STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Perhaps a new idea was born on accident Wednesday night …
Rest (or bench) Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson for an entire half, and then let them impose their will on an opponent for the final 20 minutes.
It worked against Penn State, at least.
Payne scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds, playing almost the entire second half.
Dawson scored five points, grabbed four rebounds and doled out three assists in about 14 second-half minutes.
Both were benched for the first half after an early day altercation between the two at the team hotel.
It was enough for MSU to survive the worse defense I’ve seen it play against the drive and off ball-screens, in an 81-72 win over lowly Penn State. It was as if the lane was off limits for defense in the second half, as Penn State kept it interesting into the final minute.
The Spartans finished their favorable scheduling stretch at 4-1 in the Big Ten. It didn’t feel so favorable.
What’s next should be interesting.