Penn State 61, Michigan State 48: BTT Semis Rapid Reaction

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And there was two as the Penn State Nittany Lions shocked the Michigan State Spartans with a 61-48 win in the Big Ten Tournament Semi-Finals.

Talor Battle went for a game-high 25 points to help Penn State advance to the Big Ten Championship where they will meet the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.

By: Nick Grays


The Spartans came out hot in the first half shooting 50% from the field, but Penn State stuck in there to keep the game tied at 26. The second half was all Nittany Lions thanks to Battle who couldn’t miss from behind the arc and guard Tim Frazier who shot a crisp 9-of-13 from the field for a career-high 22 points.

Frazier was a pleasant surprise for Penn State who has looked for production outside of Battle and big-man Jeff Brooks all season long. When asked about the last time he had a great offensive performance, the sophomore out of Houston, TX had to go back a couple of years.

“Back in high school. I haven’t had one of these offensive performances while in college; I hit a couple of lay-ups and my confidence grew to hit my jump-shot,” said Frazier.

Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis attributed a lot of Saturday’s success to his guard-play.

“Our back-court played very well today. I thought Michigan State came out of the gate very well and punched us, but the positive thing is we absorbed it and played well. We look forward to tomorrow afternoon,” said DeChellis.

Next up are the #1 Buckeyes who have already beaten Penn State twice. While the Big Ten Championship is of importance, everyone will be talking about Penn State’s chances at an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

Battle was asked what would it mean to earn a birth in the NCAA tournament.

“That would be great, everyone can talk all day about the individual accolades, but I would trade all of them in to play in the NCAA tournament,” said Talor Battle.

Battle also chimed in whether beating Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State in the last couple of days is enough for the committee to put them in.

“I hope so. I can tell you one thing, if we win tomorrow, we’re in. Our focus is to go out and win tomorrow,” said Battle.

For the Spartans, it’s a waiting game now. After a huge second-round upset of the Purdue Boilermakers, Tom Izzo’s squad appears to be safe for one of the coveted at-large bids.

What do you think about the Penn State Nittany Lions? Does Talor Battle and Penn State deserve a spot in the Big Dance? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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