Penn State Hoops Falls To Wisconsin 61-57
Penn State men’s basketball (12-16, 5-12 Big Ten) made a trip to Madison for a Saturday afternoon date with Wisconsin (19-9, 11-6 Big Ten) and the Nittany Lions three-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of the Badgers with a 61-57 loss.
After not converting a field goal in the last eight minutes, Penn State hoops has now lost 19 games straight at Wisconsin.
How It Happened
Both teams struggled offensively early, but it was Penn State who opened the game on a 9-4 run, as their physical defense set the tone and gave Wisconsin many fits. The Nittany Lion offense was spread out, with trey balls from Myles Dread and Josh Reaves accounting for much of the early scoring.
A Lamar Stevens three with just under eight minutes remaining in the half put the Nittany Lion lead up to 21-14. Wisconsin went on a 4-0 run, but Penn State responded, and with 3:49 remaining in the half the Nittany Lions led 28-20 following another Reaves triple.
Stevens drew a foul with two seconds remaining in the half, and cashed in on both, putting the Nittany Lion lead at 33-26 heading into the break. Stevens led the way with a game-high 12 at the break, and Reaves carried his own with eight points.
The Nittany Lions did an incredible job limiting Badger star Ethan Happ in the opening frame, as he didn’t score his first bucket for about 15 minutes and entered the break shooting 3-10 from the field.
Wisconsin trimmed the lead down to five, but again, Penn State answered with another massive three from Reaves. After that trey, the Nittany Lion offense got cold, and an 8-0 run from the Badgers knotted the game at 38.
Wisconsin took a 43-41 lead with 12:25 remaining in the game and forced Pat Chambers to use a timeout. Things continued to spiral downhill, as Wisconsin took a 49-45 lead with under ten minutes remaining.
Just when all the momentum took the side of the Badgers, Rasir Bolton scored seven straight points for Penn State to tie the game up at 52.
After free throws from each team, with under five minutes remaining the score was tied at 53. The Badgers grabbed a lead with four minutes remaining, but Penn State didn’t let Wisconsin extend their lead.
Stevens drilled two free throws with two minutes remaining to keep it a two-point game and came up with monster blocks on back-to-back possessions to get Penn State the ball back. After a Mike Watkins free throw, the Badgers let 57-56 with 1:30 left.
With 50 seconds remaining, a pair of Badger free throws from D’Mitrik Trice made it a three-point game. On Penn State’s ensuing possession, Stevens was fouled and went 1-2 from the line making it a two-point game. The Nittany Lions got a stop with 15 seconds remaining, and Chambers called a timeout with a chance to either tie or win the game.
A brutal turnover from Rasir Bolton gifted Wisconsin the ball back, but the Badgers only converted on one free throw, giving Pat Chambers one more shot to draw up a game-tying play. Another Bolton turnover ended the game, and Penn State’s three game winning streak was snapped in Madison with a 61-57 loss.
- Penn State didn’t convert a field goal in the last eight minutes of the game. Yes, you read that right. They also only went 4-8 from the line in the final five minutes. Although the play of the team has been much improved of late, late-game offense continues to haunt them. After holding a lead for over 23 minutes of the contest compared to the Badgers 10:53, it was these late-game struggles that led to the loss.
- The Nittany Lion defense held strong much of the afternoon, especially on the Badgers best player, Ethan Happ. Happ only scored 14 points on 42.9% from the field. Stevens came up with some huge blocks down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough.
- Stevens led the way offensively with 22 points, but shot only 5-19 from the field. As a team, Penn State shot a mere 35% from the field. Penn State got minimal production from their two most-featured big men in John Harrar and Mike Watkins, who combined for three points. Not great!
Next up, the Nittany Lions will head to Piscataway for a Wednesday evening showdown with Rutgers. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
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