INDIANAPOLIS -- Here’s a quick look at Penn State’s 61-48 win over Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals on Saturday.
How the game was won: With another chance to prove itself as a NCAA tournament team, Penn State rose to the challenge in the second half. It helped that Nittany Lions star Talor Battle finally found his stroke at Conseco Fieldhouse, scoring 17 of his 25 points in the second half. A day after holding Wisconsin to 33 points, Penn State allowed the Spartans just 48. It was only the second time this season Michigan State was held to less than 50 points.
Turning point: Michigan State had a 29-28 advantage in the early minutes of the second half. Penn State went on an 8-0 run that was keyed by two consecutive Battle 3-pointers. The Nittany Lions led the rest of the way.
Stat of the game: Battle played 40 minutes in Saturday’s win and set a new Big Ten record with 4,719 career minutes played. Illinois’ Dee Brown held the previous record with 4,698 minutes.
Player of the game: Battle had been unimpressive through two Big Ten tournament games, shooting 6 of 30 from the field. In his third, he returned to form. Battle was 7 of 16 from the field, made six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 25 points.
Michigan State player of the game: Kalin Lucas continued to play at a high level for the Spartans. Lucas had his 15th consecutive game in double figures, scoring a team-high 16 points.
ESPN SportsCenter highlight of the game: Late in the game, Michigan State’s Durrell Summers spun to the basket and laid the ball up, but Penn State’s Jeff Brooks came flying into the picture and swatted the ball all the way onto the Big Ten Network’s set behind the basket.
What the game means: A year ago, Minnesota made an unlikely run to the Big Ten championship game. In 2011, Penn State has achieved the same. The Nittany Lions now hope to do what Minnesota couldn’t – beat Ohio State in the title game. Ohio State got the better of Penn State in their two meetings during the regular season. For Michigan State, the win Saturday would have been nice, but the Spartans’ victory over Purdue on Friday was the important one.