Message is loud and clear: When Bryn Forbes is on, Michigan State is tough to stop

Bryn Forbes of the Michigan State Spartans reacts to sinking a three-pointer in the second half against Louisville during the East Regional Final of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday in Syracuse, N.Y. Michigan State won 76-70 to advance to the Final Four.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine had his back to the conversation when a reporter asked teammate Bryn Forbes if he was “in a zone” Tuesday against Ohio State.

That didn’t stop Valentine from barging in with an answer.

“Yeah,” Valentine said. “‘Woooooooo’ after every shot.”

Forbes laughed while trying to explain how working through screens helped him hit 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range in an 81-62 win at Value City Arena. Valentine continued the conversation with a Spartans staffer.

“Did you hear him?” Valentine said. “‘Woooooooo’ after every shot.”

The two teammates since high school might talk through each other in the locker room, but there was no mistaking their rhythm against the Buckeyes. Forbes finished with 27 points. Valentine added 17 points and eight assists. The Spartans tied a season high by shooting 14 of 22 from 3, and Forbes led the onslaught with six second-half 3s.

That improved his season 3-point percentage to 49.4, which ranks among the elite shooters in the nation.

“It felt great,” Forbes said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do for us. It helps us in a different way. I felt like I played OK.”

Just OK? Forbes had what Michigan State coach Tom Izzo labeled a “career night,” a night in which Forbes repeatedly erased Buckeyes threats in the second half. When Ohio State cut the lead to 36-34, Forbes hit back-to-back from deep for an eight-point lead. From there, Forbes’ triples helped keep the lead at double digits.

“When he’s hot like that I’m like, ‘Where is Bryn at?’” Valentine said. “I want to get as much assists as I can. When he’s playing like that it works out for me.”

Forbes later added a dagger sequence; he hit a jumper that pushed the lead to 71-58, then found Matt Costello for a breakaway dunk that led to a white-flag timeout by the Buckeyes. Forbes sprinted to the sideline pumping his fist.

“If you looked, he had two assists, three rebounds, zero turnovers and was 7 of 10,” Izzo said. “He misses the first free throw of the night and just about made every other shot.

“Forbes was brilliant tonight. He deserves every bit of credit he should get.”

Forbes’ hot shooting might be just as vital to another deep Spartans NCAA Tournament run as the steady hand of Valentine, a first-team All-American candidate.

When Forbes is on, opponents are in trouble. The Spartans are 17-0 when he hits at least three 3-pointers, and they beat teams by an average of 17.1 points per game when he hits at least four 3-pointers in a game.

On nights like Tuesday, forget about it. The only game in which Forbes hit more this season was on Feb. 6 when he made 8 of 10 from 3 in an 89-73 win against Michigan.

Valentine said he has seen games like that since the fifth and sixth grade. Forbes said it doesn’t matter if future opponents face-guard him. With “great plays, great screens, great passing,” nights like this are possible.

Just OK, if you ask Forbes. Or you could just listen to him on the court.

“Woooooooo” after every shot, right?

“Every day after practice, we see all the one guards shooting extra, all the bigs shooting extra,” he said. “I don’t think confidence is . . . I mean, I think we’re all very confident with the work we’ve put in. It’s paying off.”

Source: MSN Sports

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