MSU coasts to 98-54 victory in first game on Italy trip
After a few days of seeing the sights, Michigan State's basketball team opened is trip to Italy with a 98-54 victory over Basket Fiorentina, a professional team in Florence.
Bryn Forbes scored 18 points to lead the Spartans while Denzel Valentine added 16 points. Michigan State shot 57.6 percent from the field.
"All in all, I thought we shot it really well," coach Tom Izzo said. " Valentine and Forbes were great. I thought (Gavin) Schilling played better the second half. We got something out of a lot of different guys. There were a lot of positives, but we have to keep in mind that was a club team, and now we will play three national teams. It's going to be a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot different."
Michigan State's trip continues with three games in three nights against stiffer competition. It begins Friday in Trieste against the Russian national team followed by meetings with the Italian and Georgian national teams.
Tuesday, however, the Spartans got everyone plenty of work and led 47-33 at halftime.
The Spartans put the game away early in the second half, outscoring the home team, 13-4 in the first 3:38, as they hit three of their first four 3-point attempts to open the half. At the end of three quarters, MSU held a 70-47 lead, as Valentine scored 10 points in the quarter.
Marvin Clark Jr. scored 14 and had seven rebounds while freshman Deyonta Davis scored 10 and grabbed eight rebounds. Schilling added 12 points.
Tum Tum Nairn Jr. led MSU with eight assists, while Valentine added seven. Michigan State .471 from 3-point range (8-17) and .778 from the foul line (14-18).
"I thought we were locked in," Izzo said. "The only thing we did wrong was when we made some turnovers. We made a lot of free throws tonight, which is encouraging. We shot the ball well from three. Defensively I thought we were pretty good. We took some chances. Some things we haven't covered yet, that you forget to cover and all of a sudden there were a couple plays that they ran that created some problems for us. We made some adjustments at halftime. I was really pleased, but I'm trying to keep it in perspective.
"We tried to go in with about four different lineups, that we wanted to make sure who played well together. We did that — some were positive, some were negative. You put Matt McQuaid in a tough position and play him at the point most of the game, and he's never played there in his life. I thought he was adequate. Kyle (Ahrens) struggled a little bit at times. DD (Deyonta Davis) was pretty good at times. But all three of them, for freshmen, being in a foreign country for their first game, I was pretty pleased with it."