Spartans Travel To Penn State
 
 
 
The Spartans look for their fourth straight win as they travel to Penn State.

 
The Spartans look for their fourth straight win as they travel to Penn State.
 
 

Jan. 15, 2013

#18/17 Michigan State (14-3, 3-1) vs. Penn State (8-8, 0-4)
 Date Wednesday, Jan. 16
 Time 7 p.m. ET
 Location University Park, Pa. | Bryce Jordan Center
 Television BTN (Eric Collins, Dan Bonner)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at GoPSUSports .com.
 Game Notes Michigan State | Penn State
 Statistics  Michigan State | Penn State
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Last Meeting
Penn State57
Michigan State77
February 8, 2012
East Lansing, Mich.
No. 11 MSU Overpowers Penn State, 77-57
Draymond Green had 23 points and 12 rebounds and made some timely shots to help No. 11 Michigan State pull away from Penn State in a 77-57 win Wednesday night.

THE OPENING TIP
Michigan State takes its three-game win streak on the road as the Spartans head to Penn State in search of a second-straight road win. This is the only meeting of the regular season between MSU and PSU.

THE STARTING FIVE
1. Dawson's Recovery
Given the fact that Branden Dawson had ACL surgery just last March (two days after suffering the injury), it's remarkable that he has not missed even a single practice this season. Over the last three games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in three Spartan wins. In his most recent game, he scored a career-high 17 points at Iowa. On the season, he ranks third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg), third in rebounding (6.1 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.4 mpg). Still, it's tough to make up for missing the entire summer both in terms of conditioning and skill development.

2. Payne's Efficiency
A look at the Big Ten stats shows that junior center Adreian Payne is one of the premier big men in the Big Ten. Payne ranks tied for fifth in the conference in rebounding (7.2 rpg), third in field-goal percentage (.602) and eighth in blocks (1.3 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 8.5 points per contest, including averaging 12.0 points in the last two games, shooting 11-of-13 (.846) from the field. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just nine games. In six games, Payne picked up two first-half fouls, limiting his playing time. He's recorded three double-doubles this season, each one of them in 22 minutes or less.

3. Too Many Turnovers
One early area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 14.8 per game, including four games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 12.3 per conference game, including 12 or fewer in each of the last three games. MSU's primary ballhandler, Keith Appling, is averaging just 2.4 per contest, posting a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

4. Appling On Cousy List
Keith Appling is one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard. Appling is one of four Big Ten point guards on the list as he is joined by Michigan's Trey Burke, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Minnesota's Andre Hollins. In conference games, Appling leads the Big Ten in assists (6.5 apg) and steals (2.8 spg), and ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3). Overall, he ranks third in assists (4.6 apg) and eighth in steals (1.7 spg).

5. In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +11.6 (36.0-24.4), out-scoring 15 of its 17 opponents. At times, MSU has dominated the paint, including out-scoring Texas Southern (46-10), Oakland (40-16), Miami (30-14), Nicholls State (52-20), Tuskegee (42-26), Bowling Green (42-24), and Texas (30-16).

MSU VS. PENN STATE NOTES
Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Penn State, 30-7, including an 11-4 advantage in University Park. The Spartans have won 14 of the last 18 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 23-6 in his career against Penn State.

Coach Chambers
Patrick Chambers (Philadelphia University, '94) is 62-56 in his fourth season as a collegiate head coach, including 20-28 in his second season at Penn State. Before his arrival in University Park, Chambers spent two seasons at Boston University, making the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Penn State, 77-57, on Feb. 8, 2012, in East Lansing. The Spartans held a 33-19 lead at the half, and extended their advantage out to 22 points early in the second half. The Nittany Lions then made a strong push, narrowing the deficit to five points at 52-47. Draymond Green scored six of MSU's next eight points to spark a 23-5 run to put the game away. Green finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. MSU grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, compared to just six for PSU, as the Spartans held an 18-1 advantage in second-chance points. Michigan State shot just 26.7 percent in the first half, but improved to 65.2 percent in the second half, while Penn State also improved from 20.8 percent to 53.6 percent.

The Last Meeting In University Park
Penn State defeated Michigan State, 66-62, on Jan. 8, 2011, in University Park, Pa. MSU led by five points at the half and by as many as six points early in the second half, before a 10-0 Penn State run gave the Nittany Lions a 44-40 advantage. Delvon Roe scored with 3:14 left to give MSU a 61-60 lead. The Spartan defense then forced a miss, but turned the ball over on the next possession. Penn State then missed another 3-pointer, but Andrew Jones had a putback jam over Draymond Green, taking a 62-61 lead. The Spartans then missed two shots and PSU hit a free throw. With 48 seconds left, Durrell Summers went to the foul line with a chance to tie the game, but hit just one of two attempts. Talor Battle responded with a tough baseline jumper, giving PSU a 65-62 lead with 18 seconds left. Summers led MSU with 21 points, while Jeff Brooks paced PSU with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Poor foul shooting cost MSU as the Spartans hit just 10-of-20 attempts at the foul line.

Nittany Lion Notes
Ross Travis ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.6 rpg) ... Tim Frazier, PSU's Wooden and Naismith Awards candidate, is out for the season after suffering an Achilles injury in the fourth game of the season; Frazier was the only Division I player to average 17 ppg and 6 apg last year ... PSU's starting backcourt of D.J. Newbill (14.9 ppg) and Jermaine Marshall (14.1 ppg) combine to average 29.0 of the Nittany Lions' 61.4 points per contests (47.2 percent).

GM. 16 RECAP • MICHIGAN STATE 66 - NEBRASKA 56
Michigan State defeated Nebraska, 66-56, on Jan. 13, in East Lansing. The first half was tightly contested with neither team leading by more than five points in the stanza. The second half was much of the same as the Spartans took a five-point lead on a couple of occasions, but couldn't find more separation. With 2:36 remaining, Nebraska cut MSU's lead to 55-54. The Spartans then turned the ball over but the Huskers couldn't convert. On MSU's next possession, Gary Harris broke out of a 0-of-10 slump with a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 58-54 lead with 1:49 left. MSU then forced two straight turnovers on the defensive end and hit all six free throws in the last 1:03 to pull away.

MSU VS. NEBRASKA NOTES
* Led by Adreian Payne's 14 points, Michigan State's bench out-scored Nebraska's reserves, 17-0.
* Payne (6-6), Branden Dawson (6-7) and Derrick Nix (6-9) combined to shoot 18-of-22 from the floor totaling 43 points.
* Keith Appling tied his career high with nine assists.
* Freshman guards Gary Harris (7 rebounds) and Denzel Valentine (8 rebounds) accounted for 15 of Michigan State's 36 rebounds.
* Michigan State committed just 11 turnovers, marking its third straight game with 12 or fewer.
* Derrick Nix led the Spartans with 17 points, the most he's ever scored in a conference game.
* MSU made just 10 of its first 20 free throw attempts, but hit all eight in the game's final 4:13.
* Gary Harris missed his first 10 shots until making a 3-pointer on his 11th shot to give MSU a 58-54 advantage with 1:49 remaining.

MSU BASKETBALL NOTES It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding in four of the last 13 seasons (2000, 2001, 2009, 2010), ranking in the Top 10 eight times and the Top 25 on 11 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding in 12 of the last 15 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 461 of 598 opponents (.771), posting a 367-94 (.796) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 16 of 17 opponents this season, losing the only game in which they were out-rebounded (Minnesota). They rank 4th in the Big Ten and 21st in the nation with a +8.3 rebounding margin.

Big Ten Win No. 200
With Michigan State's next victory, Tom Izzo will record his 200th Big Ten win. When that win comes, he will join Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) as the only coaches in a power six conference with 200 conference wins at their current school. Mike Montgomery (California) has more than 200 Pac 12 wins, but a majority of those came in a previous stint with Stanford. With 199 Big Ten wins, Izzo trails Bob Knight (353), Gene Keady (265), Ward Lambert (228), Lou Henson (214), and Branch McCracken (210).

Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last four games, the Spartans are shooting .400 (16-of-37) from behind the arc, ranking third in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Gary Harris (.500; 11-of-22) and Travis Trice (.500; 6-of-12) in conference action.

MSU's Center Tandem
Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne combine to give Michigan State a steady inside presence. Although they sometimes will take the floor together, at least one of them is usually in the game. Combined, they average 17.9 ppg and 14.4 rpg, with both ranking among the top six in the Big Ten in rebounding. Both of them are also shooting over 51 percent from the field.

Big Ten Success
Michigan State has won 13 Big Ten Championships, including three of the last four, since joining the league prior to the 1950-51 season. The Spartans' first ever league game was at Northwestern, where MSU claimed a 67-62 victory on Jan. 6, 1951. All-time, MSU is 553-451 (.551) in league play, including 199-91 (.686) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 199 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to seven of its 13 league crowns. Since Izzo's first season (1995-96), MSU has a Big Ten-best record of 199-91, 15.5 games better than second-place Wisconsin (183-106).

Another Izzo Milestone
Tom Izzo became the third-winningest coach in Big Ten history with Michigan State's win vs. Purdue. The victory was win No. 424, passing Lou Henson (423 wins; 1975-96). Izzo (426 wins) now trails just Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).

Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.9 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.8 ppg. He opened his Spartan career by becoming just the third freshman in MSU history to score in double figures in each of his first three games. He suffered a shoulder sprain in the first defensive possession of the fourth game of the season against Boise State, and missed the two games following that one. He is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10. He's averaging a team-best 14.3 ppg in Big Ten play, leading all conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (26) and attempted (69), and has made .500 (11-of-22) of his shots from behind the arc in conference action.

Spartan Double-Doubles
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne leads the way with three (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee). Branden Dawson (Connecticut and Purdue) and Derrick Nix (Tuskegee and Texas) each have two, while Denzel Valentine (Oakland) has one.

Spartan Defense
The 2011-12 season was one of Michigan State's best defensive efforts on record. The Spartans ranked second in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot .379 from the field, the lowest percentage by Spartan opponents since 1957-58 (.343). In addition, MSU ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring defense (59.3 ppg) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.299). This season, MSU is allowing opponents to shoot .376 from the field, ranking second in the Big Ten, including .301 from 3-point range. MSU also ranks second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 57.7 points per contest. In MSU's lone conference loss, it had one of its weaker defensive efforts, allowing Minnesota to score 76 points on 56.6 percent shooting, both of which were season highs for Spartan opponents.

There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (13.8 ppg - 10th Big Ten) and assists (4.6 apg - 3rd Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in nine games, and scoring 20 or more points three times. One area where Appling has improved over last season is his outside shooting, as he is shooting .326 (15-of-46) from 3-point range, compared to .250 (24-of-96) in 2011-12. In addition, he's establishing himself as one of the premier defenders in the nation. His play has not gone unnoticed by his head coach, as Tom Izzo remarked "I'm not an easy guy to please. But I'm really excited for him and proud of him for what he's doing right now in an incredible way."

Spartans Shooting Better
Michigan State got off to a cold shooting start this season, failing to shoot better than 39 percent in either half in the opener against Connecticut. In the 32 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 15 times. Through 17 games, MSU is shooting .469 from the field, ranking fourth in the Big Ten.

Trice Is Back
Travis Trice suffered a concussion and broken nose in the season opener against Germany and missed the next five games. In his 11 games back, he's averaging 6.1 points, while shooting .459 (17-of-37) from 3-point range. His return has taken some of the ball-handling duties off Keith Appling's shoulders. In the five games that Trice missed, Appling was forced to play 36.4 minutes per contest.

Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 7.2 caroms per contest. Nix grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in his Spartan debut three seasons ago, but did not record double figures in rebounds again until the 2012-13 season opener when he collected 11 boards against Connecticut. He has four double-figure rebounding games this season, and has recorded double-doubles in two of his last six games. They were his first double-doubles since his Spartan debut. Following a career-high 25-point, 11-rebound effort against Texas, he was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 24.

Searching For A Rotation
Michigan State has used four different starting lineups this year, although the same starting lineup has been used for the last 10 contests, and 11 games total. Eight current Spartans are averaging more than nine minutes per game, and 10 are averaging 4.8 minutes or more. Finding a rotation was difficult early in the season due to injuries to Travis Trice, Matt Costello and Gary Harris. In fact, the game at Miami (No. 7 of the season) was the first game in which all non-redshirting scholarship players saw action, and even then, Trice and Harris were just coming off injuries.

Appling Takes Over
In several of Michigan State's wins, Keith Appling has made key plays down the stretch to secure a Spartan victory. Against Kansas, Appling scored five points in the final 1:36, first hitting a 3-pointer to give MSU a four-point lead, and then connecting on an acrobatic driving layup with 14 seconds left to give MSU a 67-64 win. He scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half against the Jayhawks. Against Boise State, with MSU leading by two points in the final minute, Appling hit another driving layup with 14 seconds left again, this time converting on a three-point play to give MSU a 73-68 advantage. With six seconds left, he hit one of two free throws to secure the win. Against Oakland, with the Golden Grizzlies having cut the lead to four points with under seven minutes left, Appling knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 15-1 run to close the game. At Iowa, he scored six of his 12 points in the final 1:49, including hitting all four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds of a three-point Spartan win.

Freshman Contributions
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (12.9 ppg) and minutes (27.9 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.9 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.5 rpg) and fifth in minutes (22.2 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 4.8 minutes in the 11 games in which he's played.

Second-Chance Points
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 206-145, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.6 points per game (12.1-8.5). The Spartans are averaging 12.0 offensive boards per game. MSU has 204 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 355 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .365.

Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season, the year of Michigan State's first of 15 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 165 games against ranked opponents. That total ranks first among teams that have appeared in a Final Four since then. The Spartans are followed by North Carolina (153), Kentucky (148), Duke (146) and Connecticut (139). (Through Jan. 14)

Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded 33 steals through the first 17 games of the season (1.9 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. For comparison, Draymond Green led the 2011-12 Spartans with 54 steals.

Frequent Flier Miles
With trips to Ramstein Air Base (vs. Connecticut), Atlanta (vs. Kansas) and Miami, Michigan State traveled nearly 12,000 miles in the month of November. In fact, the Spartans had flown more than 9500 miles prior to their home opener.

Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 2), Michigan (No. 5), Minnesota (No. 9), Ohio State (No. 11), Michigan State (No. 18), and Illinois (No. 23) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Jan. 14). To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play a combined nine games against those five teams during conference play. Michigan State's single plays are at Iowa and Penn State, and hosting Illinois and Northwestern. Last season, eight of the 12 league teams participated in the postseason, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks seventh in Michigan State history with 89 career blocks. Goran Suton ranks sixth with 90. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.

Spartan Captains
Senior Derrick Nix and red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd will serve as team captains during the 2012-13 season. They were chosen by a vote of their teammates, and Tom Izzo made the announcement at MSU Men's Basketball Media Day on October 9.

Freshman Class
Michigan State welcomes a talented and decorated class to the team in 2012-13. Gary Harris was a 2012 McDonald's All-American, and the recipient of the Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball award, averaging 25.4 points at Hamilton Southeastern. Matt Costello was the Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner after averaging 25 points and 19 rebounds as a senior at Bay City Western. Denzel Valentine led Lansing Sexton to back-to-back Class B state championships, and was the 2012 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year after nearly averaging a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kenny Kaminski missed most of his senior season at Medina with a shoulder injury, but returned in time to lead his team to the Elite Eight of the state tournament. Harris, Costello and Valentine all are expected to contribute this year, while a different shoulder injury makes Kaminski a possible redshirt candidate.

Spartan Strong
Michigan State has a reputation for being a strong, physical team and the numbers back it up. Twelve players on MSU's roster can leg press over 700 pounds, with Derrick Nix leading the way with 1100 pounds. Since his arrival on campus, Keith Appling has increased his leg press by 315 pounds under the direction of Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Vorkapich. Collectively, the Spartans can leg press 6 tons - the equivalent of three cars or one African elephant. In terms of upper body strength, Nix leads the way once again, bench pressing the NBA testing standard of 185 pounds 22 times. Gary Harris is the strongest of the guards, ranking tied with Alex Gauna for second on the team with 19 repetitions.

Athletes Too
In addition to their strength, the Spartans have also proven to be incredibly athletic, leading to the up-tempo pace Michigan State desires to play this season. When Coach Izzo recruited Adreian Payne, he called Payne the most athletic big man he's ever coached. He wasn't exaggerating as Payne holds the Izzo-era record for a standing vertical jump (no step) at 38 inches. Given a running start, three players can elevate greater than 40 inches: Keith Appling (42"), Adreian Payne (41"), and Travis Trice (40.5").

THE BOOK ON TOM IZZO
Coach Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 426-172 (.712), and 199-91 (.686) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. He ranks as the winningest coach in Michigan State history, having passed his mentor Jud Heathcote with his 341st career victory on Nov. 28, 2009 . In his 17 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has captured eight National Coach of the Year awards, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001 and 2012. In 1999, Izzo was named National Coach of the year by Basketball Times, while earning similar honors from The Associated Press, Basketball News and the USBWA in '98. He also earned National Coach of the Year accolades from CBSSports.com in 2012. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2009 and 2012.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .686 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.713), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.727), Izzo (.712), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 199 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.

Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 17 seasons, Tom Izzo won 412 games, ranking tied for second in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 17 years.

Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech), Stan Heath (South Florida), Mark Montgomery (Northern Illinois) and Doug Wojcik (College of Charleston). Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons and Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo. Jim Boylen was head coach at Utah for four years.