The Nittany Lions Outmatched by No. 5 Spartans

Story posted January 10, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Mandy Bell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A struggling Penn State defense gave up too many open buckets Sunday afternoon, allowing No. 5 Michigan State to take an easy 92-65 victory.

“I felt like Michigan State beat us in every facet and we had three of the greatest practices,” said Penn State head coach Pat Chambers. “But still they were no match for a great veteran team like Michigan State.”

In the first half, Penn State (10-7, 1-3 Big Ten) struggled to defend Bryn Forbes, who buried six threes on his way to scoring 20 first half points, which put the Nittany Lions in a 13-point deficit at the half.

“[Forbes] just got open. He’s a good shooter,” said guard Shep Garner. “He doesn’t need a lot of room. He had a great first half.”

The Nittany Lions were able to shutout Forbes in the second half, but Denzel Valentine tallied ten points for the Spartans (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) in his first game back from injury since Dec. 29. Eron Harris and Gavin Schilling also added 13 points each for the Spartans.

“I don’t think Costello gets enough credit, neither does Schilling for that matter,” said Chambers. “They do exactly what coaches want them to do.  They don’t receive the hype, but they deserve it.

Garner led the Nittany Lion’s in scoring with 19 points, followed by 13 points from sophomore Julian Moore and a career-high 12 points from senior Devin Foster.  The fourth Nittany Lion to reach double digits was Brandon Taylor, who added ten points.

“Devin Foster played great against them last year. He’s older. He has a better understanding of our rotation,” said Chambers. “He’s a big, thick physical kid. I felt like playing him was the right decision in this situation to get Shep [Garner] off the ball.”

Penn State lost some height and direction in the game when senior center Jordan Dickerson got into foul trouble.  Picking up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, Dickerson spent most of the game on the sideline. 

“It really hurt us that Jordan Dickerson played only seven minutes,” said Chambers. “He’s the mother hen out there.  He cleans up all the mistakes of these younger guys.”

About three minutes into the game, the Spartans went on a 11-0 run against the Nittany Lions and never turned back.

“We never stayed in the middle of the ring. We always ended up on the ropes,” said Chambers. “This is a very long season. This game is over, put it behind us, no excuses, no pointing fingers, stay together and let’s move on.”

The Nittany Lions will travel to West Lafayette on Wednesday to take on Purdue. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m.

Mandy Bell is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her email amb6857@psu.edu.