Spartans Top Northeastern, Match Best Start in School History

The top-ranked Michigan State basketball team will travel home from its first true road game of the year as history-makers.

A 78-58 victory over the host Northeastern Huskies (7-4) moved the Spartans to 12-0 on the season, tying the 2000-01 team for the best start in school history. These Spartans took a few punches in the first ten minutes but pulled away for the remainder of the game.

Early on, the Spartans couldn’t match Northeastern’s intensity. Playing in front of an excited home crowd in Boston’s historic Matthews Arena, the visiting team started out sluggish. The Huskies jumped out to a 13-10 lead, but the more astounding margin was the rebounding total; coach Tom Izzo’s squad was being outrebounded 14-5 with 11:30 left in the first half. Without getting rebounds, it was tough for the Spartans to get out to their usual transition game.

Izzo saw this trend and ripped into the squad during the following media timeout, and it was all Spartans after that. They grabbed rebounds, dove on the floor for loose balls, and executed on both ends of the court. At one point later in the first half, Izzo nearly tackled senior guard Bryn Forbes (lovingly) after diving on the ground for a stray ball.

Forbes (12 points) was part of an MSU backcourt that led an offensive charge for the rest of the game. Wooden Award hopeful Denzel Valentine took control of the game as he’s been accustomed to doing; he scored 17 points and hit big shots whenever the Huskies threatened to make a comeback.  Sophomore point guard Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn (11 points) was impressive running the floor and scoring athletic layups.

The Spartan big men were solid, led by Matt Costello’s 8 points. Kenny Goins came in late and showed efficiency, hitting all three of his shots.

The biggest news of the day might have been the return of junior forward Gavin Schilling, who came off the bench to play in his first game of the season. After battling turf toe for the last couple months, Schilling showed his athleticism early, slamming a Valentine lob in with one hand. He ran the court well and seemed healthy, but picked up four fouls for the day.

Izzo shuffled lineups throughout the game, so there weren’t any crazy individual stat lines. But this allowed twelve Spartans to score, showing off the team’s supreme depth.

The Spartans will look to make the record to begin a season their own against Oakland University next Tuesday Dec. 22 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM.