Penn State Blown Out By No. 6 Michigan State 88-57
Penn State men’s basketball (15-14, 6-10 Big Ten) has been something of an enigma this season. After going 2-8 to begin conference play, the team managed to rally and topple Indiana and Iowa — the Big Ten’s top two teams — in consecutive weeks. Now, take what you know about the team, at least its current form, and forget about it. This game was over from the start, and the subsequent ejection of Pat Chambers only added insult to injury. Three players fouled out, and the Spartans barely broke a sweat, coasting to an 88-57 blowout victory.
How It Happened
Devin Foster’s early play surprisingly kept the Lions competitive. He had four of Penn State’s first six points, with the latter of those points cutting the deficit to just three points. Trailing 9-6, Penn State was within striking distance, feeling out the Spartans like a boxer would with jabs. But Penn State’s good fortune would not last. National Player of the Year candidate Denzel Valentine and sharpshooter Matt Costello countered Foster’s feeble jabs with a series of haymakers. The Spartans capitalized on a series of missed opportunities by the Lions, slashing through their interior before taking a substantial lead off a Valentine three point bomb.
Guard Bryn Forbes ranks No. 6 in three point shooting percentage nationally with an average of .494, and he justified that ranking against the Lions. Forbes drained a pair of treys in consecutive minutes to take a 28-9 lead, but the worst was yet to come for Penn State.
Trailing 35-18 with 4:53 left in the first half, tensions ran high on the Penn State bench. Pat Chambers became irate down the stretch as his team simply couldn’t draw a call from the officiating crew, but those tensions boiled over after what seemed like a clean play went against Penn State. Chambers rushed at the head official in a fit of rage, and had to be restrained after drawing a technical. A seemingly sharp comment directed toward the official earned him a double tech and an ejection from the game. Assistant coach Keith Urgo took the helm with his team down 52-27 at halftime.
Chambers’ ejection didn’t instill an ounce of energy into his team, as fouls began to mount for the Nittany Lions. The Lions were sloppy, and Michigan State remained sharp. An early three from Valentine extended the lead to 57-35, and it became apparent that Penn State wouldn’t be able to mount any sort of comeback.
In total, three players (Jack, Dickerson, and Taylor) fouled out before the game’s end, and Michigan State simply refused to ease up.
The offensive onslaught raged on, as the Spartans cruised easily to an 88-57 victory.
Player Of The Game
Michigan State’s Starting Five
I wish I was kidding, but unfortunately I’m not. Four of Michigan State’s five starters finished in double figures, and were led by senior Denzel Valentine’s 19 points.
Penn State returns home to face Northwestern on Thursday, March 3 at 9 p.m.