No. 1 Michigan State comes back from 15 down to beat Oakland in overtime

AUBURN HILLS -- Denzel Valentine sat on the end of the bench in street clothes and watched as his Michigan State team faced its largest deficit of the season and a red-hot opposing point guard.

But over a heart-stopping 25 minutes of basketball, the Spartans found a duo to fill in for their superstar, a physical edge and a silver lining from its biggest adversity of the season.

No. 1 Michigan State came back from a 15-point first-half deficit to beat Oakland, 99-93, Tuesday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The win moves Michigan State to 13-0, setting a school record for consecutive wins to start a season. It will also earn the Spartans a fourth week straight atop the major polls.

Bryn Forbes scored a career-high 32 points and Eron Harris added 27 to pace Michigan State.

The Spartans fell behind by 15 points in the first 13 minutes, as its offense looked out of sorts without Valentine and its defense struggled to slow down Oakland guard Kay Felder. Michigan State trailed by 13 at halftime.

The Spartans were woken up, in part, by an elbow to the head.

With 12 minutes left, Forbes took a shot from Oakland's Max Hooper while driving to the basket. He hit the ensuing free throws, then a straightaway 3-pointer on the inbounds pass to cap a five-point possession. It cut Oakland's lead to 57-53.

Harris hit an acrobatic layup while being fouled on Michigan State's next possession to complete a 16-5 run. It brought the Spartans within one possession and the largely pro-Michigan State crowd came to its feet.

Three minutes later, Forbes hit a contested 3-pointer and spread his arms out in exaltation as he backpedaled back down the floor. Michigan State led, 63-61.

The Spartans led by as many as six, and appeared poised to close the game out when it led by four with 25 seconds left in regulation.

But Felder -- who finished with 37 points -- hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. After a missed free throw by Matt Costello, he drew a foul on the other end. Felder tied the game with a pair of made three throws with 5 second left, getting Oakland (7-4) to overtime.

With the game tied at 91 in overtime, Spartans big man Deyonta Davis hit a go-ahead basket and Harris took a charge from Felder on the other end. And Oakland's star guard was fouled out of the game.

A final 3-pointer from Forbes with 30 seconds left sealed the win for Michigan State.

Forbes hit his first six 3-pointers of the game and finished 9-for-15 from the floor. He and Harris carried most of the offensive load without Valentine, who suffered a knee injury in practice on Sunday and will miss 2-3 weeks.

The Spartans will now take a week off for the holiday before resuming with Big Ten play at Iowa on Dec. 29.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Harris started slowly, with two early turnovers before he hit a basket. But he settled in and played his best game in a Spartans uniform, going 6-for-10 in the second half. His line included a 3-pointer from the corner with four minutes left that put Michigan State up by seven and a pair of free throws with 15 second left in overtime.

• After scoring five points in regulation, Davis had six points in the final 2:08 of overtime after coming in when Kenny Goins fouled out. He overpowered an Oakland frontcourt when his team needed it most.

• Goins, the former walk-on, was Michigan State's second power forward off the bench. But he proved the Spartans' best option at the position. He played 26 minutes total, including 19 after halftime. He made several hustle plays, including diving on a loose ball in the second half that drew a smile from Izzo.

LOWLIGHTS
• In the midst of his standout second half, Forbes was called for a key technical for appearing to shove an Oakland player during a dead ball time. The call elicited as passionate a reaction out of Izzo as has been seen all season, and gave Forbes his fourth personal foul with eight minutes to play.

• Freshman guard Matt McQuaid was expected to see significantly more minutes in Valentine's absence, but had some key mistakes in his first half time and sat for the entire second half. Junior guard Alvin Ellis proved the better option for Michigan State.

• Michigan State had 10 first-half turnovers that led to 17 Oakland points, as the Grizzlies often picked off the Spartans backcourt and turned it into transition buckets.

NOTES
• Josh Jackson, the No. 1 recruit in the country, was seen in the crowd at The Palace. Michigan State is among five schools Jackson has said he is considering attending.

• The attendance was announced at 20,228.

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