Al Goldis
February 01, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) 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 anytime soon.

''We don't anticipate him being back for a while,'' Michigan coach John Beilein said. ''We don't have a definite date yet but it won't be in the foreseeable future.''

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 3-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. ''His shooting doesn't bother me because I know how hard he works at it, and I know it'll come back.''

Valentine did miss one big free throw - the front end of a one-and-one with 31 seconds left and Michigan State up two. Max Bielfeldt tied it at 66 on a tip-in with 20 seconds remaining, and Travis Trice missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds for the Spartans.

TIP-INS

Michigan: Irvin was 5 of 14 from the field. He's shooting 34 percent in Big Ten play.

Michigan State: Trice had nine assists, one more than the whole Michigan team.

SMOTHERING

Michigan took a 61-57 lead with 5:06 remaining on a three-point play by Aubrey Dawkins, but the Spartans didn't allow another point until the final minute of regulation. By then, Michigan State was up by five, but a 3-pointer by Albrecht and Bielfeldt's tip-in forced overtime.

That was all the scoring for Michigan. The Wolverines missed all five of their field goal attempts in overtime, four of which came from 3-point range. Valentine started the extra session with a layup. Costello added the next four Michigan State points and later blocked a shot from beyond the arc by Irvin.

FOUL TROUBLE

Abdur-Rahkman, a freshman who was averaging 2.3 points per game, was in the starting lineup and scored seven in the first half, although he picked up two fouls and played only nine minutes before halftime. Albrecht also had two fouls in the first half.

The Wolverines have been getting by lately using some unusual lineup combinations, and that continued in the first half Sunday. Guard Andrew Dakich, who had played only 14 minutes all season, played 13 in the first half.

Despite Michigan's injury problems, the crowd that came to the Breslin Center in the middle of a snowstorm was treated to quite a game - there were 21 lead changes and nine ties before the Spartans pulled away in overtime.

UP NEXT

Michigan hosts Iowa on Thursday night.

Michigan State hosts Illinois on Saturday.

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