One year ago on Valentine’s Day, then-junior Denzel Valentine broke the hearts of Ohio State fans with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to down the Buckeyes. A year later, Valentine and the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans were back home, this time welcoming in the Big Ten leading yet unranked Indiana Hoosiers.
Same day, just a different year, Valentine puts together another strong performance as Michigan State cruises past Indiana, 88-69.
Valentine shot one heart after another into the hearts of IU faithful on the afternoon. The midseason Wooden Award candidate finished with 30 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals. He shot 11-19 from the floor, including 5-8 from 3-point range. It was the fourth consecutive game of netting at least 20 points for the Big Ten’s leading scorer.
Senior Matt Costello had another impressive showing, totaling 22 points and grabbing 11 boards, his seventh double-double of the season. Bryn Forbes finished with 14 of his own on Sunday.
Michigan State (21-5, 8-5 Big Ten) got to see sopohomre point guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. return to action for the first time in a month. ‘Tum Tum’ played just three minutes and recorded an assist coming off the bench midway through the first half.
The Hoosiers (20-6, 10-3 Big Ten) at one point had a 10-point lead in the first 20 minutes, but cooled off considerably and was down 41-40 at halftime. A pair of near-four-minute scoring droughts hurt Indiana, causing them to fall behind to the point where it was too late to match MSU’s 57.6 percent shooting from the field.
Senior Max Bielfieldt led the way for Inidana with 15 points, converting on three of his five attempts from downtown. MSU kept Hoosiers’ star Yogi Ferrell in check, as he ended the day with just nine points and seven assists.
Michigan State will stay home and re-take the floor on Thursday when they welcome in a red-hot Wisconsin club that has won seven straight games and just upset No. 2 Maryland in College Park. That tilt is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Indiana, now falling into a tie for second place in the conference, will head home and host Nebraska on Wednesday the 17th (8:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network).