EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The Michigan State Men’s Basketball team was in need of another Big Ten home win on Tuesday night. The Spartans struggled but pulled together a win over Nebraska on Saturday evening and to put that in context, Nebraska is the only team in the conference who has yet to win a game over a Big Ten opponent this season.
So Tuesday night rolled around and the Spartans were hoping to build off their home win with another one against Penn State. Coming into the game, the Nittany Lions led the Big Ten Conference in average offensive rebounds per game and the Spartans gave up a season-high 22 turnovers against Nebraska over the weekend, so taking care of the basketball was going to be a top priority for the Michigan State.
The first few minutes of the game started as predicted as Michigan State’s Foster Loyer turned the ball over to Penn State’s Jamari Wheeler who took it the rest of the court and scored two of his six points in the contest. Since that moment the Spartans took control of the momentum and went on a 12-0 run to take a commanding lead throughout the rest of the first half.
In the second half, the Spartans had to stay focused on their defense since Penn State was poised to make a late push for the lead. With three minutes and sixteen seconds to go in the game, Penn State was trying to hold on to a 58-54 lead but Michigan State fought back to tie the game up at 58 all.
Then with just over a minute left, Michigan State junior forward Marcus Bingham Jr. drained two free throws to give the Spartans a 60-58 lead. The Spartans defense went into overdrive with less than a minute left in the game as Penn State’s Myles Dread threw up a running three-point shot at the buzzer but his aim was off and the Spartans survived with a two-point victory.
Michigan State’s Aaron Henry finished with a game-high 20 points and he couldn’t have been prouder of his team’s effort on both sides of the ball.
“We honestly just tried to play as straight up as we could and play as big and as strong as we could and I’m proud of our guys for the way we competed for forty minutes,” said Henry. “It wasn’t thirty0nine minutes or thirty-nine minutes and forty seconds is was forty minutes of competing that’s what got us the win honestly.”
“The start of the second half I think I got my second foul and as soon as I got out the big dude on they team scored and my mindset was just try and attack him in any way I can as far as rebounding being on the glass,” said Bingham Jr. “I told my coaches I got him and I feel like I did a good job on it.”
Michigan State’s head coach Tom Izzo, wanted to start prepping for the Spartans’ next opponent as soon as the postgame press conference was over.
“I’m proud of them and I’m pleased and I’m excited to go to work tomorrow, tonight, right now, let’s go…let’s play!” said Izzo.
The Spartans will have a few days to prepare to host No. 15 ranked Iowa on Saturday, tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m.