The Penn State Basketball offense just could not keep pace as Michigan State surged to steal the game 67-58 in the second half thanks to hot shooting.
Penn State Basketball got off to a great start on defense allowing them to take a 10 point lead early in the game. Michigan State battled back all half and eventually got it 35-35 at halftime. The two teams traded buckets for most of the second half until MSU was able to push the lead to seven with about two minutes left. This lead was too much for the Nittany Lions to overcome and they would never get any closer.
Michigan State was led by junior guard A.J. Hoggard who finished with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Throughout the game he just seemed also hit the big shot to stop a Penn State run. Forward Joey Hauser exposed the Nittany Lions lack of size all night, racking up 12 points and a huge 15 rebounds. Overall, the Spartans played a much more efficient game than the Nittany Lions, shooting 43% from the field and 43% from three.
On the other side, Penn State Basketball only shot 35% from the field and a season worst 30% from deep. That low percentage from three also lead to a season low with only 8 three pointers made in the game. That was most apparent with Jalen Pickett, Andrew Funk, and Dallion Johnson combining to shoot 1-11 from long range. The center rotation of Kebba Njie and Caleb Dorsey had rough games, failing to finish inside and grab rebounds. Unfortunately this was the worst game of Funk’s Nittany Lion career. He finished with only two points and was largely invisible on both ends during his 30 minutes of playing time.
There were some highlights for the Nittany Lions as well. The star of the team Jalen Pickett had a very solid night despite some poor shooting. He only shot 5-14 from the field, but he still finished with 13 points, 8 assists, and a huge 17 rebounds. That 8 assists mark does not do Pickett’s passing tonight justice. He was spectacular running the offense, hitting shooters in motion and throwing slick bounce passes to hit the roll man in stread. Seth Lundy continues to be a strong scorer for the team. He finished as the leading scorer for the team with 16 on 5-11 shooting that looks worse than it was thanks to some missed late game heaves.
The Nittany Lions will look to bounce back this saturday 12/10 at noon against #17 ranked Illinois. This game will be at Champaign and televised on Big Ten Network