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Valentine lifts Spartans

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Denzel Valentine was calm on a court filled with relative chaos, taking shots when they were there and making passes when a teammate had a better look.

Valentine had 30 points, 13 assists and only one turnover to help No. 8 Michigan State pull away to beat Indiana 88-69 Sunday — Valentine's Day.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo was told he should schedule more games on Valentine's Day even though his star is in his last season of eligibility. The national player of the year candidate, meanwhile, dismissed the significance of playing well on the holiday that bears his name.

"It wasn't even about that," Valentine said. "It was just about getting the win. We lost Tuesday and felt we should've won that game."

The Spartans (21-5, 8-5 Big Ten) bounced back from a one-point overtime loss at No. 18 Purdue. Matt Costello scored a career-high 22 and grabbed 11 rebounds, and fellow senior Bryn Forbes had 14 points.

"Our three seniors were the difference in the game," Izzo said. "And, you hope that's the way it's supposed to be."

The Spartans, who trailed by 10 with 7:58 left in the first half, closed the half with a 9-0 run to take a one-point lead. They went on a 24-3 run to go ahead by 17 midway through the second half.

"We just had to relax," Valentine said.

Valentine's poised leadership proved to be pivotal.

"We didn't put enough pressure on him," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "We didn't make him uncomfortable."

The Hoosiers (20-6, 10-3) fell out of a tie for first place in the conference with Iowa, which they beat on the road Thursday.

"We were better a few nights ago," Crean said. "Much better."

NO. 4 IOWA 75, MINNESOTA 71: Peter Jok had 27 points and Jarrod Uthoff 24 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks as the host Hawkeyes (20-5, 11-2 Big Ten) survived a surprising upset bid from the Golden Gophers, who fell to 0-13 in the conference.

NO. 9 UNC 85, PITT 64: Brice Johnson scored 19 for the host Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 ACC), who shot 59 percent in their best performance in weeks. North Carolina finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and 16 fastbreak points — more than they had in their past three games combined.

NO. 17 ARIZONA 86, NO. 23 USC 80: Gabe York scored 17 for the host Wildcats (21-5, 9-4 Pac-12), who held off a rally by the Trojans (18-7, 7-5) to move into a tie for first place.


AUBURN 80, NO. 16 UF 59: Katie Frerking scored 11 of her 18 in the fourth quarter to help the host Tigers (18-8, 8-5 SEC) win their fifth straight and vault past the Gators (19-6, 7-5) in the conference standings.

NO. 10 FSU 94, UNC 63: Adut Bulgak had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead the host Seminoles (21-4, 11-1 ACC) to their biggest victory ever against the Tar Heels (14-13, 4-8).

NO. 1 UCONN 85, TEMPLE 60: Moriah Jefferson had 25 points, eight assists and eight steals to help the visiting Huskies (24-0, 13-0 AAC) to their 61st straight victory and 101st in a row against unranked teams.

NO. 3 N. DAME 90, NO. 19 MIAMI 69: Arike Ogunbowale had 18 points for the host Fighting Irish (24-1, 12-0 ACC), who won their 17th straight. Notre Dame handed the Hurricanes (22-4, 9-4) their worst loss since a 21-point defeat to Syracuse two seasons ago.

NO. 5 MARYLAND 79, N'WESTERN 70: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 27 for the visiting Terrapins (23-3, 12-2 Big Ten), who never trailed in their 11th victory in 12 games.

NO. 21 OKLA. 74, NO. 6 TEXAS 56: Vionese Pierre-Louis scored 17 for the host Sooners (17-7, 8-5 Big 12), who held the Longhorns (22-2, 11-2) to 29 percent shooting (18-of-62) from the floor.

NO. 7 OHIO ST. 77, PENN ST. 63: Ameryst Alston hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 26 points as the visiting Buckeyes (21-4, 13-1 Big Ten) won their ninth straight.

NO. 8 OREGON ST. 72, UTAH 53: Jamie Weisner tied career highs with 27 points and four steals as the host Beavers (22-3, 13-1 Pac-12) won their 12th straight.

NO. 14 UCLA 63, WASH. 59: Jordin Canada scored 16, including the clinching free throws with 2.3 seconds left, and added seven rebounds, nine assists and six steals for the host Bruins (19-6, 11-3 Pac-12).

NEBRASKA 73, NO. 17 MICH. ST. 66: Jessica Shepard scored 26 to become the first Cornhuskers freshman to surpass 500 points as host Nebraska ended a 10-game losing streak against ranked teams by upsetting the Spartans (18-7, 9-5 Big Ten).

NO. 18 KENTUCKY 71, VANDY 55: Alexis Jennings had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the visiting Wildcats (17-6, 6-6 SEC).

NO. 23 DEPAUL 102, BUTLER 63: Chanise Jenkins and Jessica January scored 17 each as the host Blue Demons (21-7, 13-2 Big East) won their fifth straight.

Valentine lifts Spartans 02/14/16 [Last modified: Sunday, February 14, 2016 11:11pm]
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