Penn State (9-6; 2-2 Big Ten) got a complete team-effort with all four senior starters posting double-digit efforts in the same game for just the second time in their careers as the Nittany Lions downed No. 18-ranked Michigan State (10-5; 2-1 Big Ten), 66-62, Saturday in the Bryce Jordan Center.
“I thought we were very effective (defensively) tonight, and I think we rebounded the basketball very well,” said Penn State coach Ed DeChellis. “The last couple of days have been all defense and rebounding (in practice). We had grit and determination and we fought here today.”
Penn State used a 10-0 run early in the second half to rest control of the game from the Spartans and held MSU to just 36 percent shooting in the second half while winning the battle of the boards (40-36) to hand the Spartans their first Big Ten loss of the season. It marked Penn State’s first win over a ranked team since downing No. 23 Illinois in the Jordan Center, 64-63, at the end of the 2008-09 season.
The Illini will come to town on Tuesday with a No. 20 national ranking as they face the Nittany Lions in a 9:00 p.m. clash on the Big Ten Network. “THON Night” at the Jordan Center, with all single-game student ticket sales donated to Penn State Dance Marathon, will mark the third game in a program-record run of five-straight games vs. ranked foes for the Nittany Lions.
Saturday Penn State got big efforts from its four senior starters led by a second-straight double-double from Jeff Brooks who posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. It marked his third career double-double and fifth game on the year with three or more blocks as he moved into ninth all-time on the Penn State career blocks chart with 61.
Fellow senior Andrew Jones tied a career-high with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting as he logged his first double-digit game of the season and his most points since posting 16 vs. Notre Dame in the 2009 NIT semifinals.
“Drew was very active. He ran the floor and was aggressive,” DeChellis said. “The other guys will find him, but he has to be active, and he did that today. I have a hard time explaining it. I’m not sure if it’s a mindset thing or what, but this sets the bar (for him). Now we want it again. It’s important for him to keep producing and then we’ll have a chance to win games.”
Talor Battle added 13 points, a season-high tying six assists and five rebounds. Battle was just 3-of-14 from the floor, but buried a huge 16-foot jumper with 18 seconds to play to stake Penn State to a three-point lead.
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Battle said. “Everyone on the team wanted me to make a play. Jeff came right up to me and told me ‘T, it’s show time.’ Drew set the screen for me, and I saw that I had the baseline. So, I stepped back and almost faded away, but I knew it was in as soon as I shot it.”
Senior David Jackson added 11 points, seven rebounds and a career-high tying three treys and red-shirt freshman Jermaine Marshall had his second-straight strong game off the bench with eight points, including seven-straight, midway through the second half.
Michigan State was led by 21 points from Durrell Summers who hit 3-of-8 from three and 14 from Kalin Lucas. The Spartans hit just 10-of-20 at the foul line and Penn State held Draymond Green, who entered posting 12.2 ppg, to just five points on 2-of-10 from the floor.
Trailing by five at the half, Penn State opened the second 20 minutes with a sweet pass from Battle to Jones for a two-handed slam to seize the momentum. Summers hit a pair of baskets to put the Spartans back up six, but would be held scoreless for the next four minutes as Penn State used a 10-0 run to take a 44-40 lead with 14:51 to play.
A Jackson three began and ended the streak as he scored eight points in the run. The Spartans reclaimed the lead, 47-46, on a Lucas three with 12:42 to play, but Marshall answered with a lay-up and the first of seven-straight clutch points off the bench.
The teams swapped the lead seven times over the next four minutes, with a Marshall top-of-the-key three giving Penn State a 53-52 lead with 9:44 to play. Green got an offensive board and a put-back to reclaim a one-point lead for MSU, but Brooks jumper gave Penn State a 56-54 lead with 8:21 left.
Brooks pushed the lead to three before Summers got a dunk and Delvon Roe hit one of two at the line to tie the game at 58 with 4:40 left. Penn State went back up by two on a pair of Battle free throws. The Spartans got a Green free throw and a Roe lay-up to retake the lead, 61-60, with 3:14 left.
Tim Frazier stole the ball from Summers and fed Battle racing down the floor. He missed the lay-up in traffic, but Jones, running the floor with energy, made a big flying follow and put Penn State up 62-61 with 1:59 to play. The Lions would not trail again.
Clinging to a one-point lead, 63-62, after Summers hit 1-of-2 at the line, Penn State ran the shot clock down before Battle used a Jones’ screen on the right side and ripped the net on a pure 16-footer with 18 seconds to play to give the Lions a 65-62 edge.
Michigan State found Summers in the corner for a three on the other end, but his shot went long. Frazier ripped the rebound and was fouled by Korie Lucious. The sophomore hit 1-of-2 at the line to ice the game. The student crowd at the Jordan Center rushed the floor after Lucious’ final lay-up missed and Penn State secured it first win over a ranked foe in its last 11 tries.
Michigan State took a 36-31 lead to the half after Summers scored the final five points of the half in the closing minute, including his third three of the game. Summers led all scorers in the half with 14 points while Lucas added nine on 4-of-4 shooting for the Spartans.
Both teams started hot from the floor, including a 5-of-6 start for the Lions, but Penn State cooled to 34 percent shooting in the half while Michigan State hit 46.7 percent and 4-of-8 from three. Brooks led the way for the Lions with 10 points and five rebounds while Battle had nine and Jones tied his season game-high with eight first half points.
Penn State came out playing crisply. Back-to-back great feed to Jones first from Battle and then from Frazier had the Lions up 11-10 early. A nice Jones follow on a Battle missed lay-up and a free throw from Jermaine Marshall gave Penn State a 20-16 lead midway through the half.
Michigan State then outscored the Lions 14-3 over the next several minutes, stringing together a pair of 7-0 runs around a Battle three to take a 29-23 lead with 3:48 to play. Threes from Lucas and Summers and buckets from Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman off the bench contributed to the runs.
Penn State scored six-straight, getting four straight free throws from Brooks and Battle and a Brooks short hook, to tie the game at 29. Nix got a put-back in traffic to regain the lead for MSU, but Battle answered with a drive that drew a foul and a pair a the line.
Summers ended the scoring in the half hitting a 22-foot three out of a Spartan timeout and drawing a foul for a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.
Penn State will continue a run of five-straight games vs. ranked opponents on Tuesday when they take on No. 20-ranked Illinois in a 9:00 p.m. tip on the Big Ten Network. It is “THON NIGHT” at the BJC with all student single-game ticket sales going to benefit Penn State Dance Marathon.Follow paulmbanks