Nittany Lions fall to Michigan State in tough Big Ten battle
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Nittany Lions had three 3-point attempts miss the mark in the final 50 seconds of Tuesday’s game that nearly gave them a one-point lead over Michigan State in East Lansing. Penn State (7-9, 4-8) second half comeback fell just short as Michigan State (10-7, 4-7) was able to hold on for a 60-58 win.
A Penn State triple was off the mark with 49 seconds remaining with the Spartans leading.
The tenacious Nittany Lion defense forced a Michigan State turnover and Penn State brought the ball into the front court.
Following a Penn State timeout, a second 3-pointer narrowly fell and clanged off the inside iron of the rim.
After a Penn State foul, the Spartans missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Penn State had one final chance but the last second triple was long and Michigan State escaped with a two-point win.
Senior John Harrar led Penn State on Tuesday, finishing with his fourth career double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds). Harrar’s 17 points and 14 rebounds tied his career high in both categories.
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, Penn State would not go quietly. Beginning at 16:17 mark in the second half, Penn State used a 13-3 run fueled by six points from Harrar and a pair of treys by Sam Sessoms. The Nittany Lions run tied the game at 41 with 11:53 to play.
Michigan State extended their lead back to eight with 9:16 left on the clock. Myreon Jones found his stroke, scoring 11 of Penn State’s next 17 points. Jones’ layup at the 4:59 mark gave the Nittany Lions their first lead since the 16:21 mark in the first half when the score read 6-5.
Jones made a pair of free throws to push the Penn State lead to 58-54. The Spartans scored on their next possession to cut the lead to two and made four free throws on their ensuing possessions to take a 60-58 lead. This lead ended up being the final tally in the contest.
Jones finished with 15 points, scoring 11 in the second half. Jamari Wheeler collected his 300th career assist, which is 16th all-time at Penn State.
Despite a difficult shooting performance in the first half, the Nittany Lions kept Tuesday’s contest close in the first half.
Harrar was a force in the opening stanza. He finished the first half with nine points and nine rebounds to lead Penn State.
The Nittany Lions held the early advantage at 6-5 just prior to the first media timeout. A 12-0 run by the Spartans propelled them to a 17-6 lead.
Myles Dread hit a jumper off the glass to end the run and spur a 6-0 Penn State run and cut the Spartans lead to 17-12.
Harrar proceeded to score Penn State’s next five points to keep the Nittany Lions within striking distance over the next several minutes of play.
Dread hit the first three of the half with 1:10 remaining and brought the score to 29-22 in favor of Michigan State.
With Penn State trailing by 10, Sessoms hit a tough jumper to send the Nittany Lions into the locker room behind 32-24.
The Nittany Lions return to the Bryce Jordan Center to face Nebraska on Sunday, February 14.