- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wasn't totally enamored with the Spartans' victory over Marquette.
Denzel Valentine had a career-high 25 points and No. 20 Michigan State beat Marquette 79-68 on Friday night in the Orlando Classic semifinals.
"What we shot from all areas, we should have won by a lot," Izzo said. "But because we turned it over, because we didn't do our assignments defensively and a team just drove it, drove it, drove it, we were in a dogfight. We sure ain't blue collar, so we're going to see if can get back to blue color."
"Give them a lot of credit, I'm telling you that team played hard," Izzo added about Marquette. "I loved that team tonight. Marquette played harder than us. We won the game because I think we're a little better, but I didn't enjoy a lot of it. The tougher team lost tonight."
Travis Trice added 19 points for Michigan State (5-1).
Marquette (3-3) got 15 points from Duane Wilson. The Golden Eagles could get no closer than six points over the game's final three minutes.
"Basically I told my guys I was proud of them," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "I was proud of their effort, their energy and how hard they worked. But in order to beat a quality team like Michigan State, it's got to be more than effort. You have to combine a 40-minute effort with smart decisions for 40-minutes."
Marquette's Matt Carlino, coming off a tournament-record 38 points Thursday in a 72-70 victory over Georgia Tech, had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Valentine opened the second half with consecutive 3s as Michigan State went up 41-34. He had set a career-high with 19 points in the Spartans 77-45 victory Thursday over Rider.
Another trey by Valentine and an in-close basket by Branden Dawson made it 57-47 8 minutes into the second.
After Carlino got his first two points of the half from the free-throw line, Valentine hit a 3, Lourawls Nairn Jr. had a fast-break basket and Trice connected on a transition 3-pointer to extended the Spartans lead to 65-49 with 11 minutes to go.
The Golden Eagles had an 8-0 surge, including two free throws by Carlino, to pull within 65-57. Carlino made his first shot of the second half, a layup, with 6 minutes to play.
Trice made two free throws in the final minute to give Michigan State a 35-34 halftime lead.
Carlino missed his first six shots before hitting a 3 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half that got Marquette within 28-25. His second trey put the Golden Warriors ahead 34-33 1:43 before intermission.
Carlino had six points during the opening 20 minutes.
Michigan State used a 13-2 run, including a pair of long-range jumpers by Valentine, to go ahead 17-11 with 11 minutes remaining.
Michigan State: The Spartans shot 26 for 45 (57.8 percent). ... Michigan State leads the series 32-23.
Marquette: Carlino has 52 points through two of three tourney games. The tournament record is 73, set by Kansas State's Michael Beasley in 2007. Marquette's Lazar Hayward scored 70 points, second-most at the classic, in 2009.
Michigan State had 16 turnovers, compared to Marquette's 12. The Golden Eagles won the rebound battle 29-28.
Michigan State will face No. 11 Kansas in Sunday's championship game.
Marquette will play Tennessee for third place.