Penn State Hoops Falls To No. 17 Michigan At Home, 72-63
Penn State (19-11, 9-8) gave No. 17 Michigan (23-7, 12-5) quite a scare at home, but couldn’t emerge victorious on Senior Night. Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens combined for 40 points, but it wasn’t enough to record two consecutive wins at home over ranked opponents.
How It Happened
Senior night didn’t start off pretty for the Nittany Lions. Penn State gave up the first five points, before center Mike Watkins exited the game with a right leg injury. Watkins was replaced by senior Julian Moore, who was given the starting spot by Pat Chambers in his final home clash. Moore played exceptionally well in the first half, as did many of the Penn State reserves. Moore, Satchel Pierce, and Nazeer Bostick combined for ten of the Nittany Lions’ first 15 points. None of the three average more than four points per game this season.
Mike Watkins returned to the game with 7:17 left in the opening frame, a great sight to see for fans concerned about his health. Michigan sharpshooter Duncan Robinson paced the Wolverines to start, hitting five of his first seven from the field for twelve points. Other than Moore, the Nittany Lions’ starting lineup struggled to find a rhythm shooting a measly 7-for-19. They did manage to put together a 9-4 run to end the half however, with Lamar Stevens scoring six of those to cut the deficit to eight.
Penn State began the second half on point, sinking its first three shots including two from deep. Michigan coach John Beilein was then forced to call a timeout, as his team’s lead was only four. Josh Reaves got on the scoreboard with a floater in the lane, before a Stevens swat led to a Carr and-one to give Penn State its first lead since 7-5. After another timeout, the BJC started to erupt. Lamar Stevens soared above the rim and threw down a filthy alley-oop from Tony Carr. From there, Michigan’s Moe Wagner started to find the range. He drained two consecutive threes, and gave the Wolverines the lead back with 11:33 remaining.
Penn State wouldn’t quit. They kept an aggressive mindset on offense, getting to the line often. Reaves and Stevens struggled to connect on their free throws though, helping the Wolverines retain an advantage on the scoreboard. With under three minutes remaining, Penn State turned to Tony Carr. The sophomore drained a step-back three in Duncan Robinson’s face, cutting the Michigan lead to four. Despite this, Michigan countered every basket that Penn State had. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman drove in and got a contested layup to fall, and then Robinson splashed home another three pointer. From there it was out of reach for Penn State, as it couldn’t finish around the rim when it mattered most.
Player Of The Game
Duncan Robinson | Senior | Forward
Although he was in a slump for most of the year, Robinson lit up the Nittany Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center. He finished 6-for-9 from the field for 19 points, sinking three triples in the process. On the road in a hostile environment, the Wolverines needed a performance like this to escape unscathed.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers on February 25. It looks to be a pivotal Big Ten finale, as both teams are fighting for their lives to make a push for an NCAA Tournament bid. The clash will be broadcasted on BTN and begins at 5:15 p.m.