No. 13 Michigan State beats Florida Atlantic 82-55 in opener
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Matt Costello's career has been underwhelming for a former Mr. Basketball winner in Michigan, averaging just four points and three rebounds over his first three seasons.
It looks as if he might be ready for a big senior year.
Costello had 15 points, two shy of his career high, and seven rebounds, leading the 13th-ranked Spartans to an 82-55 victory over Florida Atlantic on Friday night.
If Costello can score in double digits, that would be a bonus for Michigan State after the 6-foot-9 forward had 15 or more just two times previously.
''That would be a big help,'' coach Tom Izzo said.
It is also, according to Izzo, quite possible.
''He's got that nice jump hook,'' Izzo said. ''He has been shooting the ball well.''
Denzel Valentine had 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Izzo lamented that Valentine didn't do enough to finish with a triple-double.
''I thought we were missing a sense of urgency,'' Izzo said.
A third senior, Bryn Forbes, scored 12 points for the Spartans.
Michigan State grabbed control with a 16-0 run early in the first half. It led by 22 points at halftime and maintained a comfortable cushion in the second half.
Izzo still wasn't happy with the results.
''We're never satisfied,'' he said.
The Owls led twice in the opening minutes before they were simply overmatched in the season opener for each school.
C.J. Turman led the Owls with 15 points. Nick Rutherford and Jackson Trapp each scored 10 points for the Conference USA program.
''It's a great learning experience for our guys,'' Florida Atlantic coach Michael Curry said.
Michigan State's Deyonta Davis started strong in his debut, scoring nine points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots in the first half. The athletic, 6-foot-10 forward finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
''I was just trying to show what I could do,'' Davis said.
Davis became the third player in school history to have at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in his debut, joining Derrick Nix and Matt Steigenga.
''Quite a feat,'' Izzo said.
Florida Atlantic: Curry, a former Detroit Pistons coach, is hoping to fare much better than he did last season when he won just nine games in his first year at the Boca Raton, Florida-based school. ''If we can get to the middle of the pack in conference play that would be a huge stride,'' he said. Curry's top assistant is Eric Snow, who graduated from Michigan State after the 1994-95 season in Izzo's last year as a Jud Heathcote assistant. ''I haven't been here for a game since Draymond Green's senior season,'' Snow said before the game, referring to the fourth-year forward for the Golden State Warriors. Snow's return was recognized by the public-address announcer during a first-half timeout, and he was warmly welcomed back.
Michigan State: The Spartans have an influx of newcomers, including Davis, fellow freshman Matt McQuaid and West Virginia transfer Eron Harris. They will, however, lean heavily on a trio of seniors: Costello, Valentine and Forbes.
Florida Atlantic hosts Warner on Tuesday.
Michigan State plays No. 4 Kansas on Tuesday in Chicago. ''We're going to learn a lot about our team,'' Izzo said. ''Kansas has a lot of veterans, especially their inside guys.''
Michigan State junior forward Gavin Schilling, who is expected to be a key part of the rotation, is out indefinitely with a toe injury. Schilling, wearing a walking boot to protect his left foot, said he didn't know how many more games he would miss.
Izzo expects Schilling to miss the next game against Kansas and he ruled out forward Marvin Clark, who is recovering from a stress reaction in his left foot.
Curry said freshman forward Jesse Hill didn't play because of an ankle injury and Solomon Poole didn't make the trip, declining to say why the senior guard didn't travel to East Lansing.
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