Penn State Men’s Basketball Game Grades: Michigan State

Story posted December 15, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young

Despite a highly competitive first half, Penn State did not have the firepower to keep up with No. 19 Michigan State falling by a final score of 80-64.

The Nittany Lions were able to go toe to toe with the Spartans for 80% of the first half, trailing by only two points with about four minutes to play in the opening frame. However, Michigan State was able to go on a run and take a 13-point lead into the half, never looking back.

This was a good measuring stick for all facets of Penn State basketball in the early season displaying some harsh truths along with a few bright spots the Nittany Lions can try and lead on the rest of the way.

Offense: C-

Depth scoring has become a serious concern for the Nittany Lions. While it was not at all far-fetched to think Seth Lundy and John Harrar would lead Penn State’s offense, not many thought they would have to carry it entirely.

Two of Penn State’s starters and three of the eight players who saw the floor were held scoreless. While depth might not be the Nittany Lions’ strength, players like Jalanni White and Myles Dread need to find a way to contribute to scoring.

On the bright side for Penn State, Greg Lee made his season debut after suffering an injury in the preseason and Seth Lundy is consistently looking like a top player.

Defense: D

One of the most frustrating parts of this contest for Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry was his team’s transition defense.

Michigan State was able to get out and run at will on fast breaks and generate easy layups. The Spartans shot over 50% for the game and had 31 fast-break points.

When the offense stalled late in the first half the defense could not buy a stop which ultimately allowed the Spartans to snag momentum and use it to win the game.

Coaching: C+

It was always going to be a tall order to come into East Lansing and take down a ranked team that is off to its best start in years, but it was a bit disappointing that coach Shrewsberry and his staff could not come up with a way to battle back in the second half.

With the personnel the coaching staff has, they did a good enough job of keeping this game close for as long as they did. It's hard to blame them for not adjusting to Michigan State’s fast-paced game when Penn State’s slowest player is also its second-leading scorer.

As mentioned earlier, this team is already starved for scorers and without the squad depth, it is difficult for Penn State to combat different play styles.

Overall, Penn State lost a game they were expected to lose. While some of its weaknesses were exposed, it was a good learning experience on the road against a tough conference opponent.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email