Penn State Men’s Basketball Takes Down Northwestern 71-62 On The Road
Desperately needing a conference victory after two consecutive blowout losses, Penn State was all business as it took the court in Evanston. With 16.2 ppg, Brandon Taylor was seemingly the team’s only source of offense. That rang true on Saturday night, but for all the right reasons. His supporting cast played their respective roles as he took center stage with 19 points, including four three pointers on the night. It was the type of performance that instills hope, and with the toughest part of the schedule around the corner, it’s the type of performance this team needed. Let’s see how it all unfolded.
How It Happened
Penn State began its night with a pair of threes from Brandon Taylor, and never really let up from that moment on, despite not taking the lead until the 13 minute mark. The same team that coughed up what appeared to be a sure bet on the road against No. 3 Maryland took smart shots and passed the ball effectively. The result? Pat Chambers was able reap the benefits as his team’s lead slowly mounted with each falling basket.
Later in the first half, senior point guard Devin Foster tipped in a two point shot to extend the lead to 22-12. Foster finished up with nine points on the night, and flashed stunning awareness as he scanned the floor, breaking out a number of flashy moves off the dribble. Since conference play began, he’s easily been the team’s most improved player, and his rising minutes reflect that.
A Taylor three with about 2:30 left in the first half put the Lions up by 10, but the Wildcats began to put up a fight to go into the locker room down 30-23.
Penn State stormed through the gates to begin the second half, leaving Northwestern in its trail as it took a commanding 48-31 lead about four minutes into the game’s final half. Wildcats sharpshooter Tre Demps instilled some life back into the raucous arena with a needed three pointer, followed by a jumper two possessions later. The teams traded blows as the half progressed, but with under three to play, a Dererk Pardon slam cut Penn State’s lead to nine. Using the full court press, Northwestern continued to hang around, but free throws proved to be Penn State’s key down the stretch, as the team connected on 12-14 charity shots as time expired, allowing the Lions to leave Evanston victorious.
Player Of The Game
Brandon Taylor | F | Senior
As if this is a question. Penn State’s senior leader put on a clinic from beyond the arc, connecting on 4-7 en route to a 19 point night. He was active on the glass as well, finishing with seven boards, and had a trio of assists to boot — one of which put his awareness on display after reeling three defenders in before finding a wide open Donovon Jack beneath the hoop. Nights like these should give fans hope, and if Taylor can build off this performance, there’s no reason why the team can’t string together a few conference wins.
Next up for the Nittany Lions is a date with Wisconsin on Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center.