Wednesday, October 20, 2021

FINAL: MSU 60, PSU 58, Spartans squeak by Penn State after leading late

February 9, 2021
<p>Sophomore Julius Marble II sinks a second-chance layup during the first half of the Spartans&#x27; game against Penn State on Feb. 9, 2021.</p>

Sophomore Julius Marble II sinks a second-chance layup during the first half of the Spartans' game against Penn State on Feb. 9, 2021.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

It was an ending that had MSU men's basketball fans holding their breath.

In a back-and-forth, second half Michigan State (10-7, 4-7 Big Ten) pulled away with a 60-58 victory over Penn State (7-9, 4-8 Big Ten) Tuesday night, but it wasn't smooth.

Penn State came back from what was a ten-point deficit midway through the second half. Shooting 1-for-10 from the deep in the first half as a team, junior guard Sam Sessoms picked it up for PSU in the second, shooting 2-for-4 from that spot. 

Sessoms sunk one from the corner that tied the game at 41 and forced MSU to start rallying again.

Michigan State, who shot 44.8% in the first half, found themselves buried once again in shooting woes, falling into a two-minute scoring drought while PSU grabbed the lead.  

Redshirt junior forward Joey Hauser picked up two from the line to tie it again at 58 and junior forward Marcus Bingham Jr. gave MSU the lead back with a perfect two FT's for himself.

MSU pulled away with the victory as they led by two with the final minute winding down and Penn State's three-point rhythm seemed to disappear.

MSU ended the game on a 6-0 run.

It mimicked MSU's loss to Purdue in many ways as the Spartans looked solid at the start but began to show cracks late in the game.

To start the second half, graduate guard Joshua Langford stood just in front of the free-throw line while Bingham Jr. made his way to the net. Langford dished, Bingham Jr. dunked.

A small adjustment to the starting lineup gave sophomore forward Malik Hall his first start this season over Hauser.

Hall made an aggressive start and carried it on throughout the night. He brought himself to the line when MSU needed it, tallying 10 points and five rebounds.

Penn State hung around thanks to their 13-second chance points and 12 points off rebounds. The Nittany Lions grabbed 19 second-half rebounds helping them stick so closely to the Spartans until the end.

Junior forward Aaron Henry led all scorers with 20 points, shooting 9-for-19 on in-the-paint jumpers when MSU needed them.

The win gives MSU their second consecutive Big Ten victory and puts them at 4-7 in the conference and closer to the NCAA Tournament bubble.

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