Spartans Get Walloped as They Exit the Big Ten Tournament with 61-48 Loss to Penn State

The Spartans are Battle weary, as in PSU super stud Talor Battle.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.
The Spartans are Battle weary, as in PSU super stud Talor Battle. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

 

Conseco Fieldhouse

Indianapolis, IN

 

The Michigan State Spartans came into the season with a dream of hanging a banner. Head coach Tom Izzo says that is what seasons at MSU are about. After a tough season they had a great shot at their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2000 and thus another banner this season. By losing to Penn State today (61-48) the dream of a banner is slipping away.

 

Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis said of his teams big win over the Spartans today, “Michigan State came out of the game very well and punched us, but I felt we absorbed it.” Absorbed it may have been an understatement.

 

Nittany Lion guard Talor Battle shredded the Spartans. He had 25 points and seven rebounds and had his way with MSU. He said of his performance, “I think they played well…they pressured almost every shot, I think I was just in a zone.” MSU held the Lions to only 42% shooting.

 

Tom Izzo as you can expect was not as happy after the game. “Disappointed, unbelievable what a day makes.” It was hard not to echo his sentiments. “They just seemed to have more energy then us. We got off to a great start.” Izzo’s right. The first ten minutes of this contest they played as well as they did last night in an upset of Purdue. The problem is that games last forty.

 

Were the Spartans tired? Was this being their third game in as many days hold the clue to the lethargic play for the last 30 minutes? Draymond Green addressed that. “We weren’t tired. If we were we wouldn’t have got off to the start we did.”  A statement that caused his head coach to make a agreeing head nod sitting next to him.

 

Kalin Lucas as usual led the team in scoring. He echoed the thoughts of Day Day. “We did start off great. They started hitting shots and it just took something out of us.”

 

Izzo is lauded nationally for being one of the best March coaches in the nation and he said of this loss, “When it is one and done time, it’s 40 minutes of energy or you’re in trouble.” The Spartans only had two-second half turnovers, and frankly with only nine for the game that is not why they lost.

 

One glaring problem to me was the use of the MSU big men. Certainly PSU was killing MSU with guards and from the outside, but Izzo’s willingness let PSU sets the flow rather than force them to adapt to him stood out.Â

 

In the first half Adreian Payne played six minutes. He played only one is the second half and it was the final minute when the game was decided. Derrick Nix played seven minutes in the first half and only eleven for the game. Finally Garrick Sherman played five in the first half and none in the second.Â

 

PSU was concerned about the play of the MSU big men and what they did at Ohio State. A concern that was unwarranted, because the Spartans never really utilized it.

 

The Spartans are now 19-14 for their season record. I have no doubts they are in the NCAA Big Dance and I have to believe Izzo feels the same. He did however keep his promise not to politic, but when asked about his team’s chances said, “We have done enough to get us in, and enough to get us out…I am ready to accept whatever it is I have to accept.”

Comments