Orlando,FL – Michigan State used a stifling defense to sprint out to a 32-11 halftime lead and rode the strong three-point shooting of junior wing Denzel Valentine to defeat Rider 77-45 in game three of the Orlando Classic on the grounds of Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
Valentine made five-of-eight attempts from behind the arc in scoring a career high 19 points to lead the Spartans to their sixth victory in seven games. After missing both of his three point shots in the first half, Valentine heated up after the break making five-of-six shots from distance to lead the Spartans in a game they were never threatened.
Bryn Forbes, a high school teammate of Valentine’s at Sexton High School in Lansing, Michigan, chipped in with 15 points and Travis Trice and Gavin Schilling scored ten points each. Trice led the Spartans with eight first half points as they built their huge lead. Transitioning to the point guard position after playing mostly off the ball in his first three years at Michigan State, Trice got the Spartans into their fast-paced offense and finished with a team-high four assists.
Marquette rode the white-hot left hand of fifth-year senior guard Matt Carlino to a 72-70 victory over Georgia Tech in the last game of the opening round on Thanksgiving night. Carlino’s 38 points established a career high and broke the tournament’s individual scoring record of 32 points set by Butler’s Kellen Dunham in a game against Washington State in 2013.
Carlino brought a modest 8.5 ppg scoring average into the game while making the transition to Marquette after playing at BYU and UCLA. But the veteran guard came out quickly making all five of his baskets in the first half from behind the arc to help Marquette stay close to Georgia Tech and trail by two points, 31-29, at the break. Carlino scored off the dribble and off the catch, scoring both to his right and left. He stayed hot in the second half converting three more shots from behind the three-point line to finish with eight three-pointers for the night, but he also did major damage to Georgia Tech’s hopes for a late night win by making 14-of-16 shots from the free throw line in the second half to help Marquette seal the victory.
Carlino entered the game coming off perhaps his worst game as a collegiate when he missed all five of his field goal attempts and scored only one point in a 62-57 Marquette victory over NJIT on November 24 in Milwaukee. Looking to make amends and send Marquette into the championship round, Carlino supplemented his long-range shooting with hard drives to the basket in the second half to draw contact, get to the free throw line and score from the stripe to help Marquette to a second half lead and eventual victory.
With the win, Marquette improved to 3-2 and sent the Golden Eagles into a Friday semi-final game at 9 pm with #20/19 ranked Michigan State.
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