Michigan State holds off Louisville to remain undefeated

No. 3 Michigan State used a second-half surge to come from behind against No. 24 Louisville and came out on top 71-67 at the Breslin Center. Star guard Denzel Valentine led the way with 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds while Bryn Forbes drilled five three-pointers and finished with 20 points. Freshman Kenny Goins added a career-best 13 rebounds off the bench.

Based on the first half of the game, it looked like Louisville’s great on-ball defense would stifle the Spartans’ hot-shooting ways. More than half of Michigan State’s 16 turnovers came in the first half, but Sparty got some momentum heading into the second half thanks to a circus shot from Valentine.

Louisville came out strong in the second half, with leading scorer Damion Lee opening the second half scoring with a one-handed jam, and Michigan State once again struggled to keep up with Rick Pitino’s fast and tough system. But the Brick Shot Fairy picked Louisville as its target that night and for much of the second half, both teams traded baskets.

But it was a game-tying three from Forbes that made the score 53-53 and then a g0-ahead jumper by Goins that gave Michigan State its first lead of the game. Following a few more traded baskets, Valentine nailed a three to put Sparty up 61-58 and Deyonta Davis threw down a dunk, and the rest was history. Michigan State remained undefeated and Louisville is likely going to be gone from the rankings once again just as quickly as the Cardinals arrived there.

Michigan State just looked great tonight. Even in the face of adversity, Tom Izzo instilled his never-say-die attitude into his players and made sure that there was constant ball movement and communication on the court. The team out-rebounded Louisville 40-30 and dished out 17 assists to Louisville’s seven.

That can be attributed to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis accounting for 44 of the Cardinals’ 67 points, as nobody else on Louisville was able to get the ball rolling. On top of that, Louisville’s bigs in Chinanu Onuaku and Mangok Mathiang just couldn’t finish around the rim. The team’s record is only 5-1 at this point and this loss is nothing to be concerned about, but Louisville’s absence from the rankings most of the season thus far is puzzling. Should the team shake this off quickly, however, Louisville could soon be back in the rankings.

Michigan State next takes on the America East’s Binghamton Catamounts at home, while Louisville will host the WAC’s Grand Canyon Antelopes.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports