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No. 1 Michigan State routs Maryland Eastern Shore 78-35

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Even when Denzel Valentine isn't feeling well, he's still pretty good.

Valentine had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help No. 1 Michigan State rout Maryland Eastern Shore 78-35 Wednesday night.

"Denzel was a little sick and he didn't play with the same vigor," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "I could really notice it."

The Spartans (10-0) are off to their best start since the 2000-01 season when they were defending national champions and won the first 12 games.

They host Florida on Saturday in a rematch of the 2000 NCAA final before opening the Big Ten season on the road against Iowa and Minnesota.

"The party is over now," Izzo said. "The next three games are going to get tougher and tougher."

The Hawks (1-8) had only one player score in double digits. Dominique Elliott had seven of his team's 16 points in the first half and finished with 11 points.

"I'm very disappointed in our lack of fight," Maryland Eastern Shore coach Bobby Collins said.

Valentine and Bryn Forbes combined to score 17 points by halftime when Michigan State led 33-16. Forbes finished with 14 points. The seniors, who were teammates at Lansing Sexton High School, helped turn a three-point lead into a 20-point cushion in the first half.

After a 19-2 run ended, Izzo still found a reason to be upset enough to call a timeout.

Michigan State more than doubled the advantage it had at halftime, building a 39-point lead with 8:53 left. When the Hawks cut their deficit to 67-33, Izzo called a timeout to send another message.

"They can make a run for the national championship," Collins said. "They rebound, transition offense is great, transition defense is good and they're very scrappy. They probably won nine out of 10 loose balls."

Eron Harris scored nine of his 12 points in the second half for the Spartans. Michigan State's Marvin Clark scored seven of his nine points after halftime, looking as if he is returning to form after missing the start of the season with an injured left foot.


Maryland Eastern Shore: The Hawks hope to bounce back from a slow start against stiff competition just as they did last year. Maryland Eastern Shore won just two of its first eight games last year in Collins' debut season, then finished with 18 victories and played in the postseason CIT.

Michigan State: The unselfish Spartans spread the ball around a lot to get many players shots. By the time Michigan State led 53-23 midway through the second half, 10 players in its 12-man rotation had made a shot while the Hawks had combined to make just nine of their first 45 shots. "They keep coming at you," Elliott said. "They go to their bench and nothing changes." The Spartans had 25 assists on 27 baskets.


Maryland Eastern Shore: The Hawks play a second straight Big Ten team, traveling about 130 miles by roads to face No. 6 Maryland on Saturday.

Michigan State: The Spartans, who beat the Gators 15 years ago to win their second national title, plan to honor the championship team on Saturday and expect players such as Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Jason Richardson to return for the celebration. "That game is going to mean a lot to me," Valentine said. "I grew up watching them all play. For them to take their time and come back makes me want to do well."


The Spartans started the season No. 13 and became the top-ranked team in five weeks, the biggest jump to No. 1 this early in the season since Arizona began the 1987-88 season ranked No. 17 and quickly rose to the top of the poll.


Follow Larry Lage at


This story has been corrected to show Arizona made its poll jump in 1987-88, not 1997-98.

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