Men’s Basketball Falls to Wisconsin 71-66
On Sunday, a day that Nittany Lion great Tim Frazier would wear his home uniform for the final time, Penn State was looking to send its team leader out with a win.
Unfortunately for Frazier and co., Penn State was unable to pull its second-straight upset of a top-25 ranked team, as the team fell to No. 14 Wisconsin, 71-66. With the loss, the Nittany Lions fell to 14-15 (5-11 B1G) on the year.
Like last year’s contest at the Bryce Jordan Center between the two sides, Penn State was in a position to pull off the upset, but ultimately fell short.
Penn State and Wisconsin battled early on, with neither team holding a lead bigger than three points for the game’s first eight minutes. However, Wisconsin’s hot shooting coupled with foul trouble for Frazier leading by as many as nine points during the frame. Frazier picked up his second foul of the game at the 10:46 mark of the first half when he first went to the bench.
He began rotating in as a substitute as the half went on, however, Frazier picked up his third foul with 2:54 remaining in the frame, which sent him to the bench until the start of the second half.
“He’s a senior,” Pat Chambers said after the game when asked about Frazier’s foul troubles. “He’s gotta know better and play like a senior.”
Luckily for Penn State, it was lifted by the first half play of D.J. Newbill and Brandon Taylor. Newbill scored 11 points during the game’s first 20 minutes, while Taylor scored 5 points and pulled down 6 rebounds.
Despite that, Wisconsin took a 31-27 lead into the half. All but one of the Badgers who saw the court during the first half scored at least three points, with junior big man Frank Kaminsky leading the way with seven.
The Badgers came out of the locker rooms hot, and began the second half on a 12-4 run to give itself a 43-33 lead, which was the largest lead of the game for either team. Penn State was able to chip away at the lead for the rest of the game, and even cut Wisconsin’s lead to 66-64 with 18 seconds remaining in the game, but ultimately it was not enough.
Newbill led the way for Penn State with 23 points on 10-for-23 shooting, while Ross Travis had 10 points and 9 rebounds. Brandon Taylor also nearly had a double-double, scoring 9 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. In his final game at the BJC, Frazier registered 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The Nittany Lions outrebounded the Badgers, 34-28, but struggled from behind the arc, going a paltry 1-for-13 from downtown on the game. Penn State also had issues with turnovers coughing the ball up 11 times during the game, which led to 17 Badger points.
“We take great pride in trying to hold them to less than 10,” Chambers said. “To have 17, they practically scored every time we turned the ball over.”
After the game, Chambers again stated that he feels that the team is close to finally getting over the hump, and that the program has an optimistic outlook towards the future.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Chambers said. “That’s the No. 14 team in the country. We’re one stop away, one main shot away, one less turnover away from sitting here, beating two top-25 teams in one week. I felt good coming into the game, it’s a shame.”
Despite the loss, it was a historic day for Frazier and Newbill. Frazier became the second player in Big Ten history to score 1,000 career points, dish out 600 career assists, and pull down 500 career rebounds. Newbill, meanwhile, scored his 1,000th career point, and became the fourth player in school history to score at least 500 points in a season twice, joining Nittany Lion legends Jesse Arnelle, Joe Crispin, and Talor Battle.
Barring an appearance in the NIT or CBI, Penn State’s season at the Bryce Jordan Center is over. The Nittany Lions will take the court on Thursday, March 6, when it travels to Evanston to take on Northwestern for the first time this season.