STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Michigan State is lucky Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne chose Penn State as the destination for the pregame hotel altercation, which prompted coach Tom Izzo to bench both for the entire first half.
The Spartans lead the woeful Nittany Lions, 29-25 at the half, having played the first 20 minutes without their two of their three most athletically gifted players (Keith Appling being the other).
MSU was mostly a jump-shooting squad in the first half and, fortunately for the Spartans, they hit a few — a modest 10 of 25, but five of those were 3s.
Gary Harris leads the way with nine points, Appling and Travis Trice have six apiece.
The absence of Payne and Dawson made for some interesting lineups.
Russell Byrd hit a 3 (looked confident doing it) and Matt Costello played six minutes, going scoreless, with an assist and a foul.
We’ll see how quickly Payne and Dawson see the floor in the second half. Izzo had planned to start both.
More after the game.