Michigan State saw its four-game winning streak end and dropped its first Big Ten game of the season in a 72-63 loss to Penn State at the Palestra in Philadelphia.
The Spartans scored 93 points in their victory against Rutgers on Wednesday but were held to less than 70 points for just the second time in the last nine games. Penn State got double-figure scoring from four players, including 18 points by freshman Lamar Stevens, as it ended a seven-game losing streak against the Spartans.
Freshman forward Nick Ward led Michigan State (11-6, 3-1 Big Ten) with 16 points but the Spartans shot just 41.4 percent from the field and they made just one field goal in the final 3:32 of the game. Penn State (10-7, 2-2) ended up shooting 46.4 percent after making 18 of 30 field goals in the first half to build a 44-32 lead.
The game was the first Big Ten conference game ever played in Philadelphia. It was originally scheduled to be played at Penn State but was moved as part of Penn State’s attempt to recruit the Philadelphia area.
Penn State blew a 14-point lead in a 72-69 loss at Michigan on Wednesday but trailed for just 27 seconds against Michigan State.
Penn State shot 60 percent from the field in the first half (18 of 30) and used a 7-0 run to end the half to go into the locker room with a 44-32 lead. The lead grew to 14 points early in the second half and Michigan State never got closer than five points. Even though Penn State’s hot shooting didn’t continue in the second half, the Nittany Lions had enough to hold off Michigan State’s runs.
WHAT IT MEANS
Michigan State falls from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Big Ten. It was looking for its first 4-0 start in Big Ten play in three seasons. Nebraska (3-0) and Wisconsin (2-0) play on Sunday against Northwestern and at Purdue, respectively.
Junior point guard Tum Tum Nairn was one of the few Michigan State players to have any offensive aggressiveness for the Spartans. He scored 13 points, including eight in the first half on several drives to the basket to help keep Michigan State in the game. Freshman forward Nick Ward continued his strong play, scoring 16 points and blocking five shots.
Miles Bridges didn’t have the same impact in his second game back as he did in his first game last Wednesday against Rutgers. This shouldn’t be a shock as Bridges’ conditioning will gradually improve but it certainly isn’t what it would be if he hadn’t missed all seven games in December. Bridges finished with 4 points in 27 minutes. He didn’t have the same energy in this game as he did against Rutgers.
WHO IS NEXT
Michigan State is back at the Breslin Center Wednesday night for a rematch against Minnesota. The Spartans rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, 75-74, in overtime on Dec. 27. It’s one of just two losses Minnesota (14-2, 2-1) has going into a Sunday home game against Ohio State.