Post Game Notes Provided By Michigan State Athletics.
Senior Denzel Valentine became just the fourth player in MSU history to record a triple-double. Valentine finished the night against Kansas with 29 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds. Earvin Johnson holds the Spartan record with eight triple-doubles in his storied career, as Draymond Green tallied three and Charlie Bell one. One of Johnson’s eight came against Kansas back on Feb. 4, 1979. He dropped 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 11 assists. Valentine and Johnson are the only two players to ever post triple doubles against the Jayhawks.
Michigan State is 4-1 in the last five outings against ranked opponents dating back to the Spartans 60-54 victory over No. 6 Virginia in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on March 22, 2015. Tuesday’s win against the Jayhawks marks the highest ranked team MSU has beaten since defeating No. 3/4 Virginia on March 28, 2014 in the Sweet Sixteen.
The Spartans have had two top-five victories in the Champions Classic after Tuesday’s win against No. 4/5 Kansas. The first came against No. 1 Kentucky on Nov. 12, 2013, at the United Center. MSU is now tied for the best record in the Champions Classic at 3-2.
Valentine’s 29 points and 12 assists against Kansas set new career highs. His previous best in both categories were 27 against Minnesota on Dec. 12, 2015 and nine done most recently against FAU last time out on Nov. 13.
Freshman Matt McQuaid, who came to East Lansing tabbed one of the purest shooters in his recruiting class, knocked down the first 3-point field goal of his career on Tuesday night. McQuaid found the bottom of the net two more times late to finish 3-of-3 from distance and with nine points.
Senior Matt Costello ended the game with 10 points. MSU is 13-2 when he scores in double figures.
Redshirt senior Colby Wollenman matched his career high in points, knocking down a pair of free throws and hitting a layup under the hoop in the first half against the Jayhawks. Wollenman also set a career high in rebounds, grabbing six. His previous high was five, which he recorded on three occasions including against Kansas on Nov. 30, 2014.
MSU went on an 18-5 run with 3:30 to play to take its first lead since the 15:57 mark in the first half when it was 6-5 in the Spartans’ favor. Valentine either scored or assisted on each of the 18 points.
Sophomore Javon Bess, senior Matt Costello, senior Bryn Forbes, sophomore Tum Tum Nairn Jr. and senior Denzel Valentine got the start against No. 4/5 Kansas on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic. Michigan State is 2-0 with the combination starting.
Senior Bryn Forbes improved his 3-point shooting streak knocking one down from distance at the 13:06 mark to bring his streak to 94 games with a 3-point field goal in 105 career outings. Forbes went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and posted 13 points.
The Sexton connection stayed strong between prep teammates Forbes and Valentine, as all of Forbes’ 3-point field goals were assisted by Valentine.
After facing a 13-point first half deficit, Michigan State cut it to six points with 1:18 to play off a pair of Colby Wollenman free throws. The Spartans went into the locker room with a 41-35 deficit.
Twelve different Spartans saw action on Tuesday night, with nine finding their way onto the scoresheet.
Forbes and Valentine led Michigan State at the break with eight points each. Forbes and Valentine finished the game with 13 and 29, respectively.