The Michigan State Spartans are headed toward a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but guard Bryn Forbes didn’t want to wait until the Big Dance to make headlines.
According to Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News, Forbes drilled a program- and Big Ten-record 11 three-pointers during Michigan State’s 97-66 victory over Rutgers Wednesday. Forbes also scored a career-high 33 points and finished 11-of-16 from behind the arc.
Michigan State on BTN passed along the highlights from the incredible performance:
After the game, head coach Tom Izzo sang Forbes' praises, saying, "He was in a zone tonight, no question," per Charboneau.
While the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are an abysmal 6-24 on the season and 0-17 in conference play, that shouldn’t take away from Forbes’ outing. After all, shooting 11-of-16 from three-point range in pregame warm-ups with no defenders would be an impressive feat, let alone setting a record in a conference game.
Forbes reflected on his record, per ESPN.com: "It's something that means a lot, kind of because I put in a lot of work to try to do things like that. For the people to help me, it means a lot. I just can't remember all the hours I put in. It's kind of important to me."
It may have been a record-setting night, but this was no fluke. Forbes has been drilling triples for Izzo’s club all season and was shooting a sparkling 50 percent from deep on 6.3 attempts per game coming into Wednesday’s contest. He was also averaging 14.6 points per night as the team’s second-leading scorer behind Denzel Valentine.
Former Michigan State star Draymond Green weighed in on Forbes’ game:
Nba basketball minds smart enough to have Bryn Forbes on their radars yet? Or is he "too small" for his position?— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) March 3, 2016
Green is a 6’7” stretch forward who had questions about his size going into the draft after his career with the Spartans. He is clearly referring to those evaluations that undersold the eventual NBA champion and driving force alongside Stephen Curry on the Golden State Warriors.
Forbes is only 6’3” and 175 pounds, but it is hard to argue with his shooting ability, especially in an age when the 6’3” and 190-pound Curry is dominating the NBA with his shooting prowess.
Green would be happy to know Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress thinks NBA scouts will give the senior Forbes a look:
Amazing shooting display by Bryn Forbes. Made some really tough 3s from all over the floor. Seth Curry-ish. Will get some NBA looks for sure— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 3, 2016
Forbes’ presence for the Spartans is critical, even though Valentine is their primary star and a triple-double threat every time he takes the floor (he was averaging 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists per night coming into Wednesday’s game).
Even the National Player of the Year candidate Valentine cannot lead the Spartans to the national title without some help. Having an outside shooter like Forbes playing so well entering the stretch run makes Michigan State even more dangerous. Opposing defenses will be forced to shift additional attention Valentine’s way in the NCAA tournament, which will allow him to find Forbes spotting up from deep.
If Forbes hits those shots like he did Wednesday, the 25-5 Spartans could lift up the national championship trophy at season’s end.