Penn State Men’s Basketball Game Preview: Michigan State

Story posted February 15, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Matt Scalzo

After falling to Minnesota on the road, Penn State is on a three-game skid and has dropped six of its last seven games.

Now the Nittany Lions return home to take on No. 19 Michigan State for a Tuesday night showdown at 6:30 p.m.

While playing on the road has been a problem for the blue and white, having a 1-7 record on the campaign, inside the friendly walls of the Bryce Jordan Center it's 7-4.

In their most recent loss to the Golden Gophers, 76-70, the Nittany Lions seemed to click for the first time in a while. It was their highest offensive output in regulation since the Jan. 5 win at Northwestern, 74-70.

Senior guard Sam Sessoms led the way with a team-high 18 points, his third straight double-digit performance. He was 8-for-15 from the field and converted on his pair of free throws.

Just behind Sessoms, was junior forward Seth Lundy who dropped 16 points. For Lundy, his offensive struggles primarily come away from Happy Valley but on Saturday he had his best scoring road game since Northwestern when he had a season-high 23 points.

While the offense found its groove, the defense, which has been the mainstay for Penn State this year, had one of its worst nights.

Lockdown Lundy once again did his job holding Jamison Battle well below his season average, but the rest of the team did not. Eric Curry took advantage of the Nittany Lions' defense, notching a career-high 22 points going 10-for-19 from the floor.

Payton Willis added a double-double with 18 points and dished out 10 assists.

Penn State will look to bounce back as they take on one of the stronger and deeper teams in the Big Ten.

Scouting Michigan State

One of the best programs in college basketball is having another strong year under the guidance of legendary head coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans are 18-6 overall, with a 9-4 mark in Big Ten play.

Playing a fast-paced game is a key for the Spartans and they can do that thanks to their depth. In their most recent win over Indiana, 76-61, Michigan State had 44 points off the bench, led by Malik Hall who had 18 points.

The Spartans are averaging 73.3 points per contest and their two leading scorers are Gabe Brown and Hall.

Brown, a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, is averaging a team-high 12.9 points per game and can score both inside and out. The 6-foot-8 forward is coming off a game to forget as he dropped a goose egg against the Hoosiers, and will look to bounce back, but it will be a tough task as he will likely be guarded by Lundy.
Hall, another forward standing at 6-foot-8, is scoring 10.5 points per contest.

Referred to as “OKG” – Our Kinda Guy – by Izzo, Hall can do it all, dribble, get to the rack and shoot from beyond the arc. Primarily coming off the bench, Penn State will have a tough time trying to contain both him and Brown.

Both Max Christie and Marcus Bingham Jr. are just below the double-digit threshold notching 9.8 and 9.7 points per game, respectively.

Michigan State took down the blue and white in the team first meeting back in December, 80-64. A big factor in the win was the transition play, the green and white nabbed 31 fast break points.

Expect Penn State to put up a fightback in the Bryce Jordan Center. However, the Nittany Lions will struggle to keep pace with the depth scoring of the Michigan State, as the Spartans pull away late.

Michigan State 73, Penn State 64

Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mms7477@psu.edu.

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Matt Scalzo

Second Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a second-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a Basketball Insider, broadcaster and writer for the sports department. With CommRadio he has called football, volleyball, basketball and hockey games. Matt is also the Penn State Women’s Volleyball play-by-play broadcaster calling games on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a part of The Extra Point, a talk show centered around the NFL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).