MBB: Michigan State Game Grades

Story posted February 1, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by By Camden Tofil

Penn State men’s basketball fell to No. 5 Michigan State in East Lansing by a score of 76-68. The Nittany Lions led by as much as 12 in the second half, but couldn’t hold off the Spartans.

Here are the grades for the Nittany Lions in their battle against Michigan State.

Offense: C+

The offense was led once again by Tony Carr. Carr, the leading scorer on the team, piled up 28 points but only shot 37.5 percent from the field. He started out the game great scoring 12 points in the first ten minutes of the game, but was held scoreless the rest of the half.

As the Spartans made their run in the second half from down 12, Carr tended to play too much “hero ball," as he has done several times this season, and put up ill-advised shots instead of running an offense. Before the Nittany Lions could react, they had gone from being up 12 to being down 15 with less than five minutes to go.

Lamar Stevens had another solid night for Penn State as he added 18 points, but similar to Carr, he struggled from the field. Josh Reaves had a horrendous shooting night as he shot 3 of 11 including 0 of 5 from three. Mike Watkins was in foul trouble much of the second half which limited him to eight points.

The bench was unable to contribute much as they only totaled two combined points on five shots. Going forward, if the Nittany Lions want to beat great teams, they are going to need more from the bench.

Defense: B

While the final score may say the Nittany Lions didn’t play great defense, watching the whole game showed that Penn State’s defense is one of the best in the Big Ten.

Penn State forced Michigan State into 16 turnovers, with most coming in the first half. Through one half, the Nittany Lions held the Spartans to just 24 points. Led by their defensive star in Reaves, the Nittany Lions had ten steals including five from him.

However, Penn State let Michigan State go for 52 points in second half to come back from an eight-point halftime deficit. The Spartans shot 50 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from three.

Michigan State pushed the tempo in the second half as the Nittany Lions struggled to get back on defense. A strong first half from a defensive end led to this grade being higher than average.

Coaching: D

Most of this loss has to be blamed on coach Pat Chambers. Chambers was believed to be on hot seat for much of the season before the win at No. 13 Ohio State. There is too much talent on this team for them not to be in the tournament. Now that doesn’t mean that they should have been favored to beat Michigan State, but they were in very good position to pull off the upset in East Lansing.

Up by 12 in the second half on the road against the No. 5 team in the country is no easy feat. Penn State had this game won with great defense and solid offense. But, Michigan State adjusted and made their run, while Chambers made no changes.

Penn State being in foul trouble didn’t help the situation, but when the Spartans made their 12-0 run to tie the game, Chambers did not call a timeout until the lead was reduced to four.

The lack of an offensive gameplan when the game got close was alarming, as it was merely reduced to solely pick-and-roll with Carr and hope he makes a play. If Penn State is going to make a run at the tournament, Chambers will need to be better at in-game adjustments.

Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising. To contact him, email camdentofil@gmail.com.