Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Penn St. 61, Michigan St. 48
By Pat Forde
INDIANAPOLIS -- Penn State took a giant step toward its first NCAA tournament bid in 10 years with a surprisingly easy, 61-48 victory over flat Michigan State. The sixth-seeded Nittany Lions have won four straight games to seemingly push off the bubble and into the field of 68. The Spartans probably locked up their bid Friday night with a blowout of Purdue -- and it showed with their uneven performance Saturday.
Star of the game: Penn State senior Talor Battle. He's ending his stellar career on a high note. Battle scored a game-high 25 points, hitting Michigan State with a flurry of second-half 3-pointers. He also pulled down seven rebounds.
Turning point: Battle broke open a close game with four 3-pointers on four successive possessions -- the last two while heavily guarded. When Battle's barrage was done, Penn State was up by eight and the Spartans never again got closer than seven.
Stat of the game: Penn State beat Michigan State at its own game, outrebounding the Spartans by eight.
What's next: Penn State will face Ohio State for the Big Ten tourney title Sunday. Michigan State will watch the selection show with relative certainty that it will see its name, but at a dramatically different seeding than the Spartans are accustomed to.