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March 4, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich., March 4, 2010 - The Nittany Lions have suddenly gotten very comfortable with one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten as Penn State took No. 11 Michigan State to the final seconds before falling 67-65 in a thriller at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Four Nittany Lion starters scored in double-figures as the Lions took a two-point lead with 5:45 to play and had the Spartans, looking for a piece of the Big Ten title, behind the eight ball for the final five minutes. Penn State held a two-point margin with 2:32 to play before a late Spartan rally. Chris Babb's three with eight seconds to play had the Lions down one, 66-65, with no timeouts. Penn State nearly got a five-second call on the Spartans before sending Kalin Lucas to the line with five seconds to play. He hit one of two. Talor Battle grabbed the rebound but was hounded by three Spartans as he got off a desperation half-court heave that went wide as time expired.
Babb and Battle led Penn State (11-18; 3-14 Big Ten) with 16 points apiece. Babb hit 4-of-5 from three and added five assists. Battle added a season-high eight assists and six rebounds playing all 40 minutes of an intense battle. David Jackson had 12 for Penn State and Jeff Brooks added 13 as Penn State nearly duplicated its 72-68 upset of the No. 9 ranked Spartans at the Breslin Center from last season.
Raymar Morgan led Michigan State with 16 points and eight rebounds. Draymond Green added 14 points and nine boards as the Spartans improved to 23-7 (13-4 Big Ten) and kept their hopes alive for a share of the Big Ten title. The Spartans depth (26-1 in bench points) and rebounding (39-26 in favor of MSU) gave the Lions trouble, but Penn State, looking for its third-straight conference road win, hit 59 percent from the floor and 6-of-10 from three in the second half and out-shot the Spartans 46 percent to 44 percent in the game to withstand several Spartan runs.
Michigan State expanded a seven-point halftime lead to 10 after a Chris Allen jumper with 17:29 to play. The Spartans maintained that 10-point edge with 16:53 to play when Babb drained a three to spark a 7-0 run that brought the Lions within three, 42-39, when Jackson hit a three with 14:48 to play.
The Spartans responded when Green fed Delvon Roe for a dunk. Brooks then reeled off seven-straight points for the Lions. His drive and 10-foot jumper cut the lead to three and then he netted a three to tie the game at 44 with 13:25 to play and send tremors through the Breslin crowd.
Korie Lucious immediately responded with a three for MSU, but Brooks answered right back with a driving lay-up. Brooks rejected a driving Durrell Summers on the other end, but Morgan picked up the ball and put it in for a 49-46 lead.
The Lions' 6-10 forward Andrew Jones picked up his fourth foul on Michigan State's next possession and Morgan took advantage scoring four straight points as the Lions went to a 2-3 zone. Summers drained a three as Penn State's zone sagged to help on Morgan and the Spartans had a 9-0 run to push their lead back to 10, 56-46, with 9:28 to play.
Penn State would not go away. The Lions mounted a 12-0 run as they held the Spartans scoreless for nearly five minutes. Jackson got a steal and fed Battle for a dunk. Babb buried a jumper, got a steal and fed Battle for an and-one lay-up. Jones grabbed an offensive board and went to the line where he hit one of two. Then Babb cut up the lane to the top of key, turned and buried a three that gave the Lions a 58-56 lead with 5:51 to play.
Lucious fed Morgan for a lay-up that tied the game. Jackson hit a jumper to regain the lead. Morgan fed Green to tie the game at 60. Lucas fouled Battle with 2:32 to play and the Lion leader hit both foul shots to give Penn State its last lead, 62-60, with 2:32 to play.
Morgan fed Green again for a dunk to tie the game and then hit a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 64-62 lead with 1:24 to play. Penn State called timeout and set up a play. Jackson sprung free at the arc just as Penn State coach Ed DeChellis drew it up. The ball went in, around, touched net and somehow popped out.
With Michigan State holding as the clock wound down, Jackson poked the ball away from Summers. Babb picked it up and tried to head down court, but Summers and Lucas quickly caught him and Summers swiped the ball from behind. The teams went to the floor in a scrum, but MSU came out with the ball and Summers tossed it ahead to Morgan. He went in for the dunk, but freshman Bill Edwards swooped in from behind for the block. He was whistled for a foul and Morgan buried both free throws for a 66-62 lead with 12 seconds to play.
Penn State went to the half down seven, 32-25, after clawing its way back from down 11 to within two of the Spartans with 5:30 left in the first 20 minutes. Penn State shot just 35 percent in the half and committed several costly unforced turnovers. But they battled the Spartans fairly close on the boards, trailing 22-17, and held MSU to 40 percent shooting to stay within striking distance. Battle had eight for Penn State while Green led eight Spartans that scored with eight of his own.
Both teams struggled shooting around 32 percent through the first 10 minutes. A Spartan alley-oop to Durrell Summers and a Korie Lucious three put Michigan State up 11-4. Jeff Brooks buried a big three for Penn State to get the Lions within four, 13-9.
The Spartans then went on a 6-0 run to take a 20-9 lead following a baseline jumper from Draymond Green and a driving lay-up from Lucious.
With the Breslin crowd roaring, the Lions mounted a rally running off the next eight points. Battle drove baseline and dished the Drew Jones for two. After a Lion miss, Babb fed Battle for a lay-up and David Jackson hit a pair of jumpers to pull the Lions within three, 20-17.
Following a Spartan basket, Babb buried a top of the key three to get the Lions with two, 22-20, with 5:30 to play. Michigan State would out-score the Lions 10-5 over the final five minutes with the last two coming on a Delvon Roe lay-up in the closing seconds.
Penn State will return to the Bryce Jordan Saturday for their final home game of the season vs. No. 6 Purdue. The game will tip at 2:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. Penn State students with a student ID will be admitted free to the game. Penn State fell 66-46 at Purdue earlier this season, but defeated the Boilermakers in their last trip to the Jordan Center, 67-64, last year. Like last year's game at the BJC, Purdue will be playing without standout Robbie Hummel who suffered a knee injury in February. Purdue leads the all-time series 23-10.
- NITTANY LIONS -