There were smiles. There were high-fives. There were chest bumps. There was history.
It was fun again.
A triple-double from junior forward Draymond Green led the MSU men’s basketball team to a 75-57 defeat of Penn State on Thursday night at Breslin Center.
Green became the third player in MSU history to earn a triple-double — joining Charlie Bell and Magic Johnson — with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Johnson had eight triple-doubles in his career and Bell had one.
“I’m not the type of person to try to get a basket at the end of a game like that, but when I can be mentioned in the company with Magic Johnson and Charlie Bell, I had to do it,” Green said.
Green wrapped up the triple-double with 21 seconds left when a full-court pass to junior forward Delvon Roe was laid in as Roe nearly was tackled by a Penn State forward Billy Oliver. Roe lay on the ground for a minute pounding the ground before popping back up.
“I was happy about the triple-double until I saw he went down, and I came off that high real quick,” Green said. “I just ran down there. I’m asking Delvon if he’s alright, and he’s asking me if he made the layup. … He’s so amped up about getting the triple-double that he’s not even worried about being hurt.”
MSU head coach Tom Izzo said after the game he didn’t know Roe’s status. Green said he didn’t know either but thought Roe would be OK. Roe was unavailable to media, but some quotes were released from MSU.
“That’s just my pride,” Roe said in the statement. “Nobody is going to carry me off the court. I’ve been through too much to have someone pick me up and carry me. I can get up on my own.”
As a team, the win was needed for the Spartans (14-10 overall, 6-6 Big Ten) who had lost five of six games coming into Thursday. After having the last six opponents shoot at least 49 percent, the Spartans held the Nittany Lions (12-11, 5-7) to 41.1 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3-point range.
“Baby steps, we haven’t conquered the world, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Izzo said.
The Spartans came out to a quick start, jumping on top of Penn State, 21-6, in the first 8:04 and never looked back. The Nittany Lions cut the lead to as little as 10 in the second half before the Spartans pulled away on free throws.
“I knew that the first four or five minutes of the game would be very physical and very fast,” Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis said. “We needed to adjust to the speed quickly tonight, but we never really did.”
The Spartans will travel to No. 1 Ohio State on Tuesday looking to continue the success. But, they’ll be coming off their best game in quite a while.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement win and get a statement win, and we did that but most importantly just got a win,” Green said.
“We needed to get a win to raise our confidence up, especially going to Ohio State next, so it’s a big win for us.”
To read more about Green’s historic night, check out the men’s basketball blog, Hoop, There it is!