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No. 20 Penn State Hoops Drops Final Regular Season Game To Northwestern 80-69

No. 20 Penn State men’s basketball (21-10, 11-9) lost its final game of the regular season 80-69 to Northwestern (8-22, 3-17) on Saturday afternoon.

Lamar Stevens led the team with 18 points, Myles Dread added 14 points, and John Harrar finished the game with a double-double, tallying 12 points and 12 rebounds. None of that was enough to defeat the Wildcats, though, as a slow offensive start and failure to be consistent on the offensive end hindered Penn State.

How It Happened

It was not a good start to the game for the Nittany Lions, as they were down 10-0 before the first media timeout. They were out-hustled and outplayed by the Wildcats, as nothing fell for them on the offensive side.

Trent Buttrick, getting more playing time due to Mike Watkins not being available for the game, got the scoring going with a put-back layup. Northwestern kept scoring though, and Penn State remained ice cold from everywhere on the court.

Lamar Stevens did make two free throws, but that still wasn’t enough to change the momentum. Izaiah Brockington had two straight turnovers which took points off the board for the Nittany Lions.

The offense did start to pick up a little bit. Myreon Jones drove the ball into the paint for a nice lay-up, Stevens had a nice basket, and Myles Dread hit a big three for his confidence. Dread then had a put-back basket, and then Curtis Jones Jr. hit a three as well.

The Nittany Lions started to play very solid basketball as the half went under five minutes. Dread hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to one point. Stevens then had a nice hook to tie the game. The first half came to an end with Penn State and Northwestern tied at 34.

Lamar Stevens got the second half going with a quick three, but Northwestern quickly responded. John Harrar was able to find room in the paint to score a couple baskets and get second chance opportunities.

Myles Dread continued his hot streak from behind the arc, sinking one in response to a Northwestern three. Jamari Wheeler then blew by the defense to score a nice layup. A turnover by Wheeler on the next possession gave the Wildcats a fast break opportunity.

Izaiah Brockington hit a nice midrange jump shot to cut into Northwestern’s lead, but the Wildcats kept up their intensity. It felt like the Wildcats couldn’t miss anything as the game progressed deeper into the second half.

The basic feel of the game was summarized when the Nittany Lions had three opportunities to score and missed all three times. They had the rebounding and were still in it, yet couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities in-close.

Give credit to the Wildcats, as they could not miss anything. They were extremely good from behind the arc, and they made scoring increasingly difficult for the Nittany Lions. The zone defense was tough and it made it difficult for Penn State’s best players to get into a groove.

Lamar Stevens finished the game with 18 points, while John Harrar had 12 points and 12 rebounds, but the Nittany Lions ultimately fell 80-69.

Takeaways

  • This game was bad for a whole multitude of reasons, but one of the biggest is that the Nittany Lions did not play like a tournament team. They played like a team that could easily get beaten by a 3 or 14 seed, and if they continue playing like this, that’s exactly what will happen. There wasn’t much motivation or sense of urgency throughout the game. Penn State has to want it if its going to do anything in the tournament, and it didn’t feel like that for much of today’s game.
  • Even though Mike Watkins was missing from today’s lineup, I don’t think he could’ve made much of a difference in today’s game. The Wildcats knocked down just about every look they got, as they finished shooting 6-12 from three-point range and kept the Nittany Lions away from their lead throughout the second half.
  • With the loss, the Nittany Lions are no longer a five-seed for the Big Ten Tournament. The road to a Big Ten Championship grew increasingly more difficult with the result today, and Penn State will likely need a statement win to open the conference tournament next week.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions are on to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten conference tournament. They will play on Thursday, March 12, but await a tip-off time and opponent. The Nittany Lions’ first game will be shown on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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