Mike Carter USA TODAY SPORTS

Tom Izzo's team was too much for visiting Illinois as the Michigan State Spartans crushed the Illini 79-54 at home.

Michigan State hosted Illinois for their Big Ten home opener and flexed their muscle crushing the Illini 79-54 in front of 14,797 fans. The 25-point margin of victory was the largest against the Illini in program history as the Spartans moved to 15-1 on the season.

The Michigan State Spartans moved to 15-1 on the season after jumping on Illinois early.

Tom Izzo watched as four Spartans scored in double figures on the night led by Bryn Forbes, who's been picking up the slack in the absence of standout Denzel Valentine.  However, Izzo is not sure if he’s seen the best of Forbes.

“I didn’t think Bryn had his best game,” said Izzo.  “He can make shots, but he’s been playing a lot better defensively and he’s been rebounding better.”

One thing Izzo revealed following the game was just how close Valentine is in returning to the Spartans line up.

“Denzel practiced last night pretty well,” he said.  “I thought maybe we were going to play him.  In the walkthrough, he wasn’t his bubbly self, so I made a Mateen Cleaves decision not to play him.  He could have played, wanted to play, but he wasn’t there yet.”

Forbes knows life without Valentine has allowed others to step forward, contribute and show what they can do.

Matt Costello played well.  Eron Harris played well, Tum Tum (Nairn) played well,” he said.  “Everybody played well today.  It was just nice to see that with Denzel out we were able to get a little more form everybody.”

Harris was the Spartans second leading scorer on the night with 13 points while Costello pulled down a team high 14 rebounds as the Spartans shot just over 53-percent from the field and pulled down 19 more boards than the Illini.

The Spartans will hit the road again Saturday when they travel to Penn State for a noon tip.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan State Spartans
Jan 7, 2016 1ST 2ND SCORE
Illinois (8-8) 22 32 54
#5 Michigan State (15-1) 47 32 79
Illinois Fighting Illini
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Michael Finke 30 2-10 1-3 0-0 7 2 1 0 1 5
Maverick Morgan 30 2-9 0-0 11-14 3 1 0 1 0 15
Jaylon Tate 20 1-5 0-2 0-0 1 2 2 0 2 2
Jalen Coleman-Lands 22 3-10 0-4 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 6
Malcolm Hill 23 4-10 0-2 2-2 6 0 0 0 1 10
Michigan State Spartans
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Matt Costello 20 4-10 0-0 1-3 14 1 1 2 1 9
Gavin Schilling 17 4-4 0-0 0-0 2 1 0 0 0 8
Bryn Forbes 25 7-13 3-6 0-0 1 3 1 0 1 17
Lourawls Nairn Jr 24 2-3 0-0 0-0 3 6 0 0 2 4
Eron Harris 22 5-9 1-2 2-2 3 2 0 0 4 13

Spartan Nation Top Stories