Denzel Valentine lifts No. 13 MSU over No. 4 Kansas with triple-double
No. 13 Michigan State roars past No. 4 Kansas
Denzel Valentine records a triple-double of 29 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds, and Michigan State erases an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Kansas 79-73.
CHICAGO -- Denzel Valentine joined some pretty elite company in Michigan State basketball history.
The senior guard had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for the 13th triple-double in Spartans' history, and No. 13 Michigan State rallied for a 79-73 victory over No. 4 Kansas on Tuesday in the Champions Classic.
Valentine flirted with a triple-double -- 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists -- in the season opener against Florida Atlantic. He got one against a power program in Kansas, and his points and assists were career highs.
"I didn't know when it was going to come, and I didn't think it was going to come on this stage, this early, but credit to my teammates," Valentine said. "They played a helluva game. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done."
Eight of Michigan State's triple-doubles were by Magic Johnson. Draymond Green had three, and Charlie Bell one. Now add Valentine to that list.
"There's a million things that he's not good enough at, but winning is something he is good enough at, work ethic is something he's good enough at, and basketball IQ is something he's good enough at," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
Kansas (1-1) had a 13-point lead twice in the first half, including 28-15 with 6:16 to go. Michigan State (2-0) was within 41-35 at halftime, but the Jayhawks opened the lead to double figures at 61-50 with 9:42 to go on a long layup by Frank Mason III.
Valentine then scored seven points in a 12-1 run to tie the game at 62 with 6:08 to play.
There were six lead changes the rest of the way, and it was Valentine who put the Spartans ahead for good at 72-71 on a drive with 1:29 left. He recorded 21 of his 29 points in the second half.
Valentine's understudy in the comeback was freshman guard Matt McQuaid, who scored six of his nine points on two 3s in the final 3:54. Then he came up with a huge blocked shot of Mason in the final minute.
"Matt McQuaid -- how about him -- big-time 3s," Valentine said. "He's somebody that impressed me this whole summer and this whole offseason and these first two games. He shows toughness. He always makes the right play. Who would come in as a freshman like that and knock [down] two big, gigantic 3s like that in Chicago, in the United Center, on an NBA floor?
"I wouldn't have done it my freshman year. I'm glad he did it."
Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks with 21 points, Mason added 14, and Wayne Selden Jr. had 12.
"They made some big shots," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "They made some timely 3s, and we just didn't finish down the stretch, I thought, like we did the majority of the first 30 minutes of the game, and Valentine just took over. He was great tonight."
"I've always thought he was a good player, but tonight I think he proved to everybody he's an exceptional player," Self added. "He totally controlled the game when they were coming back."
No. 2 Kentucky beat No. 5 Duke 74-63 in the first game of the doubleheader.
Kansas: The Jayhawks were outrebounded 45-25, but they had the advantage on the offensive glass 12-10. ... Ellis shot 9-for-18 from the field while the rest of the starters were 10-for-37.
Michigan State: Valentine's 12 assists matched Kansas' total for the game. ... The Spartans struggled from 3-point range in the first half (3-of-10), but they rallied in the second half to make 6-of-11. ... Michigan State had eight blocked shots to Kansas' one. In their win over Florida Atlantic, the Spartans had 12 blocks. ... One of Magic Johnson's triple-doubles came against Kansas on Feb. 4, 1979.
CHAMPIONS HISTORY: This was the second time Kansas and Michigan State met in the five years of the Champions Classic. The Spartans beat the Jayhawks 67-64 in 2012 in Atlanta. It's already set that Duke and Kansas will meet in next year's Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
PLAYING THE BEST: Since 1997-98, when Michigan State started its run of 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, the Spartans have played 199 games against ranked opponents. That's the most of any team that appeared in the Final Four since then, followed by North Carolina (182), Texas (173), Duke (173) and Kentucky (170).
Kansas: Meets Chaminade on Nov. 23 in the first round of the Maui Invitational.
Michigan State: Hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday.
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- Terry Oglesby
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