Michigan State trumps Rider for spot in Orlando Classic semifinal


Ty Wright / Valencia Voice

Travis Trice had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists for Michigan State on Thursday.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Denzel Valentine had 19 points as the Michigan State Spartans routed the Rider Broncs 77-45 on Thursday in the Orlando Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Valentine was on fire from behind the three-point line as the junior guard shot 5-8 from beyond the arc, scoring 15 of his 19 points on threes. He was 0-2 from three-point land during the opening half and then went 5-6 in the second half.

“Coach does a good job of going to me even when I’m missing shots,” said Valentine about his second half three-point outburst.

Michigan State controlled the game from the starting tip-off as they started the game on an 10-1 run during the opening 3:38, but then Rider went on a 5-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 10-6. That was as close as the Broncs would get before the Spartans would start to run away with it.

The Spartans later went on a 11-1 run that gave them a 21-7 lead with 6:57 remaining in the first half and there wasn’t much looking back from there.

Michigan State went into halftime with a 32-11 lead, as the Spartans outrebounded the Broncs 27-15. Rider couldn’t get anything to fall during the first half, as the Broncs were shooting 13.8 percent at the half. Travis Trice led the way at halftime with his eight points in the opening half. He’d only have two more points in the second half.

“I think it was 50-50, Rider didn’t shot as well as I’ve seen then, I like those guards a lot, I think they’re good and I thought they got off to a bad start,” said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo after the game. “But I did think our defense was pretty good, so I thought it was six and one half dozen of the other.”

Things didn’t go much better for Rider during the second half, as the Broncs were outscored 45-34 in the final 20 minutes, but the Broncs did improve their shooting to 36.4 percent for the final half, bringing their percentage from the floor to 25.8 for the game. Rider made only one three-pointer throughout the game.

Rider’s only bright spot of the game was big man Matt Lopez, who led the broncs with 14 points while going 5-9 from the field.

The Spartans had four different players in double figures for the game, including Bryn Forbes with 15, Gavin Schilling with his 10 points and Trice, who had 10.

With the win Michigan State will move on to the semifinal, where they will face the winner of Marquette vs. Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. EST on Friday.

“We want to win and we know this is only preparing us for the national tournament come March and April,” said Trice. “So we’re kind of using this as a trial run and we want to go out and we want to go out and win this.”