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Penn State Hoops Rallies Late, Ultimately Falls To Purdue 80-72

Penn State men’s basketball (3-5, 0-4 Big Ten) couldn’t bounce back from a strong start to the second half from Purdue (10-5, 5-3 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon.

Jim Ferry’s squad struggled to keep up with the Boilermakers in the 80-72 loss. Myreon Jones led all scorers with 23 points, and John Harrar had a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds), but it wasn’t enough for the Nittany Lions, who fall to 0-4 in conference play.

How It Happened

Purdue got the scoring started on its first possession, although both teams were slow out of the gates. The Nittany Lions started cold on offense, missing their first 11 attempts from three.

Purdue steadily began to impose its height, edging out to a 12-7 lead by the second media timeout. The Boilermakers also struggled from behind the line, but the Purdue big men corralled more offensive than defensive rebounds in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Penn State got into foul trouble early in the first half. Purdue was already in the bonus by 12 minutes to go, and capitalized by shooting 7-for-9 from the line in the first period.

Izaiah Brockington hit a pair of field goals to get himself off the mark, snapping a 10-2 Purdue run with eight minutes left in the half.

Jones hit the first three for either team with 5:52 to play in the half, after Purdue and Penn State combined for an atrocious 0-for-23 start. Jones’ score was followed by a three from Seth Lundy, giving Penn State a 23-22 lead.

Penn State couldn’t translate its strong shooting to the foul line. The Nittany Lions entered bonus themselves, but missed two front ends toward the end of the half. Purdue hit a triple at the buzzer, and Penn State headed to the break trailing 33-32.

Purdue got off to a hot start in the second half, jumping out to a 43-32 lead and forcing Jim Ferry to call timeout.

The silver lining for the Nittany Lions came when Trevion Williams committed his third foul. Both Purdue big men, Williams and 7-foot-4 freshman Zach Edey, were benched with foul trouble early on in the second half.

Ferry let his emotions get the better of him, and was called for a technical foul with 16:56 to play. At just three minutes into the half, Purdue expanded its lead to 12.

Purdue continued to stamp its authority on the game. Despite a pair of Trent Buttrick threes, the Boilermakers led 58-43 with 12 minutes to play.

Penn State kept hanging around, and a quick 6-0 run forced Matt Painter to call timeout for Purdue.

With Williams still on the bench, John Harrar began to heat up. The “Delco King” was a monster on the glass despite the presence of Edey. Purdue took a 66-56 lead into the last four minutes of the contest, but the Nittany Lions had all the momentum.

Jones hit a long range three to bring the lead back to seven with 2:46 left. Following a Penn State timeout, the Nittany Lions tactically fouled Williams, who is only a 51% free throw shooter. Williams made one before getting fouled again. Although he missed the next two attempts, Harrar committed a costly fourth foul with Penn State down 69-61.

Jones continued his hot shooting, nailing a three with a defender in his face. Ferry took Penn State’s last timeout with 1:38 left, down 71-64.

Out of the timeout, Brockington and Jones forced a turnover. Penn State had two chances at a three, but couldn’t convert.

The Nittany Lions didn’t make it easy for Purdue to get the ball back in play, and finally forced yet another turnover on a back court violation. Lundy missed a three, and Jones fouled Mason Gillis on the rebound.

Jones hit his fourth three of the game to bring the deficit back down to six, and then scored another from ridiculous range to bring the score to 76-72 with 20 seconds remaining.

Despite his best efforts, Jones couldn’t win the game on his own, and Gillis iced the game with two more foul shots.

Takeaways

  • At times, Penn State looked like a team who hadn’t played in 17 days. The Nittany Lions struggled at the offensive end, but stayed in the game due to their fight. Edey and Williams inevitably got their offensive rebounds, but Purdue never truly broke away because of Penn State’s defensive effort.
  • John Harrar’s big game can give Penn State fans some hope. The Nittany Lions can be competitive against bigger teams, especially when Harrar plays larger than his size. The “King of Delco” had a double-double, but more importantly he contributed his hustle and athleticism, something both Williams and Edey struggled to match.
  • Penn State fouls more than any other team in the Big Ten, and that is beginning to hurt the Nittany Lions. Brockington, Harrar, and Buttrick all finished with four fouls, but more importantly, Purdue scored 16 more foul shots than the Nittany Lions, double its win margin.

What’s Next

Penn State heads to Champaign to play No. 14 Illinois on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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