Penn State Falters in Second Half, Drops Conference Opener to Michigan State
Penn State (9-5, 0-1 Big Ten) fell 79-63 to the fifth ranked Michigan State Spartans (12-1, 1-0 Big Ten) in their conference opener, despite holding an impressive halftime lead.
The Nittany Lions came roaring out of the gate and jumped on the visitors early. Penn State held as much as an 11-point lead and played arguably their best half of the season against a top opponent.
Michigan State kept the game close in the first half, with great perimeter shooting (10- of-20) but the Nittany Lions answered at every turn. Penn State went into the locker room with a 47-40 lead over the Spartans.
The second half was a completely different story as Penn State saw the Spartans go on a 10-0 run to start the frame. Michigan State simply outplayed the Nittany Lions down the stretch, outscoring the home team 39-16 following intermission.
Michigan State played mistake-free basketball in the second half, while the Nittany Lions compiled turnovers and sloppy shooting to give the Spartans the momentum.
Branden Dawson led all Michigan State scorers with 20 points and also compiled nine rebounds. Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Travis Trice also scored double digits in the winning effort.
“They missed some good shots in the second half that they made in the first half,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said about the Penn State’s downward swing. “Those guys play hard and they’re gonna get better.”
Brandon Taylor and DJ Newbill combined for 35 points for the Nittany Lions and kept the Spartans on their heels with superb first half shooting performances. Despite their efforts, Penn State’s combined second half shooting was poor and contributed greatly to the loss.
“I think we let missing shots dictate our effort,” Nittany Lion head coach Pat Chambers said following the loss. “The team that I envisioned played in the first half.”
The Nittany Lions will have the next couple of days off and will play Illinois on Saturday in Champaign. Tip is set for 2:15.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Jason is a senior at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He is currently in his eighth and final semester as a student with ComRadio and has enjoyed every aspect of sports broadcasting. He is currently a co-host of The Fifth Quarter and 60-Minute Misconduct. His most memorable moments to this point are speaking with his favorite broadcaster, Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick on his talk show and broadcasting a Penn State football game. Jason takes part in various sports broadcasts with ComRadio and has been a staff member of the yearly NFL Draft Show as well as the Selection Sunday Show. Jason is also a member of the John Curley Center For Sports Journalism. After graduation, Jason plans to move to Pittsburgh and get a job in his favorite city.