EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Branden Dawson had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots to help Michigan State outlast Penn State 66-60 on Wednesday night.
Gavin Schilling added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten). Denzel Valentine scored 11 points and Travis Trice and Matt Costello 10 each.READ MORE: Ericka Brair Killed In 'Crime Of Passion' Day Before She Was Due To Testify In Court
D.J. Newbill, the nation’s No. 4 scorer, had 18 of his 27 points in the second half and nearly gave the Nittany Lions (12-7, 0-6) their first win since Dec. 22.
But a technical foul on frustrated Penn State coach Patrick Chambers with Michigan State leading by two helped the Spartans pull away.
Chambers didn’t think he deserved the technical but acknowledged that it may have cost his team the game.
A short jumper from Valentine with 4:04 left gave the Spartans the lead for good at 53-51. After Chambers was slapped with the technical during a timeout, Valentine hit 1 of 2 free throws and Bryn Forbes swished a 3-pointer from the left corner. When Trice took advantage of another Penn State turnover, Trice laid the ball in for a 59-51 advantage.READ MORE: Ocean County Couple Among Those Missing In Building Collapse Near Miami
The Nittany Lions answered with five straight points, but Valentine hit Costello for a reverse layup and Trice added another layup after a block by Dawson to build the lead back to seven. After Trice and Newbill each missed a pair of free throws, Michigan State had just enough points to keep its conference title hopes alive.
The Spartans shot 58 percent from the field in the second half after hitting just 32 percent before the break. But both teams finished at 42.6 percent.
Michigan State had edges of 39-26 in rebounds, 16-7 in assists and 5-0 in blocked shots. It needed almost every one of those plays to withstand a terrific last 20 minutes from Newbill, who upped his Big Ten-leading average to 23.2 points per game in league play.
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