EAST LANSING, Mich. — All season long, the Michigan State Spartans have started games slow before pulling away in the second half for wins.
Last time out, they were down 13 to the Maryland Terrapins at the half. In the second frame, they put up 50 points against the Terrapins, and came away with a six point win, 74-68. They’ve skirted danger on many occasions in 2017-18, but only have three losses to their name.
On Wednesday night, the Penn State Nittany Lions took a six point lead into the break, and stretched their lead to double figures early in the second frame. However, the Spartans found their groove once again and thwarted any upset bid from the Nittany Lions.
Thanks to another second half performance that saw the Spartans go for 52 points, Michigan State pushed their winning streak to five games with the 76-68 win over the visiting Nittany Lions on Wednesday.
For the Nittany Lions, guard Tony Carr led the way with a game-high 28 points. Carr also added seven assists and six rebounds in the loss. Lamar Stevens was the only other player for Penn State to score in double figures, finishing with 18 points before picking up his fifth foul.
Penn State only got two points from their bench in the loss, as Julian Moore was the only reserve to put any points on the board.
As for Michigan State, the usual suspects were once again leading the way. Miles Bridges scored a team-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Cassius Winston posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists. Joshua Langford rounded out a trio of Spartans in double-figures with 14 points of his own.
The Spartans’ bench accounted for 16 of their 76 points in the win, which was a big factor in their second half comeback. Guard Matt McQuaid led all reserves with six points and three rebounds.
At the break, Penn State held a 30-24 lead over the Spartans. The home side was held scoreless for a stretch of over four minutes in the first frame, allowing Penn State to hold a lead for the majority of the half.
In the second half, the Nittany Lions extended their lead to 12 points in the early minutes. A three point jumper from Shep Garner gave Penn State a 41-29 lead with 15:23 to play in the game.
Michigan State would start to find their groove, and clawed their way back before the 10-minute mark of the frame. A jumper from Winston with just over 12 minutes to play brought the game back to all-square, at 41-all.
A few minutes later, McQuaid connected on his second trifecta of the half to tie the game once more at 49-all. Then, Winston followed that up with a layup to put the Spartans ahead by a pair, and they wouldn’t trail the rest of the way.
The Spartans led by as many as 15 points in the closing minutes of the game, and held down home court to the tune of a 76-68 victory over Penn State.
With the win, fifth-ranked Michigan State (21-3, 9-2) has now won five straight games. They will look to keep rolling when they visit the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday.
The loss brought an end to the modest two game winning streak for Penn State (15-9, 5-6). They return home to face off against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday night.
– T. Bennett