MBB: Penn State Picks Up Big Win In Philadelphia
In the historic Palestra in Philadelphia, the Nittany Lions brought their ‘A’ game and took down the Michigan State Spartans, 72-63.
“I pick somewhere every year to get my brains beat in,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo postgame following his team’s loss.
The Nittany Lions started off fast with Mike Watkins getting six quick points despite coming off of the bench.
Despite the fast start, fans were still skeptical of the team and what they were seeing. That is until Josh Reaves had a monster block on the defensive end that lead to a Payton Banks three on the other end, putting Penn State up 27-19 with 7:17 to go at the second media timeout.
The Nittany Lions battled all first half, getting big contributions from Philly natives Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr, in the same venue where they won a city championship one year ago. Stevens finished the first half with 10 points, while Carr had 11.
When asked what was different about playing at the Palestra now that they are there as Penn State athletes, Tony Carr kept the answer simple.
“Well, now I’m in college. So that’s different,” said Carr.
The second half was a bit of a different story. Where the Nittany Lions filled it up offensively in the first half, the team had to rely on defense to keep them ahead.
Momentum began to shift however, and it became most obvious when Penn State forced a Michigan State turnover, but then Julian Moore’s attempt was denied by Miles Bridges and the game headed to a timeout with 11:45 left and Penn State only up 52-47.
Then, out of the timeout, Lamar Stevens found himself on the wrong end of a few charges that could have easily put the momentum fully in Michigan State’s court.
Athletic guard Josh Reaves saw this as his time to reignite the crowd, with both Mike Watkins and Shep Garner finding him on back-to-back possessions for thunderous slams to put Penn State up 58-50 with under eight minutes to play.
Reaves was all over the court all game though, making present felt farther than his six points would suggest. Reaves finished the game with four boards, six assists, two blocks, and two steals as well. That second block came with under two minutes to go and gave the ball to Watkins, who went to the line to put Penn State up 67-55.
“Josh only had six points?” That was how Tony Carr reacted to seeing Reaves’ stat line during the postgame presser. His contributions went far beyond the stat sheet.
When the buzzer sounded, Penn State found themselves with one of their biggest wins in recent program history.
“This is the type of program win that now recruits see. That they are going to want to keep coming here,” said Pat Chambers after the victory.
Izzo praised Pat Chambers after the game for the way he prepared the team. He felt it was a job well done the way Chambers prepared his guys following a tough loss to Michigan. The players also added that the confidence he instills in them helped them in a game like this.
Whatever it was that caused this defensive performance, Penn State will need to continue to do it as Big Ten play carries on and the competition gets tougher.
David Arroyo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.