The No. 19 Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team was back at the Breslin Center on Saturday afternoon, and easily took care of business against the Penn State Nittany Lions. MSU defeated PSU by a final score of 80 to 64.
Michigan State improves to 9-2 overall on the year, including 2-0 in Big Ten Conference play. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions fall to 5-5 overall on the season, and 0-2 in the conference. Michigan State has now won four games in a row, and nine of the past 10 games.
Penn State got off to a strong start, forcing some early turnovers, and scoring the first four points of the game off of a jumper from guard Jalen Pickett and a layup from center John Harrar. The Spartans then responded with seven-straight points from a jumper by center Marcus Bingham Jr., a layup by forward Joey Hauser and a three-pointer by forward Gabe Brown.
Each team would add another basket — a layup by Penn State forward Seth Lundy and a fast-break dunk from Brown — before the first media timeout, and the Spartans led 9-6 with less than 16 minutes to play in the first half.
The teams played pretty evenly through the next stretch, as Michigan State held a slim 19-18 lead at the next media timeout with 10:50 left to play in the first half. Jaden Akins, Michigan State’s freshman guard, hit a three-pointer during that stretch.
Penn State would continue to hang tough for the next few minutes, but the Spartans wouldn’t relinquish the lead. With 6:09 to play in the first half, Michigan State led 27-25, and from that point forward, the Spartans would more or less dominate. MSU scored the next six points, four of which from point guard A.J. Hoggard and a fast-break dunk off of a steal from Akins. Guard Sam Sessoms finally got the Nittany Lions back on the board with a jumper, which was answered back by a layup from Hauser. At the under-four-minute media timeout, Michigan State led Penn State 35-27.
Before halftime hit, Michigan State went on a 7-2 run, which included a three-pointer from behind the arc by forward Malik Hall, and a three-point play the old-fashioned way by Bingham, as he completed an and-one play. The Spartans led the Nittany Lions 42-29 at halftime.
The second half was pretty much all Spartans. While Harrar completed a three-point play for Penn State to begin the half, Michigan State then went on an 9-0 run, with contributions from Hauser, freshman guard Max Christie and Bingham, including a three-pointer from Christie. MSU extended its lead to 51-32 at that point.
Penn State would then go on a quick 7-2 run, which included a three-pointer by Pickett. At the first media timeout, Michigan State led Penn State by a score of 53-39 with 15:36 left to play.
During the next four-minute stretch, Michigan State would extend its lead to 18 points, thanks to an 11-7 run. Hall and Bingham each hit three-pointers during that stretch, and MSU led 64-46 with 11:30 to play.
Lundy would add two three-pointers before the next media timeout, as Penn State tried to chip away at Michigan State’s lead with a small 6-2 run. The Nittany Lions cut the deficit to 14 points, as MSU led 66-52 with 7:50 to play.
Michigan State would eventually get its lead up to 21 points, at 78-57, as Brown hit a couple of three-pointers and point guard Tyson Walker got to the basket for a couple of layups. Penn State continued to battle, but never truly threatened in this one. After a basket from center Julius Marble and a layup on the other end by Sessoms with 22 seconds to play, Michigan State would win by a final score of 80-64.
Michigan State had 10 different players score in this game. Brown led the way with 15 points, and he added five rebounds, while Bingham had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and three blocks as well. Walker had 10 points and nine assists, with only one turnover, as his play continues to ascend.
Lundy led the way for Penn State with 18 points, while also pulling down seven rebounds. Harrar had a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards.
The Spartans shot 31-for-59 from the floor (53 percent) and made nine three-pointers on 21 attempts (43 percent). Penn State shot 43 percent overall (27-for-63) and just 25 percent from deep range (5-for-20). Additionally, MSU out-rebounded PSU 40-28, and the Spartans throttled the Nittany Lions in transition, out-scoring them 31-3 in fast-break points.
Michigan State will be off for 10 days now before meeting the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.