No. 17 Michigan State 81, Penn State 72: Adreian Payne overcame his first-half benching for an off-court incident earlier in the day to score 20 points as the visiting Spartans pulled away from the resilient Nittany Lions.
Gary Harris led four other teammates in double figures with 14 points for Michigan State (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten), which gave Tom Izzo his 200th conference victory. Payne and Branden Dawson sat out the first half after getting involved in an altercation at the team hotel earlier in the day.
Jermaine Marshall set career highs with 29 points and 10 rebounds while D.J. Newbill added a personal-best 27 points for Penn State (8-9, 0-5), which has dropped 10 consecutive conference games.
With two-thirds of their starting frontcourt riding the bench in the first half, the Spartans relied mostly on perimeter shooting and could not shake the Nittany Lions. The game remained close until Izzo elected to insert Payne and Dawson with 16:37 left.
Payne hit his first three shot attempts and scored 16 of his team’s next 19 points to give Michigan State its first double-digit margin. Marshall caught fire near the end of the game to help Penn State chop a 16-point bulge down to five, but the Spartans hit eight of their final 10 free throws to preserve the victory.
GAME NOTEBOOK: USA Today is reporting that Penn State police are investigating the altercation. Izzo issued a statement about the incident shortly after the news broke, stating that “a scuffle that began as two players needling each other resulted in a dented wall.” Payne and Dawson are off-campus roommates. … Eight of Michigan State’s first nine shot attempts were 3-pointers. The Spartans did not make their first two-point basket until Harris converted a three-point play at the 11:35 mark of the first half. … Izzo joins Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim as the only coaches in a power-six conference with 200 conference wins at their current school.