Penn State (11-9, 3-4 Big Ten) took to the road Saturday to take on No. 21 Purdue (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) in a Big Ten conference game. After the heartbreak the Nittany Lions suffered against Indiana, they hoped to bounce back in a tough matchup against a very solid Boilermaker team led by probable Big Ten Player of the Year, Caleb Swanigan. The Nittany Lions were no match for the sophomore big man Saturday as he posted a double-double en route to a 77-52 victory for Purdue.
How It Happened
Penn State controlled the opening tip and Lamar Stevens started the game knocking down a baseline jumper. That 2-0 advantage for 18 seconds was the last time Penn State had the lead in this one. Purdue controlled this one in nearly all facets of the game.
After that opening bucket from Stevens, Purdue went on a 15-0 run to seize control of the game. It was doing its damage in multiple ways — knocking down threes, driving to the rim, and post play from Swanigan. Penn State just didn’t have an answer for what Purdue threw at them offensively. It also didn’t help that the Nittany Lions had multiple stretches in the first half where they went ice cold from the floor.
Penn State did make a run halfway through the first when it started forcing turnovers and knocking down shots. It cut Purdue’s lead down to as low as four when the score was 24-20 at the 7:21 mark after a Josh Reaves triple. But Purdue turned around and went on a 13-0 run to regain the momentum.
The Nittany Lions lack of size inside truly hurt them in this one. Mike Watkins and Julian Moore were no match to deal with the 250-lbs Swanigan. Penn State played better in the second half overall, but couldn’t make a run and chip in to the big deficit it was in.
Penn State shot an abysmal 31% from the floor while Purdue connected on 57% of its field goal attempts. Purdue dominated in each part of the game. It had a 39-30 advantage on the boards and outscored the Nittany Lions 34-18 in the paint. One of the very few bright spots in this one is that Reaves knocked down a career-high four threes. Reaves led the Nittany Lions in scoring with 12 points — all of them coming from behind the arc — and was the only player in double figures for Penn State.
Hopefully, Reaves shot from outside is a trend that can continue because Penn State desperately needs someone that can step up as a premier scoring threat from the perimeter. The Nittany Lion starters today, besides Reaves, combined for 22 points on 10-32 shooting as they went on to lose 77-52.
Player Of The Game
Caleb Swanigan | Forward | Sophomore
The 6’9 big man was too much for Penn State in this one. The leading candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year posted his nation-leading 16th double-double of the season tallying 19 points and 12 rebounds on 8-12 shooting. Swanigan also recorded four assists, one block, and one steal in this one leading the Boilermakers to victory.
Penn State will stay on the road for its next game and will face another tough challenge when it takes on No. 17 Wisconsin. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.