Chicago — Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine’s triple-double made up of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in Tuesday night’s 79-73 victory over Kansas University evoked big names from the Spartan’s rich basketball tradition.
“He’s like Draymond (Green, now with Golden State Warriors),” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “There’s a million things that he’s not good enough at, but winning is something he’s good enough at. Work ethic is something he’s good enough at. Basketball IQ is something he’s good enough at. Those things just won us a big game.
View a gallery of images from Tuesday night's Champions Classic game between the Jayhawks and Spartans at United Center in Chicago.
Bill Self tries to make sense of KU's Champions Classic loss to Michigan State
“When I heard you say that Magic (Johnson) was the only (triple-double) against Kansas, that’s good company. There have only been four at Michgian State (Magic, Green and Charlie Bell), that’s good company.”
Izzo has notoriously difficult practices at Michigan State and Valentine’s improvement shows they pay dividends.
“I don’t like it at times,” Valentine said. “I want to quit at times.”
Izzo had just walked into the back of the room where the postgame news conference took place.
“So do I,” Izzo said in his unmistakable, coarse voice.
The Spartans’ coach didn’t throw out all compliments about this team’s performance.
“It was a bizarre game,” Izzo said. “I think both of us are going to get a lot better. We both made a lot of mistakes. ... Give us credit and yet Kansas made some mistakes they’re not going to make. That’s a very, very, very, very good team.”
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