Michigan State

Penn State can't slay another giant

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Penn State can't slay another giant


EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Tom Izzo sat Cassius Winston at the beginning of the second half, benching his point guard to send a message.

It seemed to work.

Miles Bridges had 23 points and Winston scored 12 of his 15 points after halftime and finished with 10 assists, helping No. 5 Michigan State come back from a double-digit deficit to beat Penn State 76-68 on Wednesday night.

The Spartans (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) rallied to win after trailing by 12 with 15:23 left after coming back from 13-point deficit to win their previous game at Maryland.

"We've got to figure out a way to bring it from the beginning," said Winston, adding Izzo's move motivated him to play with more intensity.

Winston, who was replaced by Tum Tum Nairn at the start of the second half, made a go-ahead layup midway through the second half and Matt McQuaid made back to back 3s after not taking a shot for nearly 30 minutes.

"What breaks your back are the McQuaid 3s," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "You don't really count on him coming off the bench. I know he's only averaging a few points."

The Nittany Lions (15-9, 5-6) had won two straight, including a buzzer-beater at Ohio State, and didn't give up their winning streak easily after trailing by as much as 15 points. They went on an 11-2 run to pull within six points with 37 seconds left after Tony Carr made consecutive 3-pointers in 6 seconds. Carr just missed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds.

"We played really good basketball for a long time," Chambers said. "We got into foul trouble. ... I'd like to see our five versus their five for a longer time. I think Michigan State knows we're a pretty good basketball team and we'd fight."

Joshua Langford made two free throws to seal the victory and finished with 14 points.

Carr scored 28, giving him at least 25 points for the seventh time this season.

"One of the best players on the floor, for sure," Chambers said.

Quiet night
Michigan State freshman Jaren Jackson is projected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer, but foul trouble is limiting his production in college. Jackson was held to two points, ending an 11-game streak in double digits. He played just seven minutes in the first half because he had two fouls and picked up his third foul 1:06 into the second half, leading to him playing just 12 minutes.

Big picture
Penn State: Carr is showing he can make shots all over the court no matter who he's facing, but the Nittany Lions have to give him more help. Lamar Stevens, who had 18 points, was his only teammate in double figures. Entering the game, the Nittany Lions had five players averaging at least 10 points a game.

"We've got to get Shep (Garner) more shots," Chambers said. "I was trying to, but they played very good defense on him."

Carr had 28 points in last week's win at Ohio State and is averaging 19-plus points a game even though every team is trying to slow him down.

Michigan State: The crisis on campus related to Larry Nassar and an ESPN report isn't going away and the Spartans know it. Izzo wore a teal ribbon on the left lapel of his suit and his players wore the same ribbon over their hearts on their pullovers, honoring survivors of sexual violence.

"Wearing the ribbon was our way to reaching out to them," Izzo said .

Nassar, a former doctor at the school, has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexually abusing young girls and women. ESPN has detailed various allegations involving Michigan State football and basketball players, putting Izzo in awkward situations during postgame news conferences.

"I will cooperate with the investigation and I always have with any investigation," he said, repeating a scripted statement he has said after recent games. "I think there will be a time when I'll be able to speak, but it isn't right now. There's too many things going on with the survivors and everything. I'm just going to stick to my guns and tell you that I still have great support for the survivors, but I'm just not going to have any comment on this whole situation."

Up next
Penn State: Hosts Iowa on Saturday night.

Michigan State: Plays at Indiana on Saturday night, one of five road games in a seven-game stretch to close the regular season.

No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State: Hurting heading into bad-blood battle

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No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State: Hurting heading into bad-blood battle

No. 7 Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) at No. 24 Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Saturday, 12 p.m., FOX

No. 7 Penn State attempts to bounce back from a crushing loss at Ohio State with a visit to No. 24 Michigan State.

Scouting Penn State
The seventh-ranked Nittany Lions frittered away a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in a 39-38 loss to Ohio State last Saturday, dealing a severe blow to their hopes for a Big Ten championship repeat and/or a berth in the College Football Playoff. Saquon Barkley ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown and also scored on a 36-yard run, but his other 20 carries netted eight yards. He continues to lead the nation in all-purpose yards per game (206.3). He is also fourth in kickoff-return average (34.4) and fifth in scoring (84 points). McSorley has clicked on 65.9 percent of his throws, for 2,071 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has been intercepted five times. Jason Cabinda has 59 tackles to lead the defense, but the Lions had no answers for Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett in last week’s fourth quarter.

Scouting Michigan State
The 24th-ranked Spartans fell, 39-31, in triple overtime at Northwestern last week, despite a 445-yard, four-touchdown passing day from quarterback Brian Lewerke. Two of his TD throws went to Cody White, who caught nine balls for 165 yards in all. White has just 20 catches this season, however, and is third on the team behind Darrell Stewart (35-362-1) and Felton Davis (33-405-7). Running back LJ Scott has rushed for 511 yards (4.5 per carry). MSU leads the conference and is fourth in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing just 89.8 yards a game. The Spartans are also eighth in the country in total defense (283.4). Linebacker Joe Bachie has 73 tackles, and defensive end Kenny Willekes has contributed four sacks and 8½ tackles for loss.

PSU won last year’s meeting, 45-12, to even the all-time series at 15-15-1.

Storyline to watch
The Lions lost offensive tackle Ryan Bates and defensive end Ryan Buchholz to leg injuries against the Buckeyes. That appeared to greatly affect the team late in the game, when it could neither block OSU nor mount a significant pass rush. Coach James Franklin does not address injuries, but it seems unlikely either will play this week.

What's at stake
The teams have exchanged blowouts the last two years. At the end of the 2015 game, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio gave his center a carry, and he rumbled for a touchdown. At the end of last year’s game, the Lions still had their starters in, and were still throwing. So, yes, there would appear to be some bad blood.

If you can’t block anyone and can’t mount a pass rush, how do you win?

Michigan State 27, Penn State 24

Penn State trounced by Michigan State in 2nd round of Big Ten Tournament

Penn State trounced by Michigan State in 2nd round of Big Ten Tournament


WASHINGTON -- It didn't matter that Michigan State had no momentum, or that the Spartans were playing a team that beat them soundly in January.

This was the Big Ten Tournament, when the past usually doesn't matter and Michigan State is almost always at its best.

Miles Bridges and Nick Ward had 15 points and nine rebounds apiece, and the Spartans breezed past weary Penn State 78-51 Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Spartans (19-13) will next face No. 4 seed Minnesota in the quarterfinals on Friday. Michigan State, the defending Big Ten champion, is seeking its fourth title in the last six years.

After closing the regular season with losses at Illinois and Maryland, the Spartans found their groove against a Penn State team playing for the second time in less than 24 hours.

"We're a better team (by) significant amounts, so we just wanted to come out there and show that," Michigan State guard Joshua Langford said. "I felt like they were kind of being nonchalant about playing us, so we just wanted to come out there and make a statement. And we did that."

The 13th-seeded Nittany Lions (15-18) fell behind for good with less than four minutes elapsed, trailed by 18 at halftime and sputtered to the finish after taking out Nebraska in overtime on Wednesday.

"I don't want to say fatigue played a major part in the game," Penn State guard Tony Carr said. "We just kind of got outworked."

Carr and Lamar Stevens each scored 16 points for Penn State, but they combined to miss 23 shots.

Penn State shot 29 percent and was outrebounded 44-29.

Michigan State opened the season with back-to-back defeats, endured a three-game skid in January and finished an uncharacteristic 10-8 in conference play. Yet, the Spartans always seem to be sharp at this time of year.

Michigan State is now 28-14 in the Big Ten Tournament and 101-45 all-time in March under coach Tom Izzo.

"I thought with my guys tonight, we executed a little better and hit our shots," Izzo said. "We got our break going, were pretty good defensively. It's one of the best games we've played this year."

It didn't take long for Michigan State to gain control against a team that one day earlier snapped a five-game losing streak.

The Nittany Lions led 5-3 before Ward made three layups and a jumper in the lane during a 13-1 run during which Penn State went five minutes without a point.

It was 18-13 before a dunk by Bridges and a 3-pointer by Langford launched a 12-0 spurt that put the Spartans up by 17.

Penn State closed to 36-27 before Bridges and Kenny Goins scored on tip-ins, Kyle Ahrens popped a 3 and Bridges soared high on a dunk for a 45-27 lead at the half.

After coasting through the second half, the Spartans began looking forward to their matchup with Minnesota. Even though Michigan State went 2-0 against the Golden Gophers, this game made it clear that past performances don't mean much in the Big Ten Tournament.

"That was so long ago, I don't think that has anything to do with it," Izzo said. "The thing we have to beat Minnesota one time, and they have been playing good. We'll have our work cut out for us, but what a great opportunity to play in this thing and I'm happy we're still playing."

Big picture
Penn State: The Nittany Lions celebrated on Wednesday night, and they also had wins over Michigan State, Maryland and Minnesota during the regular season. But their lack of consistency left them 6-12 in conference play and with virtually no chance of getting far in the tournament.

Michigan State: The Spartans save their best play for last. So what if they lost two straight coming into the tournament? No team in can match their five Big Ten titles, and there's no reason to think they can't make it six.

Up next
Penn State: Season likely over.

Michigan State: The Spartans beat Minnesota in overtime on the road before registering a 65-47 victory on Jan. 11.