MSU jumped out to a commanding 42-29 halftime lead, but as has become their custom, they coasted in the second half and watched as Penn State went on an 8-0 run and flipped the halftime lead by winning the half 41-29 and in the process cutting the Spartans lead to just two points with 5:29 remaining.
But MSU to their credit, didn't wilt, even when Penn State cut the Spartans lead to one.
But in a pivotal sequence, with the Spartans leading by two, Penn State guard Talor Battle attempted to split the MSU defense, but was stripped by forward Goran Suton, he lost the ball and fouled-out by tackling forward Durrell Summers. He could only watch as the Spartans won the free throw shooting contest down the stretch.
With the win, MSU improved to 4-0 in the Big Ten. Raymar Morgan led MSU with 17 points and five rebounds. Lucas scored 15 points with four assists, Goran Suton added 13 points, 14 rebounds, including four offensive boards, while Durrell Summers gave MSU ten points off the bench.
That production was enough to offset the outstanding play of the Big Ten's leading scorer Jamelle Cornley who was as advertised, scoring 26 points while Battle added 20, five assists and five rebounds
"I told our team before the game, I laid down a challenge and said, 'whoever wins the rebounding battle will probably win the game' and sure enough, we won the rebounding battle and we won the game," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo.
Penn State came into the game with 516 rebounds to lead the conference, MSU, the conference leader in rebounding margin at 9.7 outcaromed the Nittany Lions 39 to 22 and Izzo felt that was the difference in the contest.
MSU (14-2, 4-0 Big Ten) now heads for home where they'll host a tough Illinois (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) team, Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. Illnois was in a tight contest at Assembly Hall in Champaign against #24 Michigan tonight.