UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 16 Michigan State (21-9, 13-6) shot 67.9 percent in the second half and connected on four of its five 3-pointers in the period to escape the Bryce Jordan Center with a 79-71 win over Penn State (21-9, 11-8) Tuesday, March 3. Four Spartans combined for 44 of the team’s 48 points in the second half to overcome a 46-25 deficit.

“It’s exciting to be on (this) level now, and that can’t drop,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “We’re a damn good team, we just haven’t played 40 minutes yet. MJ [Myeron Jones] is getting back, he’s getting closer and closer. We’re getting close…We had a great first half, but a disappointing second half. Give Tom [Izzo] credit, give Michigan State credit, and give [Xavier] Tillman credit. I haven’t seen anybody guard Lamar like that in four years. He did an outstanding job of really frustrating him all night long. We have a lot of basketball to be played, a lot of time for us to right the ship, and we will because I know we have a lot of commitment and a lot of love in that locker room.”

Three Nittany Lions scored in double digits with sophomore guard Myreon Jones returning to the starting lineup and finishing the night with a team-best 16 points. Senior forward Lamar Stevens had 15 points, 13 coming in the second half, and senior forward Mike Watkins added 12 with a team-best nine rebounds.

A putback layup by junior forward John Harrar then key deflection with 5:07 left to play, followed by another Harrar layup, put Penn State down by only two, 68-66. The game’s leading scorer, Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman, made two free throws to give the Spartans a 70-66 lead at the 4:34 mark. Penn State trimmed the lead to three, 70-67, on a free throw, but couldn’t get any closer. Tillman had 23 on the night and a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Spartans held on for the 79-71 win with five free throws and a pair of baskets over the game’s final few minutes.

Michigan State flipped the script on Penn State in the second half. In the first half, Penn State made 7-8 field goals by five different Nittany Lions over a stretch of three-and-a-half minutes to take a 33-18 lead. The Spartans made their opening six shots after the break, missed two, and then made five more to reverse the score to a 57-53 MSU advantage.

Penn State responded with a 9-3 run, keyed by back-to-back baskets by Stevens for a 65-62 score with 8:17 to play.

The Nittany Lions opened the game on a 10-2 run beginning with an alley-oop from Jamari Wheeler to Watkins. A trey by both Wheeler and Seth Lundy and another alley-oop to Watkins gave the Lions the early advantage. Over a stretch of 2:16, the Nittany Lions were held scoreless as Michigan State pulled within one 12-11.

Two free throws by Watkins and then four-straight field goals by Izaiah Brockington and Seth Lundy including two treys by Myreon Jones pushed the Penn State’s lead back up to 12, 25-13.

The Nittany Lions drained 10 triples in the first half, led by four from Myreon JonesMyles Dread added three triples and Lundy knocked down a pair of treys.

A late bucket by Watkins beat the buzzer as Penn State took a 46-31 lead into halftime.

Following the game, Penn State honored its five senior in a postgame ceremony. The Nittany Lions seniors included Curtis Jones Jr.Lamar StevensGrant HazleMike Watkins and Stephen Beattie.

The Nittany Lions close the regular season at Northwestern on Saturday, March 7. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the 4 p.m. ET game