College Basketball

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Penn State (12-10) at (9) Michigan State (19-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 9 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Breslin Center (14,797) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: PSU 8-5, MSU 9-2. Away Record: PSU 3-4, MSU 6-0. Neutral Record: PSU 1-1, MSU 4-1. Conference Record: PSU 3-6, MSU 8-1. Series Record: Michigan State leads, 32-7.

GAME NOTES: The suddenly surging Penn State Nittany Lions hit the road to take on the ninth-ranked Michigan State Spartans in Big Ten Conference action on Thursday night.

After losing each of its first six Big Ten bouts, Penn State had been considered the weakest team in the conference. Since then however, the Nittany Lions have reeled off three straight victories, including a surprising 71-70 overtime decision at Ohio State on Jan. 29. The team's most recent triumph took place at home versus Purdue last Sunday, 79-68, and a win tonight, while difficult to attain, would even its record in true road games at 4-4.

At the other end of the spectrum in terms of conference success, Michigan State had won its first seven Big Ten tilts, but an 80-75 loss at home to bitter rival Michigan ended that streak. The Spartans bounced back with a 71-69 overtime win at Iowa, but followed that with a 64-60 setback to non- league foe Georgetown in New York City last Saturday. MSU is 9-2 at home this season.

Michigan State claimed a 79-63 win at Penn State in the first meeting between the two earlier this season, running its lead in the all-time series to a commanding 32-7.

For the most part, Penn State has been an effective offensive team in 2013-14, putting up 75.2 ppg behind the double-digit scoring efforts of guards D.J. Newbill (17.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Tim Frazier (16.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.4 apg), and forward Brandon Taylor (10.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Defensively, the Lions are permitting 72.3 ppg, despite foes shooting just 40.8 percent from the field. PSU is one of the better free-throw shooting teams in the conference (.741), but is being outrebounded narrowly (-0.2).

Newbill scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Frazier added 18 points, five boards and five helpers, and Taylor tacked on 15 points and eight caroms to lead Penn State to its double-digit win over Purdue last weekend. The Lions shot just 41.4 percent from the field, missing 15 of their 20 3-point tries, but the Boilermakers were only 3-of-11 from long range and suffered a 26-15 disadvantage in points from the foul line, as well as a 40-36 deficit on the glass.

Michigan State has performed well at both ends of the court this season, scoring 78.4 ppg in dropping 47.1 percent of its total shots, which includes a 37.9 percent showing from beyond the arc, while at the same time allowing 64.9 ppg, with foes shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from the perimeter. Favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.3) and turnovers (+2.4) have certainly helped the team's cause, and it has four players averaging double figures in the scoring column, although one of them (Adreian Payne 16.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is out with an injury. Gary Harris leads the conference with his 18.4 ppg, while Keith Appling nets 15.0 ppg and hands out 4.9 apg. Dawson turns in 10.2 ppg, while also heading the team's rebounding effort with 8.7 rpg.

Poor shooting led to the Spartans' recent loss to Georgetown. MSU hit just 39.6 percent of its field goal attempts, although it did nail nine treys, taking 29 chances to get there. Harris tallied 20 points as high man for the Spartans, while Denzel Valentine finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Kenny Kaminski came off the bench to chip in 10. The Hoyas failed to do much from beyond the arc, hitting a mere 2-of-12 attempts, but they doubled up the Spartans in points from the charity stripe, 18-9.

Even though the Spartans are banged up, they are the superior team in most matchups, and this is certainly one of them. As well as Penn State has played lately, an upset here is highly unlikely.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan State 74, Penn State 67

02/06 10:16:13 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 5
KAN 1
Final
PIT 1
CIN 2
Final
DET 7
CWS 4
Final
TAM 7
MIN 9
Final
NYM 4
STL 1
Final
CHC 2
ARI 5
Final
WAS 3
SDP 4
Final
TOR 4
BAL 11
Final
BOS 5
NYY 14
Final
HOU 1
OAK 10
Final
LOS 3
PHI 7
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
ANA
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
MIA
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
CIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
CHC
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
TAM
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
PIT
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
PHI
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
TEX
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
CLE
 
Final
ATL 98
IND 85
Final
MEM 98
OKC 95
Final
GSW 96
LAC 98
7:00pm Tonight
BRK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
WAS
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
POR
HOU
Final
DET 2
BOS 3
Final
MIN 2
COL 1
Final
LOS 6
SJS 3
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 4
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR