Without their second leading scorer Adreian Payne, the Michigan State Spartans have struggled at times to find production on the offensive end other than their go-to scorer Gary Harris. Countless turnovers and missed opportunities resulted in the Spartans’ defeat on Saturday to a Georgetown Hoyas team that has struggled this year. There is good news for MSU, though. Payne is scheduled to return to action tomorrow when the team takes on the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Breslin Center.
Payne has missed the past seven games with a foot sprain that he hasn’t been able to overcome. Tom Izzo, the Spartans’ head coach, said that he did not want Payne returning to action until he was “100 percent healthy.” It seems as though that time has arrived.
Izzo believed that the team would be able to win during Payne’s absence, and they did, until they ran into a red-hot Michigan Wolverines team. Questions arose whether or not he would make an early comeback when the team took on their heated rival, but Izzo said that it didn’t matter who they played, he would come back when he was fully healthy. The Spartans ended up losing that game to Michigan, snapping their 11-game winning streak.
During Payne’s absence, the Spartans have gone 5-2, recently losing two of their last three games. They take on a Penn State team that is 12-10 and 3-6 in conference play. This will be a good game for Payne to get reacclimated with the game speed and in game situations. There is no doubt the team has missed his leadership and physical presence, along with his 16.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG. Look for Payne to come back in a big way tomorrow night.