Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Michigan State
No. 22 Penn State (17-5, 7-4) got its fifth straight Big Ten win in a 75-70 victory over No. 16 Michigan State (16-7, 8-4) on Tuesday night in East Lansing, MI. It was Penn State’s first win at the Breslin Center since 2009 and its third straight conference road win. Here are some grades from Tuesday’s game.
This was one of the best nights of the season offensively for the Nittany Lions. They shot 41% from the field as a team, but more impressive was 42% from beyond the arc. Penn State as a team shot better on 3s than on 2s.
Myreon Jones was a star for Penn State all night. Jones had his second highest career scoring game with 20 points, but 6-for-8 from 3-point range was the offensive difference for the Nittany Lions.
Lamar Stevens was also a star as he has been all season. The senior put up 24 points, made shots when Penn State needed them and hit huge free throws down the stretch.
Penn State also got contributions from Mike Watkins inside and Myles Dread outside. The Nittany Lions also pulled down 11 offensive rebounds against a team that doesn’t allow many second chance opportunities.
The Nittany Lions are an elite defensive basketball team and that showed in this game. You’re not going to shut down a player like Cassius Winston, but Jamari Wheeler did a good job on him all night, altering several of his shots.
Rebounding has been a troublesome area for Penn State all season long, but it wasn’t against the Spartans. Mike Watkins held his own on the boards all night. His defense was incredible.
The difference in this game though was that Penn State was able to force turnovers. The Spartans turned it over 15 times, including nine steals by the Nittany Lions. Penn State turned those turnovers into 20 points of their own. One of the traits of this team is their athleticism, and it certainly used that to its advantage against the Spartans.
Pat Chambers is doing things that Penn State Basketball has never done before. The team has won three straight conferences road games, and it is the Nittany Lions' fourth win over a ranked opponent this season.
They kept their composure during a couple of Michigan State runs. Penn State faced its largest deficit at the very beginning of the game and was able to get back on track to go on a run of their own.
The Spartans also went on a run at the beginning of the second half to erase a 10-point deficit, and the Nittany Lions staved off that run. This is the best team that Pat Chambers has ever had at Penn State, and with the way they are playing right now, they could win a couple games in March.
Kevin McConlogue is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him email email@example.com.