EAST LANSING, Mich. – Denzel Valentine's shooting touch returned just in time to help Michigan State avoid an upset against its biggest rival.
Valentine had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the Spartans held Michigan scoreless in overtime, outlasting the Wolverines 76-66 on Sunday. Michigan State recovered from a poor start offensively and allowed only two Michigan baskets over the last 10 minutes of the game.
"It got scary, but at the end of the day, it's a rivalry game," Valentine said. "A lot of people thought it was going to be easy."
With two of their best players on crutches, the Wolverines (13-9, 6-4 Big Ten) pushed Michigan State throughout, but the Spartans (15-7, 6-3) finally put Michigan away in the extra session. Branden Dawson had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello scored 10 points each for Michigan State.
Spike Albrecht and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 18 points apiece for Michigan, which was without injured guards Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton. Zak Irvin added 11 points for the Wolverines.
LeVert is out for the season with a foot injury, and Walton has been dealing with a toe problem that apparently isn't going away any time soon.
Michigan State shot 29 percent in the first half and 71 percent in the second.
Valentine was coming off a 2-for-13 showing in a win at Rutgers. He was shooting only 29 percent from three-point range in league play before connecting four times from beyond the arc in the first half.
"Denzel worked on it hard just like I knew he would," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said.
Valentine did miss one big free throw — the front end of a one-and-one with 31 seconds left and Michigan State up by two. Max Bielfeldt tied it at 66 on a tip-in with 20 seconds remaining, and Travis Trice missed a three-pointer in the final seconds for the Spartans.