FINAL: MSU outlasts Oakland, sets best start in school history
In its first game of the season without star senior guard Denzel Valentine, who will miss the next few weeks because of a knee injury, the No. 1 MSU basketball team survived an upset from in-state foe Oakland University and came away victorious in overtime, 99-93.
The victory pushes MSU to 13-0 in the season, its best start in school history.
MSU senior guard Bryan Forbes led the Spartans with 32 points, while junior MSU guard Eron Harris added 27 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Oakland junior guard Kay Felder finished with 37 points and nine assists.
Oakland came out competitive from the start and held a 27-13 lead near the midway point of the first half of Tuesday night's contest from The Palace of Auburn Hills.
From there, MSU managed to cut the Oakland lead to 27-19, but the Grizzlies would score seven straight to go back up 34-19 at the 7:16 mark of the first half.
After that, MSU went on a quick 9-0 run to close Oakland's lead to six, 34-28.
But Oakland continued to pile it on and took a 50-37 lead into the half. They shot 7-of-12 from behind the 3-point line.
Felder was unstoppable in the first half. The junior piled up 21 points and seven assists in the first 20 minutes of action, while senior Oakland guard Max Hooper added nine points off the bench.
Forbes led the Spartans with 16 points at the break.
For MSU, it was clear they were missing the presence of Valentine. The Spartans had 10 turnovers in the first half, which led to 17 Grizzly points.
In the second half, the Spartans did their best to chip away at the lead, and steadily did so, using a 16-5 run to cut the Grizzly lead to three, 58-55 with just under 12 minutes to go in the game.
And at the 9:15 mark of the second half, a 3-pointer from Forbes gave MSU a 63-61 lead — its first since it was 6-5 in the first half.
For the next several minutes, there were a few moments it appeared MSU would begin to pull away from the Grizzlies.
However, every time that happened, Oakland came right back at the Spartans. MSU had a few chances to put it away, but with less than a minute to go, they held just a two-point advantage, 80-78.
After a pair of Harris free throws put MSU up by four, 82-78, Felder came back on the other end and nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to cut MSU's lead to one, 82-81, with 17.1 seconds to go in regulation.
MSU senior forward Matt Costello hit one of two free throws on the other end to put MSU up by two, 83-81.
But Felder drove right down the floor, was fouled, hit two free throws and tied things up at 83. The game went into overtime.
For much of the overtime, the teams traded free throws up and down the floor. After Felder picked up his fifth foul off a charge with less than a minute to go in overtime, Forbes hit a corner-3 on the other end to put MSU up by five, 96-91.
MSU hit its free throws down the stretch and took the game, 99-93.