All season long the Penn State Nittany Lions have been a tough out for the rest of he Big Ten Conference. While the Nittany Lions had lost three games in a row entering Tuesday night these three losses had come by just a combined 9 points.
On more than one occasion this season the Nittany Lions had come close to getting their first ranked victory of the Micah Shrewsberry Era. Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center they finally picked up this victory.
The Nittany Lions overcame a slow start to the second half to defeat the Spartans 62-58. With the victory Penn State improves to 10-12 overall on the season, and they are now 5-9 in Big Ten play.
At halftime the game was tied at 24 but he Spartans started the second half on an 8-0 run. Their lead grew to get as large as 14 before the Nittany Lions started to battled back. Penn State started to control the glass better and began to limit Michigan State’s shooting on their way to outscoring the Spartans 33-17 over the final 13:57 of the game.
It was a hell of an effort by the Nittany Lions. This team continues to fight for their coaches and each other. While the Nittany Lions will likely enter the tournament with a sub-.500 record you can be assured no team wants to draw them in the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions will not be an easy out in Indianapolis and it would not be a surprise to see them pull an upset or two along the way.
Another fun part about the victory is that it prevented Tom Izzo from making history. Izzo was looking to tie Bob Knight for the most wins in Big Ten history on Tuesday night but the Spartan head man came up short. It sure is nice to know Izzo will not get that victory against the Nittany Lions, nor will it come at the BJC.
Four Factors Analysis
Player of the Game
Following the victory Coach Shrewsberry called John Harrar a “culture building” player and the high praise were earned by the senior. Tuesday night Harrar willed the Nittany Lions to victory while pulling in a career high 16 rebounds. Harrar also scored 16 points, was a key defensive player and was a tone setter for the Nittany Lions throughout the game.
Micah Shrewsberry continues to go to bat for his players - Following Saturday’s 76-70 loss against Minnesota Coach Shrewsberry did not hide how he felt about the officials. He expressed frustration over the Nittany Lions not getting more calls in Big Ten play. Tuesday night Shrewsberry was called for a technical foul after the officials missed a call when Harrar was fouled while putting up a shot. The strong culture that Shrewsberry has started ot build in Happy Valley can stem in a big way from things like this.
Penn State never quit - When Michigan State sprinted out to a 41-29 lead after the game was tied at 24 at halftime Penn State easily could have laid down and died. However, just as they have done for most of the season, the Nittany Lions never quit and were able to rally to victory. To build off of Shrewsberry’s postgame comments about Harrar this was a culture building type of win for the Nittany Lions.
Big night for Seth Lundy - While Harrar took home player of the game honors the role Lundy played in the victory can not be overlooked. Lundy helped spark the second half rally by the Nittany Lions and was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points. In addition to going 5/12 from three-point range, Lundy was on the court for the game’s entire 40 minutes.
Next up for the Nittany Lions is a Thursday afternoon rematch against Minnesota in a makeup of a game postponed last month due to COVID. Tipoff form the Bryce Jordan Center is scheduled for 4:00 PM ET.