Michigan State (21-3 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) came back from 12 points down in the second half and held on for a 76-68 win over Penn State (15-9, 5-6) on Wednesday in East Lansing, Mich.
The No. 5 Spartans got a team-high 23 points and 9 rebounds from Miles Bridges, and though they allowed 28 points to Penn State star Tony Carr, they frustrated him into 9 of 24 shooting. After making their comeback, the Spartans built a 15-point lead before shakiness with the ball allowed the Nittany Lions back into it.
Ultimately, Michigan State got a win thanks in large part to 15 points and 10 assists from Cassius Winston as well as 14 points from Josh Langford.
WHY: Shots began to fall, and when they did, everything started going right for Michigan State. The Spartans rejected shots at the rim, got Carr out of his groove and pump-faked their way to countless open 3-pointers. They finished 8 of 17 from long range in the game.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is an emotional team. When things are going poorly, the Spartans tend to get frustrated, as shown by Nick Ward’s contact technical foul in the first half for swinging an elbow at Josh Reaves. But when shots started falling and the crowd got into the game, Michigan State played with as much energy as it has all season. Bridges bounded around, celebrating teammates’ baskets as if they were his own dunks.
WHO STARRED: Bridges. As he went, so did his team. He took matters into his own hands throughout the game, driving hard to the rim and either looking to finish or dump it off to a teammate. He played 37 minutes while no one else played more than 30 for the Spartans, but his energy did not seem to subside.
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) February 1, 2018
WHO STUMBLED: Jaren Jackson Jr. It was one of those days for Michigan State’s inconsistent freshman star. He didn’t seem to have a hard foul all game but ultimately finished with 4 of them and sat on the bench for much of the second half. As a result, he finished with just 2 points and 2 rebounds, though he did record 3 blocks.
WHO WAS THERE: As Michigan State struggled with turnover problems, a future Spartans point guard looked on. Four-star PG Foster Loyer took in the game alongside fellow Michigan State signee and Clarkston (Mich.) senior Thomas Kithier.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State hits the road to face Indiana on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Spartans earned an 85-57 win over the Hoosiers in their first meeting of the season on Jan. 19.
Final box score. That got a little shaky at the end, eh? pic.twitter.com/xOSnYK3nSF
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 1, 2018