Bryn Forbes leads No. 2 Michigan State over Rutgers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — The nation’s top 3-point shooter had one of those games that’s going in the record book.
Bryn Forbes scored a career-high 33 points, hitting a Big Ten Conference record 11 3-pointers, and No. 2 Michigan State woke up in the second half to rout Rutgers 97-66 on Wednesday night, handing the Scarlet Knights their 17th straight loss.
“It’s something that means a lot, kind of because I put in a lot of work to try to do things like that,” Forbes said of the record. “For the people to help me, it means a lot. I just can’t remember all the hours I put in. It’s kind of important to me.”
Forbes came into the game, hitting 50 percent of his long-range shots (92 of 184). The senior made 2 of his first 5 and then hit 9 of 11 the rest of the way.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Forbes was incredible in helping Michigan State (25-5, 12-5) win its fifth straight and ninth in 10.
“The job he did, the shots he made - the execution was unbelievable, but if you’re going to have to rely on getting 11 threes - there’s a reason it’s a record, because it doesn’t happen very often,” Izzo said.
Forbes’ 11th 3-pointer came on a fadeaway and it broke the single-game record of 10 set by John Diebler of Ohio State against Penn State in 2011.
“Bryn is a special person,” said Michigan State forward Matt Costello, who added 10 points and matched his career high with 15 rebounds. “He is one of the best shooters I have ever played with in my life.”
Eron Harris added 15 points and Denzel Valentine 14 for the Spartans, who made 16 3-pointers.
If Michigan State beats Ohio State on Saturday in its regular-season finale it will earn a double bye in the conference’s upcoming tournament and the No. 2 seed.
Corey Sanders, who was returning from a four-game suspension, had 19 points for Rutgers (6-23, 0-17). The Scarlet Knights have now lost 32 consecutive conference games dating to last season.
Rutgers needs to beat Minnesota, the second worst team in the conference, to avoid a winless season in the league.
“I don’t particularly look at a streak,” said Scarlet Knights coach Eddie Jordan said, who refused to speculate about his future. “I look at how we need to get better each day. I know the situation for Minnesota, it’s unfortunate for them, but we want our kids to be ready for our terrific game on Saturday.”
For a half, Rutgers had many wondering whether it was going to pull off the greatest upset in program history, topping the win against No. 4 Wisconsin last season.
The Scarlet Knights shot 67 percent from the field, making 16 of 24 shots, with Sanders leading the way with 15.
Only a 3-pointer by Forbes — of course — with 8.4 seconds left in the half gave Michigan State a 43-41 lead, and had many wondering what was going on with the Spartans.
They answered the question in the second half, outscoring Rutgers 20-3 in less than five minutes to take a 63-44 lead. Forbes hit three 3-pointers in the run and that was it.
“Any excuse you find is bad because it’s about to be tournament time around the corner,” Valentine said of the poor first half. “There is no excuse. We just came out flat, didn’t follow our scouting reports and totally disrespected the game. That’s what you get.”
If there was a lowlight in the half for Rutgers, it was Valentine dunking on a 5-on-none break with 5:55 to go.
Earlier in the half, Spartans coach Tom Izzo walked on the court and screamed at Valentine for something that miffed him.
Michigan State: The Spartans tied a school record, hitting 17 three-pointers in a 96-62 win against Rutgers on Jan. 31. Coming into this game, they were leading the nation, making 43.3 percent from long range, with Forbes leading the nation individually at 50 percent.
Rutgers: After its hot shooting first half, the Scarlet Knights shot 8 of 28 in the second half in being outscored 54-25.
Michigan State hosts Ohio State on Saturday.
Rutgers hosts Minnesota on Saturday.