Penn State refused to be routed the first time No. 11 Michigan State had a chance to pull away for an easy victory.
The Nittany Lions, though, couldn't stay consistent enough to keep its comeback hopes.
Draymond Green had 23 points and 12 rebounds and made some timely shots to help No. 11 Michigan State beat Penn State in a 77-57 on Wednesday night.
Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers was not encouraged that his team didn't go away easily when it looked like the Spartans were going to be able to coast for the last 10 minutes of the game.
"It's a 40-minute game the last time I checked," he said.
The last-place Nittany Lions (10-15, 2-10 Big Ten) have lost five straight and eight of nine.
"We compete for stretches, but we need to compete for 40 minutes," Chambers said. "We need to do that soon and time is running out."
Tim Frazier scored 19 on 6-of-18 shooting for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State posed a brief threat by pulling within five points midway through the second half, but Green made a layup on the next possession.
Frazier later made a jumper to make it 55-49, but the Nittany Lions couldn't stop Green from making a three-point play on the next trip down the court with 7:03 left in the game.
"Coach Izzo did a great job, he got the ball to Draymond Green," Chambers said. "We couldn't defend him."
The Spartans closed the game with a 22-8 run, restoring the rout and improving to 15-0 at home this season.
Reserve Jermaine Marshall scored 12 and Nick Colella added nine points for the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State (19-5, 8-3) is a game behind Big Ten-leading and third-ranked Ohio State, setting up a big game Saturday on the road against the Buckeyes.
Adreian Payne matched a career high with 12 points and freshman Branden Dawson also had 12, scoring in double figures for the fifth straight game, for the Spartans.
Penn State, which has lost all seven of its road conference games, got off to an awful start and finished poorly.
The Nittany Lions missed their first eight shots and needed nearly 8 minutes to score, but didn't trail by too much because the Spartans also started 0-for-8 before beginning to make shots to build a 9-0 lead.
Michigan State led 33-19 at halftime despite making just 27 percent of its shots and turning the ball over 10 times because Penn State shot 21 percent and had nine turnovers.
The Spartans were effective early in the second half on offense but later let the Nittany Lions score 10 straight points.
Green played a big role in dashing Penn State's hopes with shots, assists, rebounds and defense.
Michigan State's Keith Appling had 10 points and seven assists.
Fired IRS Commissioner: I Promoted Sarah Ingram To Head Obamacare: "We Provided Horrible Customer Service" | Greg Hengler
Acting IRS Commissioner Doesn't Know Who's Responsible, Objects to "Targeting" as "Pejorative" Term | Guy Benson