Thursday, December 2, 2021

SPORTS UPDATE: Spartans topple Penn State in first road win

January 19, 2002
Sophomore guard Marcus Taylor dribbles to the basket against Penn State guard Brandon Watkins during the second half of Saturday’s game at Bryce Jordan Center in College Town, Penn. The Spartan’s won their first Big Ten road game by beating the Nittany Lions 77-65. —

State College, Penn. - The MSU men’s basketball team finally won a game outside the friendly confines of Breslin Center.

MSU (11-7 overall, 2-4 Big Ten) lost six-straight games away from home before it beat Penn State, 77-65, Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

“That was a huge win,” freshman guard Chris Hill said. “Obviously for our psyche, it eases the pressure.”

The Spartans opened the game with a 20-2 run on the Nittany Lions (5-11, 1-4), but just as things seemed to be going MSU’s way, sophomore forward Adam Wolfe pulled his right hamstring with 13:42 left in the first half.

Wolfe stole the ball in front of MSU’s bench, but as he released an outlet pass up court, Penn State guard Brandon Watkins forced him into the splits by falling on his right leg. He attempted to get up on his own, but immediately fell.

Wolfe will miss two to three weeks, MSU head coach Tom Izzo said.

Nearly three minutes later, the Spartans had another scare when freshman guard Alan Anderson hurt his knee. Anderson returned with 6:01 left in the first half and played a total of 24 minutes.

“I was like, ‘No, I’m getting up. I’m not sitting out this game’,” Anderson said.

“It was really hard (to play on it). It was like a sharp knife was put into my knee and I couldn’t bend it.”

Despite allowing the Nittany Lions back into the game on a 17-3 run, Izzo said he was proud the Spartans managed to come away with a win considering the injuries.

“There was a lot of swings in that game,” Izzo said. “But I must admit, for me that was one of the most rewarding wins.”

Even though Penn State was out-rebounded 42-20, Lions head coach Jerry Dunn said he was proud of his team’s ability to stay in the game.

“I was just trying to put us in position to win the basketball game,” Dunn said. “They just made some big-time shots. That’s the difference.”

But the Spartans didn’t monopolize the market on big shots.

In the second half, a three-pointer from Watkins gave Penn State a 50-49 lead, its first of the game.

The Spartans regained the lead on a jumper from junior forward Adam Ballinger, but it was a three-pointer from freshman guard Kelvin Torbert that proved to be the go-ahead basket.

Torbert, coming off a career-high 18 points against Purdue on Wednesday, again was the Spartans leading man, this time with 16 points.

Supported by strong free-throw shooting - 19-of-22 on the night - MSU cruised to victory.

Sophomore guard Marcus Taylor added 15 points and junior forward Al Anagonye another 14 inthe winning effort.

On Tuesday, the Spartans travel to No. 17 Iowa looking to string together a small winning streak on the road.

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