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No. 1 Spartans Win Big Ten Opener

Penn State nearly beat Michigan State at its own game.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was angry and his players were somber after the No. 1 Spartans beat Penn State 98-73 Wednesday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

The Spartans (12-0) used a 25-4 run midway through the second half to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 23 games and the best run at home to 37 games.

Such a burst was necessary because Penn State (9-2) beat the Spartans at their own game, with hustle and heart, for two-thirds of the game.

"It was an incredible game," Izzo said. "They killed us in the first half and we reciprocated in the second half. I don't think there's any question that in basketball you're not going to win championships playing 20 minutes. And yet, we found a way to win the game and win it convincingly. But we have a lot of work to do.

"If we don't do a lot of work we're going to get beat on Sunday (at Indiana). We're not quite as good as we think we are."

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Game Summary

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  • Michigan State's senior duo of Charlie Bell and Andre Hutson led the way.

    Bell had 26 points, eight assists and a career-high six steals. Hutson scored 20 points, grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds and made a career-best four assists.

    Penn State (9-2) saw its seven-game winning streak snapped with its seventh straight loss to Michigan State.

    Titus Ivory led the Nittany Lions with 22 points. Joe Crispin, the Big Ten's leading scorer, scored 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Gyasi Cline-Heard added 16 points.

    Michigan State shot 78.6 percent in the second half while limiting the Nittany Lions to 21.4-percent shooting over the last 20 minutes.

    "Offensively, we were absolute garbage," Crispin said. "Guys were bickeing about not getting the ball. I think it's good for us. We blew a good opportunity today, but it's a good thing. I think you learn a lot more from the bad times than the good times."

    The Nittany Lions were in command of the game in the first half and led by 11 after 20 minutes. They maintained their lead until Hutson made a steal and raced down court for a dunk with 11:08 left to give Michigan State a 60-59 lead.

    That basket was in the middle of Michigan State's impressive burst, which began with it trailing 59-53 and ended with the Spartans leading 78-63 with 5:42 left.

    Penn State coach Jerry Dunn called timeouts in an attempt to stun Michigan State's momentum, but it didn't work.

    "It was close to being our best 28 minutes and probably our worst 12," Penn State coach Jerry Dunn said.

    Izzo didn't like the way his team seemingly flipped a switch to go from playing without passion to one with relentless energy and determination.

    At one point, Bell allowed Crispin to pick up a loose ball and make a 3-pointer right in front of Michigan State's bench.

    "I don't really enjoy that, turning a switch off and on," Izzo said. "That's not for championship teams, that's for average teams."

    Michigan State point guard Marcus Taylor returned from a 3@1/2 game absence, due to a broken finger, to score 11 points and allow Bell to play shooting guard for extended minutes. Jason Richardson added 10 points.

    "This definitely was a wake-up call for us," Hutson said. "If we're going to win another Big Ten championship, we can't just play hard for 20 minutes."

    The Nittany Lions outhustled the Spartans in the first half and shot 55.2 percent in the first 20 minutes.

    Penn State went on a 21-4 burst to take a 43-31 lead and led by 11 at halftime.

    The Spartans opened the second half with an 8-2 run to cut their deficit to five, but didn't put Penn State away until its stunning run midway through the second half.

    The last time Penn State played a No. 1 team was in 1993 when it lost 88-84 to Indiana in double-overtime.

    ©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed