EAST LANSING – Marcus Bingham Jr. can be the big man Michigan State needs, at times, and when he chooses to be aggressive, it usually works out for the Spartans.
He played with an edge Tuesday night, following Tom Izzo's decision to bench him vs. Nebraska due to an ill-advised three-pointer in the second half.
Like any player, Bingham made mistakes; he was out of position when Penn State took a 52-51 lead, but there was more good than bad in a 60-58 victory over the Nittany Lions.
"Marcus played better, he played within himself … I thought he was a difference in this game," said Izzo. "His size and his shot-blocking … he did a lot of good things. Just a step, but it's a big step."
In 18 minutes, Bingham scored six points, shot 4-of-5 from the free-throw line, grabbed nine boards, blocked a shot, and recorded a steal.
He defended Penn State's star big man, John Harrar, about as good as he could have, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds (9 pts & 9 rebounds in the first half).
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward showed up in a big way; a smart, tough, and assertive presence down low is something Michigan State will require down the stretch, and he knows it.
"Just starting with my body language and being more engaged ... I can't let myself get down and let anything anybody says to me get in my head and take me out of my game," he said. "I feel like there have been a couple games this season where I let that happen."
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