Penn State Endures Nightmare Road Trip to Illinois
The Penn State men’s basketball team faced a litany of problems just getting to Assembly Hall to play Illinois on Tuesday night. Things got worse for the Nittany Lions when the game started.
First, Penn State’s flight could not land in Champaign, Ill., on Monday night due to poor weather that has wreaked havoc on much of the United States. The flight could not land in nearby Indianapolis, Ind., either. So, the flight was diverted to Evanston, Ind. This meant the Nittany Lions had to endure a 4-5 hour bus trip on game day.
After arriving at Assembly Hall, the problems Penn State faced affected their play. The Nittany Lions struggled defensively and on the boards as Illinois built a large first-half lead. The Illini shot 52 percent and grabbed 10 more rebounds than the Nittany Lions in the half. Penn State had trouble offensively as well, going 9-27 from the field as they went into the half down 36-28.
Even more troublesome for Penn State than the scoreline was an injury to Jeff Brooks. Shortly before halftime, Brooks suffered a dislocated right shoulder which kept him out for the remainder of the game. Brooks will undergo a MRI after Penn State returns to State College.
The Nittany Lions did not fare any better in the second half. Penn State improved on defense, holding Illinois to 39 percent shooting. The Nittany Lions also did better on the boards, with each team grabbing 18. The offense, however, remained in a funk. Penn State shot just 33 percent, including going 0-9 from three, as they fell to a 68-51 defeat.
Penn State falls to 12-9 overall and 5-5 in the Big Ten with the loss. The Nittany Lions return home to play on Sunday against Michigan at noon. In their first meeting of the season, Michigan beat Penn State 76-69.
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