Gabe Brown scored 15 points and Marcus Bingham Jr. had 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 19 Michigan State to an 80-64 victory over Penn State on Saturday.
The Spartans (9-2, 2-0 Big Ten), who have won four straight games, are off to their best start since the 2017-18 season, when they started 14-2.
Seth Lundy scored 18 points and John Harrar added 16 for the Nittany Lions (5-5, 0-2 Big Ten).
Michigan State took advantage of cold shooting by Penn State at the start of the second half to build a 51-32 lead. The Nittany Lions missed four of their first five shots during the Spartans’ 9-2 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer by freshman Max Christie.
Penn State was able to close the gap to 58-46 with 13:27 left on Sam Sessoms’ layup. The Spartans answered with consecutive 3-pointers by A.J. Hoggard and Bingham to push their lead to 64-46. The closest the Nittany Lions could get the rest of the game was within 12 points on Lundy’s 3-pointer with 5:39 left.
Neither team was able to pull away in the first 16 minutes, when there were five lead changes and no advantage larger than five points. After Penn State pulled to 27-25, Michigan State closed out the first half by scoring 15 of the final 19 points.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions, who had been playing solid defense at the start of the season, came into the game holding four of their first nine opponents under 60 points. The 80 points are the second-most scored against Penn State this year.
Michigan State: First-year Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry is the 250th coach that Spartans coach Tom Izzo has faced in his 27 years at Michigan State. Izzo, who has a 652-256 record against all coaches, is just 13 wins away from passing John Wooden.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions are idle for the next week before visiting VCU on Dec. 18 and hosting Quinnipiac on Dec. 22.
Michigan State: The Spartans are off for 10 days before returning to action on Dec. 21 in Detroit against Oakland. Michigan State has never lost to the Grizzlies in 19 previous meetings.