Penn State Loses Defensive Battle to Wisconsin
Tuesday night’s matchup was a physical battle reminiscent of the 36-33 Penn State victory over Wisconsin in last year’s quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, but, unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, this time they would not have the same fate. Penn State (10-13, 2-8) led the entire game until there were about 15 minutes left in the second half, but stagnant shooting proved to be too much to overcome as Wisconsin went on to win 52-46 in front of a large student crowd.
Penn State went in at the half up 23-17, but that lead wouldn’t last much longer as Wisconsin opened up the second half on a 16-2 run. Key free throw misses by Jon Graham and Cammeron Woodyard down the stretch sealed Penn State’s fate.
As Pat Chambers said after the game, “The game of basketball is mistakes. Whoever makes the most mistakes is going to lose.” There were certainly a lot of mistakes to go around. Penn State shot only 36% from the floor and committed 9 turnovers. Wisconsin didn’t fare any better shooting 35%, but Penn State’s 57% clip from the free-throw line would prove costly.
Tim Frazier led the Nittany Lions with 21 points, including 17 of the 23 second half points. Although Frazier only shot 36%, his “floater” shots in the second half were the only thing that kept Penn State in the game. Jermaine Marshall also had 13 points, but disappeared in the second half.
The story of the game for me (aside from my free snap-back hat and mini-basketball hoop set) was Pat Chambers’ attire. He came out of the locker room in rolled-up khakis with black Nike shoes to resemble Joe Paterno. This turned out to be a huge hit with the fans, and it just adds to the list of ways people have paid respect to JoePa over the last week and a half.
Penn State finally gets a break from ranked opponents when it takes on Iowa (11-11, 3-6) at 3 p.m. this Saturday. The game will be played in Iowa City, but it will also air on ESPNU.