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Recapping Penn State Basketball’s Weekend Travel Issues

Penn State men’s basketball fell by just two points on the road to No. 11 Wisconsin in a defensive battle Saturday night.

It was a strong effort against one of the top teams in the Big Ten, but perhaps the bigger story of the night was how the Nittany Lions got there. The team was supposed to fly out to Wisconsin on Friday night, but last week’s ice storm forced the group to depart from University Park Airport fewer than five hours from tip-off.

Micah Shrewsberry’s team was able to stop for a quick bite before the game and luckily made it to the Badgers’ Kohl Center just in the nick of time.

The head coach explained the team’s bad travel luck during his post-game presser Saturday night.

“We left State College around 1:30, 1:45 our time — so 12:30 here,” Shrewsberry said. “We probably arrived here at about 2:30…Bussed over to the hotel. Got there at about 3, ate real quick, and got on the bus to come here at 3:45. [We] kinda adjusted our pregame schedule a little bit.

“We’re not using that as an excuse. We got beat by a really good team,” Shrewsberry added.

Shrewsberry added that the team’s Chief of Staff, Nick Colella, had to manage all of the reschedulings that took place due to the weather. According to the head coach, many Big Ten teams use the same charter company for their flights, so several other teams in the conference were affected by the snow.

In fact, while the men’s team was dealing with its delay to Madison, Carolyn Kieger’s Lady Lions were stranded in Nebraska. Penn State women’s basketball’s plane was supposed to pick the team up in Lincoln and fly back to State College following its Thursday night game, but the weather had other plans, too. Kieger’s team didn’t arrive back in Happy Valley until Saturday and played its game against Northwestern the following day.

Despite the last-minute changes, the Nittany Lions made do with the situation the best they could.

“Our guys were good. We practiced earlier on Friday here and we were ready for a certain departure time, and it got moved,” Shrewsberry said Monday. “They were flexible with what we did. The one thing you can’t do is…create a built-in excuse for them. You have to be ready to just play.”

Despite the loss, Penn State didn’t seem to come into the game with any excuses in mind. The offense was never truly there, but Shrewsberry’s team forced seven steals on the night and held Wisconsin to 51 points.

Had the group avoided such a slow start, the result may have been different for the Nittany Lions. No matter what, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.

“If we’re on the way to and the bus breaks down, then let’s walk to the game, and let’s play,” Shrewsberry said. “We’re gonna do whatever it takes to be ready to go.”

Penn State will get a chance to prove that gritty attitude with its Tuesday night game against Michigan. The Bryce Jordan Center’s “Wear White” night will tip off at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, 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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