Penn State Can’t Halt Michigan State’s Transition Game, Falls in East Lansing

Story posted December 11, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Jonathan Draeger

Penn State opened conference road play with a loss to the No. 19 Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing 80-64.

Penn State fell to 0-2 in Big Ten games to start its season, going to 5-5 on the year. The blue and white has dropped four out of its last six games, dating all the way back to the Emerald Coast Classic.

“It took us a little bit to get us into the fight,” coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “We allowed them to get too comfortable too early by giving them too many fastbreak points to start the game.”

Junior forward Seth Lundy led all scorers with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the floor and grabbing seven boards. Senior forward John Harrar followed Lundy’s performance with another double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The 3-point shot would not fall, as Penn State started 0-for-10 from the perimeter. Jalen Pickett would hit the first 3-pointer five minutes into the second half to make the game 51-37.

“[Michigan State] is great at closing out the 3-point shooters,” Shrewsberry said. “They’re big on the wings…so you’re shooting over a high hand every contest.”

Greg Lee got his first minutes as a Penn State Nittany Lion after suffering a foot injury in an exhibition match. He was the fifth scorer for the blue and white contributing the team’s second three-ball finishing with five points on 2-6 shooting from the field and 1-2 from beyond the arc.

“We just want to give him minutes here or there just to get his conditioning back,” Shrewsberry said. “He hasn’t practiced or played since Oct. 23, but he’s a warrior.”

At the half, Penn State had four players score the team’s 29 points, with three scoring 25 points out of the 29. Harrar led with nine points, with both Lundy and Pickett contributing eight points of their own.

Sessoms, coming off the bench in this game, had four of the team's last six points in the half. That trend would continue in the second half, as Lee became the fifth and final player to score a point for the Nittany Lions.

For Tom Izzo, senior forward Gabe Brown finished the day with 15 points and 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point land, in part with a balanced attack on offense.

Ten out of 14 players that stepped onto the court contributed to the scoring, with three players hitting the double-digit points mark.

“They got off to a fast start because of how they played,” Shrewsberry said. “That allows them to start feeling good about themselves.”

Michigan State relied on the fast-paced transition offense to get the job done early on.

Twenty fastbreak points for the Spartans aided their big lead toward the end of the first half, ending the game with 31 fastbreak points.

Penn State could not get its transition game going as it was held scoreless in transition.

“You can’t beat good teams on the road giving them fast break points,” Shrewsberry said. “We have to do our job to erase the shot. You have to have two or three guys back.”

Penn State continues its season on the road as they will get a week of rest in between Michigan State and their next opponent in the VCU Rams. Tipoff is set at 3:30 p.m. from Richmond.

Jonathan Draeger is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email