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Michigan State men’s basketball collapses in second half versus Penn State, loses 62-58

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 19 Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team was back on the hardwood on Tuesday night to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center. Michigan State lost the game on the road by a final score of 62 to 58.

The first half was a low-scoring affair. Michigan State forward Gabe Brown hit the opening basket of the game for two points. Penn State guard Dallion Johnson got the scoring going for Penn State with a three-pointer, which was immediately answered by MSU center Marcus Bingham Jr. on the other end. At the first media timeout, the Spartans led the Nittany Lions 7-4.

The Spartans then grew the lead to 14-9 during the next four-minute stretch of play, thanks to baskets from point guard Tyson Walker and center Julius Marble, as well as a three-pointer from freshman guard Jaden Akins. Penn State would draw closer as the first half went on, cutting the lead to two points, with MSU up 18-16, with just over eight minutes to play before halftime.

Walker and freshman shooting guard Max Christie then scored four-straight points for the Spartans, giving Michigan State a 22-16 advantage, but Penn State forward Seth Lundy responded with a three-pointer to cut MSU’s lead back down to three points. A couple minutes later, Penn State guard Jalen Pickett added another shot from behind the arc to tie the game at 22.

Pickett then added a pair of free throws to give Penn State a 24-22 lead before center Mady Sissoko finally broke a five-plus-minute scoring drought for Michigan State. At halftime, the two teams were tied 24-24.

Michigan State got off to a quick start in the second half, going on an 8-0 run with free throws from Christie, a three-pointer by forward Joey Hauser and a three-pointer by Brown. The Spartans led the Nittany Lions 32-24 with 17:43 to play.

MSU would push its lead out to as many as 14 points in the second half, taking a 43-29 lead following a hook shot from Marble with 13:20 to play. But then the Spartans collapsed. An 11-0 run by the Nittany Lions, which included three-pointers from guard Sam Sessoms, guard Myles Dread and Lundy, quickly cut PSU’s deficit to just three points. The Spartans lead 43-40 with 10:13 to play.

Point guard A.J. Hoggard found Bingham on an alley-oop to give the Spartans some momentum back and stretch the lead back out to five points. However, Sessoms and forward Jalanni White scored four-straight points for the Nittany Lions, cutting MSU’s advantage back down to just a single point.

After a pair of Marble free throws, a hook shot from Penn State center John Harrar and then an and-one play from Michigan State forward Malik Hall, the score was MSU 50, PSU 46 with 6:48 to play.

Harrar and Walker then traded a couple baskets each for their respective teams, making the score 54-50 in Michigan State’s favor at the under-four-minute media timeout. Lundy would then drain a three-pointer with about three minutes left to play to make it 54-53. Following a miss by Walker, Lundy hit a jump shot to give Penn State the 55-54 lead with 1:37 left to play.

On the next crucial possession, Michigan State committed a shot-clock violation. On the other end, Harrar converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way and Penn State led 58-54 with 35 seconds left on the clock.

Marble hit another hook shot to add two points to Michigan State’s total, but Sessoms then made both of his free throws for Penn State. Christie would then make a jumper for MSU, but 12 seconds came off the clock. On the other end, Johnson buried both of his free throws to ice the game for the Nittany Lions at 62-58.

To be frank, this is not a loss Michigan State could afford. The Spartans’ regular season Big Ten championship hopes is going to take a major hit following the defeat to one of the conference’s lesser teams.

Despite the loss, Marble had a superb and efficient outing. He led Michigan State with 14 points, making six of his seven shot attempts from the field, and adding a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks (Bingham also had two blocks). Christie scored 10 points.

Lundy led Penn State with a game-high 17 points. Harrar had a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

As a team, Penn State made 10 of its 25 attempts from three-point range, while Michigan State made just five of its 16 attempts from deep.

Penn State was able to neutralize Michigan State’s transition game, only allowing three fast-break points, while scoring six fast-break points of its own. Both teams had 34 rebounds, but the Nittany Lions had a 10-8 lead on the offensive glass, and a 15-10 advantage in second-chance points. MSU had 11 turnovers, while Penn State had eight.

Hoggard suffered a sprained ankle during the game, so his status will need to be monitored moving forward.

Michigan State drops to 18-7 overall, and 9-5 in Big Ten Conference play. Penn State improves to 10-12 overall, and 5-9 in the conference.

With a win, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo would have tied former Indiana Hoosiers head coach Bob Knight for most career wins at a single Big Ten school with 662. Izzo will now have to wait until this weekend to have a chance to tie the legendary IU coach, as MSU looks to bounce back with a victory against the No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini at the Breslin Center.

Illinois and Michigan State play on Saturday with tip-off set for noon Eastern Time on ESPN.