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Penn State Hoops Still Winless In Conference Play After 64-60 Loss To Rutgers

Penn State men’s basketball (7-13, 0-9 Big Ten) fell to Rutgers (10-9, 3-6 Big Ten) by a final score of 64-60 on Saturday.

Despite 21 points and eight rebounds from Lamar Stevens, Penn State shot a mere 25 percent from downtown as it remained winless in Big Ten play through nine games.

How It Happened

The game started off with a bang, as Josh Reaves threw a half court alley-oop to Mike Watkins for Penn State’s first points of the afternoon. The Nittany Lions followed that up with back-to-back threes from Rasir Bolton and Lamar Stevens, which forced Rutgers to call its first timeout with 16:13 remaining.

Reaves picked up his second foul less than six minutes into the game, so he was forced to sit out for a bit. The Nittany Lions struggled defensively in his absence; Rutgers went on a 9-4 run to take a one point lead. Penn State couldn’t cash in on offense either, shooting 6-for-22 from the field with five minutes left in the opening frame.

Freshman Myles Dread started to heat up as the half winded down. He looked comfortable in transition, going coast-to-coast for a layup before splashing his second three of the evening. Rutgers took a 30-26 advantage into the break thanks to a 35 percent shooting performance and nine turnovers from Penn State.

The Nittany Lions came out of halftime with a vengeance, going on a 7-0 run to give them their first lead since the 11:21 mark in the first half. After another three from Dread, Reaves got loose for an emphatic one-handed jam to ignite the Bryce Jordan Center.

Much like the first 20 minutes, the second half continued to be a back-and-forth affair. Lamar Stevens struggled to begin the game, but splashed five of the Nittany Lions first eight field goals in the second half. But Rutgers wouldn’t go away easily, as Geo Baker hit multiple tough shots to pace the Scarlet Knights.

A put-back layup by Mike Watkins cut the Rutgers lead to one with 2:33 remaining in the game. After an off-balance jumper from Stevens didn’t fall, Rutgers’ Eugene Omoruyi made two free throws to make it a three-point game. Both teams traded trips to the foul line once again, but a missed attempt by Geo Baker gave Penn State an opportunity to tie the game.

With time winding down, Rasir Bolton went for a step-back from the corner that ultimately fell short. Lamar Stevens led the way for the Nittany Lions with 21 points, with Dread and Bolton pitching in 11 apiece as well. Rutgers’ Geo Baker had a team-high 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting to give the Scarlet Knights their third conference win of the year.

Takeaways

  • Penn State was very sloppy with the ball throughout the game and turned the ball over 14 times. The team just has to take better care of the basketball if it wants to break its long losing skid in conference play.
  • Other than Lamar Stevens, Penn State didn’t have another player scoring consistently. Myles Dread finished with 11 points, but only shot 4-for-14 on Saturday night. Pat Chambers needs to find a way to put his other players in scoring position if Penn State wants to hang with any team in the Big Ten.
  • Since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers is 2-2 at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Scarlet Knights haven’t beaten a team on the road other than Penn State in 35 tries. Oof.

What’s Next

Penn State will take on the Purdue Boilermakers at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 31 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

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About the Author

Austin Smith

Austin Smith is a junior broadcast journalism major. He grew up in New Jersey and is a writer for Onward State. He specializes in football, basketball, and the New York Knicks.

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