No. 20 Penn State looks for sweep of No. 16 Michigan State

NCAA Basketball
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No. 20 Penn State looks for its 15th home victory in Tuesday’s regular-season home finale against No. 16 Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions (21-8, 11-7 Big Ten) are 14-2 this season in State College, where they will try to bounce back from Saturday’s 77-68 loss at Iowa.

Lamar Stevens tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Hawkeyes for his fifth double-double of the season. Seth Lundy also contributed a career-high 19 points.

Despite the loss, Penn State remains confident as the surging Spartans (20-9, 12-6) come to town.

“The league is so good, so relentless, so suffocating, especially on the road,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said after the loss in Iowa City. “I know we have had some really good wins this year. We’ll learn from this, we’ll watch film and we’re going to get better.”

The Nittany Lions will be searching for a series sweep against the Spartans, having won 75-70 on the road on Feb. 4.

Penn State needs one more conference win to match its most in Big Ten play, set by the 1995-96 squad that finished 12-6. To do so, it will need more from Myreon Jones, who returned at Iowa after missing six games because of an illness but managed only four points.

Coming up with late-season wins in the Big Ten is always a challenge, and Penn State knows it’s a matter of executing and giving maximum effort.

“I’ve seen nothing like (the Big Ten) is right now,” Chambers said. “It is my job that we stay in this moment and that we stay present on the task at hand. There is still a lot of basketball left.”

The Spartans will be looking for their fourth straight win when they arrive at Penn State.

Michigan State picked up an impressive 78-66 win at No. 9 Maryland on Saturday.

Cassius Winston paced the Spartans with 20 points and six assists, while Malik Hall added 16 points and Xavier Tillman had 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Rocket Watts contributed 13 points to complete the balanced effort on the road.

It was Winston’s third straight game of 20 or more points.

After winning in a hostile environment, Michigan State has the confidence to do it again Tuesday.

“We came in with a take-over mentality,” Tillman told the Lansing State Journal after defeating the Terrapins. “Everybody was aggressive, everybody was confident, everybody defensively was tough on the boards. It really helped us take the crowd out of it and then we just had to play against (Maryland).”

Michigan State has won its last three road games at Illinois, Nebraska and Maryland. Earlier in the season, the Spartans struggled for large stretches each game on the road.

Not now.

“It felt a lot different,” Hall told the Lansing State Journal of winning on the road. “It’s just one of those, a feeling you get, when you pass to somebody, ‘That’s going in.’ And I know it is, because you can feel it. You can see it, but I don’t really know how to explain it.”

–Field Level Media

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