EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Travis Trice had four of Michigan State’s season-high 13 3-pointers, leading the Spartans to a 68-44 victory over lowly Northwestern on Tuesday night.
Trice finished with 16 points and Denzel Valentine scored 14 for the Spartans (16-8, 7-4 Big Ten), who bounced back from a 59-54 home loss to Illinois on Saturday. Bryn Forbes had 11 points, and Branden Dawson added seven points and 10 rebounds.
Playing in a reserve role for the second time this season, Trice was 5 for 11 from the field in 25 minutes. The senior co-captain had started Michigan State’s last eight games.
Northwestern (10-14, 1-10) shot 36 percent (15 for 42) in its 10th consecutive loss. Tre Demps led the Wildcats with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
Michigan State used its outside shooting and stifling defense to put Northwestern away in the first half. Forbes and Marvin Clark Jr. each hit two 3s as the Spartans scored 22 consecutive points to open a 38-13 lead with 1:40 to go.
Demps’ foul shot with 46 seconds remaining was Northwestern’s only point in the final 10:46. Demps was 4 for 7 from the field in the first half while the rest of the Wildcats were 0 for 15.
Valentine opened the second half with another 3, and the Spartans led by as many as 35 on their way to their sixth consecutive victory over the Wildcats. Valentine also had a nice fast-break lob to Dawson for an alley-oop jam with 5:19 to go.
The crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena did get to watch a close game in the second half, with parts of No. 1 Kentucky’s 71-69 win at LSU being shown on the overhead video screen.
The Wildcats played without starting guard JerShon Cobb, who was out with a right foot injury. Sophomore forward Nathan Taphorn missed his seventh consecutive game with a right foot injury.
Cobb also was sidelined for five straight games in December due to various injuries. The 6-foot-5 senior was shut out in 16 minutes in Saturday’s 65-50 loss at No. 5 Wisconsin and is averaging 5.8 points in 18 games after he was second on the team last season with 12.2 points per game.
Michigan State: Coach Tom Izzo improved to 32-4 all-time against Northwestern and also moved into a tie with former Purdue coach Ward Lambert for third on the career Big Ten victories list with 228. Bob Knight is on top with 353 Big Ten wins with Indiana, and Gene Keady is second with 265 conference wins at Purdue. … The Spartans have not lost consecutive games this season.
Northwestern: Former Northwestern forward Drew Crawford was greeted with a loud ovation when he was introduced in the first half. Crawford, who graduated last year, ranks second in school history with 1,920 career points. … The last three losses of Northwestern’s slide have been by at least 15 points.
Michigan State hosts No. 23 Ohio State on Saturday.
Northwestern hosts Iowa on Sunday.
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