A valiant effort in a tough environment fell short in the end.
Penn State (8-5, 0-1) dropped its conference opener on the road at Wisconsin (10-4, 1-0) 60-51 despite shooting 46.2% from the field and a game high 19 points from Jermaine Marshall. There were a few lead changes throughout the first half, but a big run by the Badgers toward the end of the first twenty minutes gave them a lead that they would never relinquish.
The deficit was narrowed to 50-49 with under three minutes to play but never got any closer. The Lions shot the ball decently but did not do much else right, finishing the game with 15 turnovers and only getting to the foul line once. The Badgers made it to the charity stripe 26 times but only making 13 of those free throws allowed the Nittany Lions to hang around.
Outside of Marshall’s contributions and D.J. Newbill who finished the game with 16 points, the Lions struggled to generate much scoring. After registering a career high 15 points on Saturday against Duquesne and being named one of the team captains yesterday, Nick Colella only attempted two shots and was kept off the scoreboard.
It was a balanced effort for the Badgers on offense with Ryan Evans (13 points), Jared Berggren (13 points), Ben Brust (13 points), and Mike Bruesewitz (12 points )all reaching double figures.
The Kohl Center has typically been a house of horrors for the Nittany Lions. They remain winless there, but all things considered, this game was a lot closer than many predicted. A dunk by Newbill early in the second half (video below) was even named the fourth best play on SportsCenter’s nightly Top 10.
The Nittany Lions return to action Monday night when the fifth ranked Indiana Hoosiers visit the Bryce Jordan Center. The Hoosiers enter with a 13-1 record with the one blemish being a two-point overtime loss to Butler. This one could get ugly, but hosting such a highly ranked opponent usually provides for some good excitement.