On the strength of a big day for its seniors, Penn State upset No. 19 Michigan State 66-62 on Saturday to even its conference record.
The Nittany Lions (9-6, 2-2) got double figure scoring from all four of its starting seniors. Jeff Brooks had 17 points to go with 12 rebounds for a double-double. Andrew Jones surged over his season average of around five points per game to score 16. Talor Battle chipped in 13, including the game winning jumper from the baseline as time was winding down and David Jackson added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Durrell Summers led the Spartans (10-5, 2-1) with 21 points and five rebounds and Kalin Lucas scored 14 points on 6-10 shooting from the field. The rest of the team struggled, however. Delvon Roe and Draymond Green were held to seven and five points respectively, holding them well off their combined season average.
Penn State played well on the boards against Michigan State. The Lions out rebounded the Spartans 40-36 and 15-13 on the offensive glass despite entering the game trailing Sparty by almost six rebounds per game on average. The Lions also played a very clean game, careful not to give the Spartans extra possessions by limiting themselves to six on the afternoon.
The win keeps Penn State afloat at mid-pack in the conference. At 2-2, the Lions don't have championships on their minds, but if they continue to play .500 basketball, will likely have a post season berth in their future.
For Michigan State, the loss was a big let down. After the game, coach Tom Izzo called it "one of the most disappointing losses if my career." While still holding only one loss in conference play, the Spartans dropped one they shouldn't have in Happy Valley, and now how some ground to make up in the Big Ten race.
The Lions host No. 25 Illinois on Tuesday and will be looking for another upset to push their conference record over the .500 mark. Penn State dropped both games it played against the Fighting Illini last season.
Michigan State will also host on Tuesday, taking on 2-1 Wisconsin at the Breslin Center. It should be a tough match up for the Spartans, but if they can pull off a victory, it should be a nice boost in momentum after a disappointing loss.