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Penn State Hoops Can’t Hang With Michigan, Falls 58-57

Penn State men’s basketball (9-11, 4-8 Big Ten) couldn’t close it out against Michigan (12-9, 6-5 Big Ten) in a 58-57 loss Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Despite gaining an early lead and keeping it close for the majority of the game, Michigan proved to be too much to handle. Jalen Pickett and Sam Sessoms were the only ones to touch double-digit points tonight with 14 and 13, respectively.

How It Happened

Penn State returned to the Bryce Jordan Center for just its second home game in the last 27 days. The team was welcomed with a sea of white as coach Micah Shrewsberry and company were trying to even their season’s record against the Wolverines.

Michigan won the tip, but it was John Harrar who got the first bucket of the game after using his strength in the post. Hunter Dickinson answered quickly with a three, but Myles Dread answered right back with one of his own. As time continued and buckets were traded, Devonte Jones and Dickinson gave Michigan its first lead just five minutes into the first half.

As we entered into the midway point of the second half, both teams weren’t making it easy for each other. So far, there were already four lead changes and two ties, yet Penn State held on with a one-point lead.

After a media timeout, Penn State’s offense got it going and went on a 7-0 run while holding the Wolverines without a point for nearly five minutes. Dickinson ended that drought, however, after sinking two from the charity stripe.

Sam Sessoms found himself two easy buckets in the paint to grant Penn State its first double-digit lead of the game. The rest of the first half was all Wolverines. They capped off the first half on a 11-0 run, led in large part by Dickinson and Brandon Johns Jr. Entering halftime, the game was tied at 34.

After three minutes without a bucket, Jones was finally able to get the scoring going in the second half after a driving lay-up. Finally, after more than eleven minutes without a bucket, Myles Dread sank a wide open three in the corner to give the Nittany Lions their first points of the second half. Dickinson answered with two points from the charity stripe and Michigan remained up by three.

The Wolverines added five more points to the board to give themselves their largest lead of the night with six. That was short lived after Dallion Johnson splashed one from beyond the arc. After a made free throw from Michigan, and a layup from Jalen Pickett, the Wolverines still led by two.

After trading lay-ups, Harrar was able to force a shooting foul to give Penn State its first two free throws of the game. After sinking both, it was a tie game again with just under four minutes left to go.

Michigan answered with four unanswered points to extend its lead to four. Seth Lundy was able to sink a free throw to bring Penn State closer, but Caleb Houstan hit both of his to keep the Wolverine lead. Harrar made quick work to answer back, but Eli Brooks sank two free throws on the other side.

Sessoms was fouled on his three-point attempt and made all three to bring hope back to Penn State as it only remained down two. However, it was Brooks again from the charity stripe that put this game out of reach with 3.4 seconds left.

Dread was able to sink a three from the corner, but it was too late. Michigan topped Penn State with a final score of 58-57.

Takeaways

  • Penn State needs to do a better job with passing and finding the open man. The Nittany Lions were able to clean it up in the second half, but there were countless possessions in the first half where Penn State basically handed Michigan the ball with horrible passes.
  • Greg Lee was out for tonight’s game with an apparent foot injury, and his presence in the paint was missed. Penn State missed its second leading rebounder, as it was out-boarded by Michigan 39-30.
  • Penn State had seven free throws in tonight’s match up after averaging 9.8 so far this season. All six of those free throws did not come until the final four minutes of the second half. Michigan was only called for eleven personal fouls throughout the whole game, which obviously didn’t help the Nittany Lions’ cause down the stretch.

What’s Next?

Penn State will travel up north to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Gophers this Saturday, February 12. Tip off is set for 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a junior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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