No. 19 Michigan State defeats Penn State 80-64 | University sport


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By BOB TRIPI – Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Tyson Walker may not be the top scorer in every game, but he’s a key ingredient that has given the Michigan State No.19 his best start in four seasons.

“Tyson, the guy who stirs the drink usually gets the team going,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after the Spartans’ 80-64 win over Penn State on Saturday. “He’s doing it now, and it’s fun to watch.”

Walker, who transferred from Northeastern to Michigan State in the offseason, finished with 10 points and nine assists. He helped help the Spartans take a 31-3 advantage over the quick breaking point, pushing the ball past Gabe Brown, who led the team with 15 points, and Marcus Bingham Jr., who had 12. .

“I started to pick up the pace over the last two weeks of starting,” Walker said of running the quick break. “It’s fun now.”

The Spartans (9-2) have won four straight games and are enjoying their best start since the 2017-18 season, when they started 14-2.

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“It was one of the best times I’ve had,” said Walker. ” We win. I have never been classified before. They don’t know how big a problem this is. For me this is a big deal.

Walker’s game did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“He’s starting to show why he was in the race for Defensive Player of the Year,” Bingham said. “In the last two games he’s done a good job getting interceptions and being active in the spreads. He had nine assists. I tried to tell him to take another one. He could have given it to me while I was running the station wagon.

Even Penn State freshman coach Micah Shrewsberry believed Walker was one of the deciding factors.

“You can see him feeling comfortable in what he’s doing,” Shrewsberry said. “He pushes the ball with so much pace. He shoots the ball phenomenally. “He’s putting so much pressure on the defense to come back and stop him.”

Seth Lundy scored 18 points and John Harrar added 16 for the Nittany Lions (5-5).

Michigan State took advantage of a cold shot from Penn State early in the second half to take a 51-32 lead. The Nittany Lions missed four of their first five shots in the Spartans’ 9-2 streak, which was capped by a 3-point pointer by rookie Max Christie.

Penn State managed to close the gap to 58-46 with 13:27 remaining on a Sam Sessoms layup. The Spartans responded with 3 straight points by AJ Hoggard and Bingham to increase their lead to 64-46. The closest the Nittany Lions could get for the remainder of the game was within 12 points of Lundy’s 3-point with 5:39 left.

Neither team managed to pull away in the first 16 minutes, as there were five lead changes and no advantage over five points. After Penn State shot 27-25, Michigan State closed the first half scoring 15 of the last 19 points.

“They can mark in the paint. They’re scoring in the perimeter, ”Shrewsberry said. “You have to make their life difficult from the start. They were flying on the court and that’s what you’d expect.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions, who were playing strong defense at the start of the season, entered the game with four of their first nine opponents under 60 points. The 80 points are the second highest against Penn State this year.

Michigan State: Shrewsberry is the 250th coach Izzo has faced in his 27 years at Michigan State. Izzo, who is 652-256 against all coaches, is just 13 wins away from passing John Wooden.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are inactive next week before visiting VCU on December 18 and welcoming Quinnipiac on December 22.

Michigan State: The Spartans are out for 10 days before resuming play on Dec. 21 in Detroit against Oakland. Michigan State has never lost to the Grizzlies in 19 previous meetings.

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