Despite being his team clearly being in control despite some sloppy play, Tom Izzo wasn’t happy going into the halftime break with his Spartans squad only leading Ohio State by seven. Things would change, and change quickly in the second half as the Spartans cruised home with a dominant win.
With potential National Player of the Year Denzel Valentine in total control, Michigan State did what they should get against a young Buckeyes squad. Even though Valentine was doing nearly everything that his coach could have wanted through the opening 20 minutes the Spartans weren’t able to gain separation.
A big reason for that was the lack of typical impressive outside shooting for the Spartans. Michigan State only shot 4-14 from deep in the first half, including Bryn Forbes only going 1-4.
The second half start would prove to be different and for all intents and purposes the game was over before the first media stoppage in the first half.
Eron Harris started things off with a layup and then a three from Valentine and another from Harris ballooned the lead out to 15 and Michigan State would never look back.
The young Buckeyes suffered from the not ideal combination of numerous turnovers and missed shots. That led to prolonged scoring droughts and the Spartans just kept taking advantage.
By the midway point in the second half the only real intrigue was figuring out if Valentine would get a triple-double or not.
When Valentine checked out at the 5:28 mark he had 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. So while he fell just short of the elusive triple-double the impressive showing didn’t go without notice, and Ohio State simply had no answer at any point in time during the game.
Mercifully the buzzer sounded and the scoreboard showed Michigan State winning 81-54. This is the third time in as many weeks that the Spartans have manhandled the Buckeyes.
Along with Valentine, Michigan State put Harris and freshman Deyonta Davis in double figures. Ohio State was led by freshman JaQuan Lyle who had 10 points.
Now Michigan State awaits the winner of Maryland and Nebraska. The Spartans actually lost to Nebraska without Valentine, but came back and got the best of Maryland the next game.