Jan. 5, 2005
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Michigan State looked sluggish in the first half against Penn State. Tom Izzo made sure that changed after halftime.
"We challenged them a bit because we weren't happy with the energy," Izzo said. "We've had more energy in practice the last four days than we had at the beginning of the game. But sometimes when you have long layoffs -- and that's what we're battling here, we've played so few games in so many days -- they're sick of practicing and sometimes they don't carry it over.
"It was a tough night with the weather and everything and a lot of excuses why we didn't play as hard, but we're going to have to."
Michigan State (9-2) shot 30-of-59 for the game and 16-of-17 from the free-throw line. With a 10-point lead at halftime, the Spartans outscored the Nittany Lions (6-8) 44-28 in the second half and held them to just eight field goals.
In just its second game since Dec. 21, Michigan State got strong play from Chris Hill, who had six assists and no turnovers, and Anderson, who shook off early shooting woes and finished strong.
"What (Anderson) did was he went to the offensive boards," Izzo said. "It makes such a difference, not only for us, but he gets three offensive boards and he scores six points. Usually if you do offensive rebound -- that's still what this team has been missing -- when you do offensive rebound you have a great chance to score or get fouled because of the nature of where everybody is."
Penn State never got closer than eight in the final 20 minutes and trailed by double digits after Kelvin Torbert's 3-pointer with 19:13 left.
The win was Michigan State's sixth in a row, while Penn State lost for the sixth time in seven games.
The Spartans trailed by as many as five in the first half, but pulled ahead on a 17-2 run that started with Maurice Ager's layup and ended with Chris Hill's three-point play with 7:39 left that gave Michigan State a 30-18 lead.
Bolstered by a strong inside game, the Spartans made three layups and put back two missed shots for 10 of the points during the run. They finished with a 33-28 edge in rebounds and managed 33 points off of a season-high 20 Penn State turnovers.
"They got 33 points off our turnovers and there's the game," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We just can't continue to turn the basketball over and we continue to do it every night. We work hard in practice, we worked hard on rebounding the last couple of days. We worked hard on pressure, but when it comes to game time we just can't execute."
Geary Claxton led Penn State with a career-high 20 points.
Ager added 12 points for the Spartans and Torbert added 11 second-half points, including his 1,000th career point, which came on a dunk with 10:02 left.