Spartans would slowly pull away.
Eron Harris kicked off a 9 – 2 run for the Spartans with a jumper, and the Spartans would slowly build on their lead as the first half wore on. They would stretch the lead to 8 with 9:18 to go in the first half on a three pointer from Bryn Forbes, but the Eagles would still hang around.
Four straight points from Carter brought Boston College to within 3, but that was as close as they would get. The Spartans would go on another run on offense to close out the half, and took a double-digit lead into the break.
Lourawls Nairn, Jr. and Denzel Valentine did most of the damage down the stretch, as Michigan State used a 23 – 13 run to close out the first half to enter the break with a 46 – 33 advantage over the Eagles.
The second half began the exact same way that the first half did for the Spartans, with a Matt Costello dunk in the paint. Boston College would trim the lead to 10, but couldn’t cut it down to single digits, and Michigan State had it in cruise control.
After the first half, Denzel Valentine was on triple-double watch after recording 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. With the game slowly getting out of reach for the Eagles, and Izzo seemingly having his 500th win under wraps, the attention switched to Valentine as the team wanted to get him another triple-double performance.
Strong shooting from the Spartans as a team put the game out of reach, and it was only a matter of time for Valentine. With 4:13 left on the clock, Valentine found freshman Deyonta Davis for a jumper, and that was his 10th assist on the game to complete the feat.
Michigan State was consistent and effective throughout the entire contest, and put together a complete performance as they knocked off the Boston College Eagles by a score of 99 – 68 in their opener in the Wooden Legacy.
For the Eagles, Eli Carter scored a team-high 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field. Sammy Barnes-Thompkins was the only other player for the Eagles to reach double-figures in points, recording 11 off the bench.
As for the Michigan State Spartans, senior guard Denzel Valentine led the way with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in the victory. The triple-double puts him one away from tying Draymond Green for the most in Spartans’ history.
Lourawls Nairn, Jr. chipped in with 13 point and 8 assists, while freshman forward Deyonta Davis recorded 10 points off the bench on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor.
With the loss, the Boston College Eagles (3 – 1) suffer their first defeat of the season. They will take on UC Irvine in the Consolation Bracket of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy.
The win was another impressive performance for the Michigan State Spartans (5 – 0), and sends them into the semi-finals. They will take on Boise State on Friday for a chance to advance to the Championship of the Wooden Legacy.