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Penn State Hoops Stays Hot In Big Ten Play, Outpaces Michigan 72-63

Penn State men’s basketball (14-5, 4-4 Big Ten) took down Michigan (11-7, 2-5 Big Ten) 72-63 in Ann Arbor on Wednesday night.

Lamar Stevens paced the Nittany Lions with a team-leading 19 points, but Curtis Jones Jr. was the catalyst for Penn State in the second half. The graduate senior put up 18 points in the final 20 minutes and nailed three big shots from three-point range. The Wolverines made a few scoring runs in the second half to tighten up the score, but the Nittany Lions seemed to consistently had an answer for Michigan on the offensive end throughout the game.

How It Happened

Lamar Stevens got Penn State going on offense with ease. The senior nailed a turnaround jumper, a three, and another mid-range shot to give the Nittany Lions their first seven points of the game. Myreon Jones followed that run with a bucket of his own, and Michigan head coach Juwan Howard took a timeout as Penn State held a 9-2 lead early.

Pat Chambers’ squad cooled off after the hot start, missing their next three field goals out of the break. Mike Watkins managed to jumpstart Penn State, though, as he forced a steal and converted an and-one lay up on the other end.

Michigan quickly responded with a 7-0 run of its own, and the game was tied at 15-15. Chambers took a timeout with 12:36 remaining in the first half. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over twice out of the break, and Michigan scored fast break buckets off of both of them.

The game started to slow down a bit for Penn State, but it suddenly got going with a 14-0 run that included three-pointers from Myles Dread and Jones, and a big-time dunk from John Harrar. Michigan failed to score any points for roughly six minutes during the Nittany Lions’ run, but Jon Teske finally ended that with a nice finish inside. Penn State took a 30-23 lead into the final media timeout of the first half.

Jones led the way for the Nittany Lions to close out the final minutes. The sophomore put up five quick points with a three-pointer and a jumper, and Penn State took a 37-28 lead into the locker room.

Harrar got the second half going with a ~gritty~ bucket inside, while Stevens and Jones added a nice finish and a three, respectively. Michigan battled back into the game thanks to a couple of fouls called on the Nittany Lions, and their lead was shortened to 44-35 with 15:47 left in the game.

The Wolverines continued to storm back into the game with an 8-0 scoring run, thanks in large part to several ugly turnovers by Penn State. Howard’s squad got within five points of the Nittany Lions’ lead, but a three by Curtis Jones Jr. helped them get back on track.

Jones Jr. didn’t stop there, as he scored the next 11 points for Penn State. A massive board inside caused Stevens to get fouled on the ensuing possession, and he nailed one-of-two free throws. The Nittany Lions took a 58-45 lead with 8:06 left in the game.

Michigan battled back thanks to big buckets from Jon Teske and Zavier Simpson, but the Wolverines simply couldn’t stop Jones Jr. He nailed two consecutive strong finishes inside, and Penn State took a 66-57 lead into the final media timeout.

The Nittany Lions ran out clock on their final few offensive possessions, and a couple of late scores for Michigan proved to be not enough. A couple of reviews brought the final minute to a grinding halt, but Penn State left Ann Arbor with a key 72-63 victory over the Wolverines.

Takeaways

  • Pat Chambers was getting offensive production early and often from several different players. While Lamar Stevens led the way with 19 points, Myreon Jones had a few offensive bursts in the first half and finished his night with 16 points. Curtis Jones Jr., on the other hand, had a massive second half that was key for the Nittany Lions in pulling away from Michigan. Penn State is very tough to beat when guys other than Stevens are scoring, especially off the bench.
  • Penn State finally cracked the theory that it’s impossible to win on the road in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions picked up their first away-game victory in conference play of the season on Wednesday, and are now 4-4 in the Big Ten.
  • The Nittany Lions couldn’t have responded any better from the three-game losing steak. If you told Penn State fans that their team would beat Ohio State and Michigan in consecutive games by a combined margin of victory of 23 points, I’m sure they’d be fairly pleased.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will enjoy a week off before welcoming Indiana to the BJC on Wednesday, January 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is Onward State's assistant sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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