Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team rallies to beat Penn State, 76-68
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo sat Cassius Winston at the beginning of the second half, benching his point guard to send a message.
It seemed to work.
Miles Bridges had 23 points and Winston scored 12 of his 15 points after halftime and finished with 10 assists, helping No. 5 Michigan State come back from a double-digit deficit to beat Penn State 76-68 on Wednesday night.
The Spartans (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) rallied to win after trailing by 12 with 15:23 left after coming back from 13-point deficit to win their previous game at Maryland.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to bring it from the beginning,” said Winston, adding Izzo’s move motivated him to play with more intensity.
Winston, who was replaced by Tum Tum Nairn at the start of the second half, made a go-ahead layup midway through the second half and Matt McQuaid made back to back 3s after not taking a shot for nearly 30 minutes.
“What breaks your back are the McQuaid 3s,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “You don’t really count on him coming off the bench. I know he’s only averaging a few points.”
The Nittany Lions (15-9, 5-6) had won two straight, including a buzzer-beater at Ohio State, and didn’t give up their winning streak easily after trailing by as much as 15 points. They went on an 11-2 run to pull within six points with 37 seconds left after Tony Carr made consecutive 3-pointers in 6 seconds. Carr just missed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds.
“We played really good basketball for a long time,” Chambers said. “We got into foul trouble. … I’d like to see our five versus their five for a longer time. I think Michigan State knows we’re a pretty good basketball team and we’d fight.”
Joshua Langford made two free throws to seal the victory and finished with 14 points.
Carr scored 28, giving him at least 25 points for the seventh time this season.
“One of the best players on the floor, for sure,” Chambers said.
Michigan State freshman Jaren Jackson is projected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer, but foul trouble is limiting his production. Jackson was held to two points, ending an 11-game streak in double digits.
Michigan State: The crisis on campus related to Larry Nassar and an ESPN report isn’t going away and the Spartans know it. Izzo wore a teal ribbon on the left lapel of his suit and his players wore the same ribbon over their hearts on their pullovers, honoring survivors of sexual violence.
“Wearing the ribbon was our way to reaching out to them,” Izzo said.
Nassar, a former doctor at the school, has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexually abusing young girls and women. ESPN has detailed various allegations involving Michigan State football and basketball players, putting Izzo in awkward situations during postgame news conferences.