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Penn State Hoops Drops Close Game To Miami 63-58 In ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Penn State men’s basketball (4-3) couldn’t come back against Miami (5-3) Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions fell to the Hurricanes 63-58. John Harrar led the way with a double-double, scoring 16 points and bringing down 12 rebounds.

Seth Lundy also contributed 14 points and eight rebounds, while Myles Dread had nine points, all of which came from behind the arc. Sam Sessoms was only able to score eight points, which is not a great performance for your best player. The Hurricanes did a good job of stifling him, though, which is something opposing teams need to do if they want to win.

How It Happened

Seth Lundy got the scoring going with a put-back layup, which really set the tone for the Nittany Lions’ early offense. Sam Sessoms, Lundy, and John Harrar easily got their way in the paint, and were able to dominate that part of the court. However, the Hurricanes went 4-for-4 from three in the first four minutes, propelling them to an early lead.

The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth with consecutive layups. Penn State’s defense has been really strong, though, and that defense led to a wide0open three for Myles Dread to give the Nittany Lions the lead.

Miami came surging back, however, and it retook the lead. Jalen Pickett was able to sink a really nice floater, but that couldn’t stop the Hurricanes from extending the lead.

Dread was able to change that with a big three, but just when the Nittany Lions were able to take the lead, Miami came back with a quick two of their own to take the lead back. This was the story of the first half, as both teams kept trading the lead.

In the last few minutes of the half, however, it was all Miami. Penn State was very careless with the ball on offense, and that lead to easy baskets on the other end. Lundy did hit a floater to try and stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t that effective. The Nittany Lions went into halftime down 29-23.

Penn State got off to a hot start right out of the half with a Sessoms layup and a Lundy three. However, Miami rattled off three three pointers to extend the lead. The Nittany Lions refused to go away, as Harrar powered his way in the paint for a couple buckets and Lundy also got to the rim.

It was Harrar time for the Nittany Lions, as he consistently got to the rim and scored. They finally found the recipe to come back and take the lead. They even forced the Hurricanes to burn an early timeout.

Miami did score to tie the game back up, but that didn’t stop Penn State. Dread hit a wide-open three and Jalanni White had a nifty layup, pushing the lead to five. But just like that, the Hurricanes scored seven unanswered points and retook the lead.

The lead continued to grow for Miami, but the Nittany Lions inched back slowly but surely. A Pickett layup and Lundy three only put them down by four with a minute and thirty seconds left in the game.

However, a bunch of missed shots on offense and a few key mistakes on defense gave the Hurricanes the chance to build a lead that could not be overcome. The Nittany Lions would lose the game 63-58.

Takeaways

  • When the Nittany Lions play good defense, they can hang with just about anybody. What kills them is when they get sloppy on offense. Turnovers got them in trouble, and in a hole. If they can just limit those turnovers and let their defense do most of the talking, they will be a challenge to every team they play.
  • The bench needs to contribute more on offense. Jaheam Cornwall has yet to find his shot all season, Dallion Johnson just hasn’t gotten consistent playing time to get settled, and Jalanni White hasn’t been a major offensive weapon — all of those are problems. The three of them really need to score and help out the starters, because they can’t do it all on their own.
  • Penn State had a way to win this game, and that was to feed John Harrar. The problem was, 60% of the time, the guards didn’t even see how open he was. That is a huge problem, especially because there were a lot of opportunities for easy buckets.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions kick off conference play at home against Ohio State on Sunday, December 5. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. and will air on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Social Justice in Education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys 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 schoolwork. If you would like to talk about sports or Survivor, the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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