Friday, February 7, 2014

Michigan State 82, Penn State 67

Last night was the best 40 minutes of basketball I've seen from the Spartans in...I don't know how long. They may have had bigger wins this year against more challenging opponents, but I can't recall the last time when the team clicked on all cylinders for the entire game (or at least until 3:32 was left and Izzo started inserting the "human victory cigars").

Adreain Payne finally played and, though he looked rusty, contributed 12 points in 18 minutes. More importantly, his presence in the post opened up perimeter shooting opportunities for the likes of Gary Harris and Kenny Kaminski.

The bad news was Keith Appling didn't play, but Denzel Valentine had a spectacular game--maybe his best game as a Spartan--and Travis Trice played well at point guard..

Speaking of "best games as a Spartan," how about Kaminski? 7/9 from the field and 5/6 from 3-point range--good for 19 points.

The Nittany Lions came into town riding a 3-game winning streak, but MSU punched them in the mouth early and took them out of the game. Every time Penn State attempted to make a run, MSU answered immediately.

Next up: Wisconsin. They've struggled in the Big Ten, and have even had trouble at the Kohl Center, but something about playing MSU seems to bring out the best in them. Sunday's showdown could be a nail-biter.

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