Patrick Chambers

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine drives against Nebraska during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis

No. 6 Michigan State beats Penn State 88-57 after slow start

Leave a comment

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Tom Izzo has been telling his players when they’re not making shots that defense and rebounding can win games, especially in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 6 Michigan State showed that against Penn State on Sunday.

Denzel Valentine started slow and finished strong with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help the sixth-ranked Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 88-57.

Valentine missed his first six shots as Michigan State was off to a 3-of-15 shooting start.

“Our defense and rebounding kept us in the game and that’s the way we have to win as we move forward,” Izzo said. “It makes me feel like they’re listening.”

The Spartans (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten) have won four straight and eight of nine, outscoring teams by 21-plus points in those victories and losing only to then-No. 18 Purdue by one point in overtime on the road during the stretch.

“I think we’ve got a chance to make a run,” Izzo said.

Penn State had been on a relatively successful run recently.

The Nittany Lions (15-14, 6-10) had won three straight and four of five, including victories over then-No. 4 Iowa and then-No. 22 Indiana.

“We were hopeful to put up a fight at least,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “And, we didn’t do that.”

Chambers did his part by being feisty.

He was ejected with 4:53 left in the first half when he was called for two technical fouls within the same rant. Chambers had to be held back by his coaching staff, two assistants at one point, as he tried to charge toward officials more than once before leaving the court. After Chambers was ejected, he started to gather his team for some parting thoughts before he tried to go back at the officials.

“We’re trying to buck the system of being the brunt of everybody’s jokes,” Chambers said. “So we’re going to fight, players are going to fight.”

After the Spartans’ miss-filled start, they connected on 14 of 18 shots.

“We played hard with energy and effort,” Valentine said.

Despite making just 37 percent in the second half, they easily maintained their comfortable cushion.

“Michigan State is playing at an incredible level,” Chambers said.

Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis and Bryn Forbes scored 15 points each and Matt Costello had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Shep Garner had 22 points and Devin Foster scored 11 for the Nittany Lions during a game in which their respect for Chambers grew.

“I love it when Coach comes out and battles for us,” Garner said. “That’s what he does. He puts his neck on the line.”


Penn State: Brandon Taylor entered the game as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. He fouled out with 7:20 left in the game with as many fouls as he had combined points (2) and rebounds (3). The 6-foot-6 senior forward, who shared Big Ten player of the week honors on Monday, was averaging 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Taylor had scored in double digits the previous 16 games, including 24- and 18-point outputs against the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes. … While Chambers was kept away from the court in the second half, one of his assistants was called for a technical foul.

Michigan State: Valentine, a national player of the year candidate, has a chance to become the first player in at least three decades to average 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He entered the game averaging nearly 20 points, seven-plus rebounds and more than seven assists per game. The NCAA began keeping assists as an official statistic during the 1983-84 season.


Penn State hosts Northwestern on Thursday.

Michigan State plays at Rutgers on Wednesday.


Follow Larry Lage at and follow his work at

Penn State guard Reaves sidelined with mononucleosis

Penn State guard Josh Reaves (23) drives to the basket against Boston College during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boston Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers announced Friday morning that freshman guard Josh Reaves will miss multiple games after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Reaves has played in 17 of Penn State’s 18 games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of action per contest.

Reaves made 14 starts in those 17 games, and with him out of the rotation the Nittany Lions take a hit on the perimeter. Devin Foster, who has come off the bench in all 18 games and is averaging 18.7 minutes per contest, is one player whose playing time is likely to increase with Reaves being sidelined.

Junior Shep Garner currently leads the team in minutes with an average of 34.6 per night. Penn State, which is 1-4 in Big Ten play and 10-8 overall, will visit Northwestern Saturday afternoon.

Four-star small forward commits to Penn State

1 Comment

The connections of the Penn State coaching staff to the Philadelphia basketball scene have resulted in multiple recruits making their way west to State College to play for head coach Patrick Chambers. But the 2016 recruiting class has the talent to be difference-makers for a program in need of a boost, and Friday afternoon Penn State added a third Philadelphia native to what is now a four-member class.

6-foot-7 small forward Lamar Stevens, who trimmed his list to eight schools in late July, verbally committed to Penn State during a press conference held at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. Stevens joins high school teammates Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick, and Oak Hill Academy forward Joe Hampton, in Penn State’s 2016 recruiting haul.

While Penn State’s biggest personnel losses after the 2015-16 season will come in the front court, adding talent to the perimeter was also key for the Nittany Lions. Adding the versatile Stevens to the mix, as he has the skill, athleticism and strength to play either wing position, will certainly help in this regard.

In addition to the four freshmen Penn State will also add former UConn guard Terrence Samuel in 2016-17. Samuel, who was a contributor during UConn’s 2014 national title run, is sitting out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules.

Video credit: Courtside Films

Three-star 2016 wing Nazeer Bostick commits to Penn State

AP Photo
Leave a comment

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers and his coaching staff have done a solid job of getting players from Philadelphia to make the trek west to State College, with three players on the 2014-15 roster hailing from the City of Brotherly Love and incoming freshman Mike Watkins being another native. Thursday night Penn State landed a verbal commitment from another Philadelphia native, as 2016 wing Nazeer Bostick announced that he’ll play for the Nittany Lions.

The 6-foot-5 Bostick is Penn State’s first commitment in the Class of 2016 (Joe Hampton de-committed in mid-March), and the Roman Catholic HS student has taken multiple unofficial visits to the school since receiving an offer in October according to Bostick won’t be the only player with Roman Catholic ties on the Penn State roster when he joins the program in 2016, as rising sophomore guard Shep Garner is a Roman Catholic grad.

Landing a commitment from Bostick, whose nickname is “Horse” according to City of Basketball Love, could be key for another reason when it comes to Penn State’s 2016 recruiting class, according to Ben Jones of

Perhaps most importantly, the Bostick commitment continues the forward momentum in the race to land four star recruits Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens. Both are teammates of Bostick’s and both primary recruiting targets during a crucial summer for Chambers and his staff.

While Carr and Stevens are important recruits for Penn State in the 2016 class, the perimeter isn’t the only area where they’ll need to add depth. While two of their three incoming freshmen are front court players, Penn State will lose three (Donovon Jack, Brandon Taylor and Jordan Dickerson) at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.

With that being the case, adding a front court player to the 2016 haul would benefit the Nittany Lions moving forward.

Big Ten reprimands, fines Penn State coach for outburst on referees

AP Photo
source: AP
AP Photo

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers was publically reprimanded and the school fined $10,000 for an outburst about the officiating during a 76-73 loss to Maryland on Saturday night.

“That is the worst call that I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Chambers said on Saturday. “They’re pulling Jordan Dickerson down. First of all, time and score. He’s too young, he doesn’t have a feel for the game, he shouldn’t call that foul. That’s one.”

“Two is, he back cut. He went down the middle. He didn’t even use the screen and he got pulled down and they called a foul on him? It makes no sense. And if I didn’t complain Newbill would have gotten to the foul line because Trimble gets there 12 times and he’s a freshman and he’s on the road. It’s a joke. It’s a joke the way we’re officiated. It’s disappointing. And there was an elbow that they didn’t want to call that they should have called that normally get called against us. Frustrating, disappointing. But, we gotta take the refs out of the game, and we didn’t.”

The call in question can be seen here, and it is unquestionably an awful call. Penn State’s Jordan Dickerson was pulled down by Maryland’s Evan Smotrcyz and whistled for his fifth foul for it.

Penn State suspends guard indefinitely

John Johnson, Leslee Smith
Leave a comment
source: AP

Penn State guard John Johnson has been suspended indefinitely for conduct inconsistent with team standards, the school announced on Monday. The 6-foot-1 Johnson is the Nittany Lions’ fifth leading scorer at 7.4 points per game along with 1.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

Johnson has played 20.6 minutes per game this season as Penn State is 12-4 but winless at 0-3 in the Big Ten. During the suspension, Johnson will not participate in team activities. Without Johnson in the lineup, the Nittany Lions lose a respectable shooter has he was 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range.