Trice puts Michigan State loss all on his shoulders
East Lansing — There are plenty of reasons Michigan State lost to Minnesota on Thursday, but Travis Trice is certain there is only one — him.
The senior scored 21 points in Minnesota's 96-90 overtime win over Michigan State, but he was just 6-for-13 from the free-throw line, including 2-for-6 in overtime.
"I feel like we beat ourselves, especially me," Trice said. "I take it on me. You go 6-for-13, that is something I've never done before and I'm never going to do it again. I make free throws and we win."
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo didn't put it all on his senior captain, but that didn't make Trice feel any different.
"Yeah, it's on me," Trice said. "If I hit free throws, we win, regardless of what happens. It's on me, nobody else."
What made Trice's performance at the line confounding was that he was 10-for-12 in the win over Illinois on Sunday and, in the closing minutes against Minnesota, it was Trice that appeared to lift the Spartans to a victory with two 3-pointers in the final two-plus minutes.
"I thought Trice did an incredible job tonight," Izzo said. "Missed some free throws, but he was unbelievable in the huddles trying to rally everybody. That poor kid is an 82 percent shooter, and he goes 6-for-13. Maybe this team is not that good and we're just finding ways to stay in games late. You can look at it both ways."
As good as Trice has been from the line in his career, he entered the game shooting 72.3 percent from the line.
"It was one of those freak things," he said. "It happened tonight and it will never happen again."
Valentine walks it off
Denzel Valentine was much better at the line, making 4 of 5, but his miss came in the final seconds when he could have put Michigan State ahead by four. Instead, the lead was three and Minnesota tied it on a 3-pointer from Carlos Morris.
Valentine scored 27 points and had seven rebounds despite injuring his ankle early in the game.
"It is fine now," he said after the game. "It hurt really bad when I did it but it feels better. I felt it go all the way down and it hurt to walk for a second, but I walked it off and tightened up my shoes and I was good."
Thank you, BTN
Thursday was Big Ten Network Appreciation Day at Michigan State, an idea athletic director Mark Hollis came up with in early January to highlight the 10-year anniversary of conference commissioner Jim Delany conceiving the idea of launching a television network.
"We kind of turned it into a celebration of thanks that could perhaps turn into something else," Hollis said. "They are extremely valuable to us. … We wanted to be on the forefront of reaching out and saying thanks to a network that's been so valuable to us."
"BTN Live" aired from Breslin Center before the game. The night was capped by coverage of the Michigan State-Minnesota hockey game from Minneapolis.
Guests on the show included Izzo, football coach Mark Dantonio, football players Connor Cook and Shilique Calhoun, and former quarterback and current NFL player Kirk Cousins.
Michigan State was attempting to win five straight for the first time since last season, when it won three straight to win the Big Ten tournament followed by its first three games in the NCAA Tournament.
The four-game streak the Spartans were on was their second of the season. After losing the second game of the year to Duke, Michigan State won the next four before losing to Kansas.
… Branden Dawson continued to climb the Spartans career blocks list. He had three Thursday, giving him 124, good for third behind second-place Drew Naymick (134).