In the end, it was simply too much Denzel Valentine.
The Spartans star scored 18 points in a four-minute span in the second half, turning a one-point Michigan State lead into a 11-point margin and eventual 77-67 Michigan State victory.
A Duncan basket pulled the Broncos to within one at 43-42 with 14:13 remaining before Valentine took over. He nailed four consecutive threes and converted an old fashioned three in extending the Spartans lead to 59-48 with just under 11 minutes remaining.
The Broncos would get within six at 65-59 with 5:20 left on a Montigo Alford three but never got closer than that for the rest of the game.
Valentine finished with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, narrowly missing his third triple-double of the season.
Duncan led the Broncos with 19 points, knocking down three 3’s and collecting four rebounds.
Anthony Drmic focused much of his energy on guarding Valentine and only finished with nine points on 1-6 shooting. He was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.
James Webb III struggled again with foul trouble, eventually fouling out. He had nine points, missing all of his three point attempts and only going 1-4 from the line. Webb III finished with six rebounds.
Strong defense and Michigan State foul trouble kept things a back and forth affair early. The first 11 minutes of the game saw the Spartans commit five turnovers and seven fouls yet they held a 14-12 lead early.
Mikey Thompson hit a three, starting a 9-0 run for the Broncos. Two Drmic free throws capped off the run, putting the Broncos up 21-14.
Drmic picked up his second foul with 3:22 left in the half, joining Webb III on the bench. The Spartans outscored the Broncos 19-7 to end the half, giving them a 33-28 halftime lead.
Duncan had eight points at halftime, while Valentine led the Spartans with ten.
Michigan State started the second-half on a 7-1 run but six straight Duncan points brought the Broncos back to within five, 40-35.
Valentine began his string of points with a three, but Drmic responded with a three of his own before the Valentine show officially began.
Thompson had a strong game for the Broncos. He scored 17 points and dished out eight assists in the loss.
Each team committed ten turnovers, but the Spartans connected on ten 3’s while the Broncos only had seven. Michigan State outrebounded Boise State 35-27.
The loss sends the Broncos to a third-place game on Sunday against the loser of Friday night’s Arizona/Providence game.