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Penn State Hoops Falls To Bucknell 76-67 In Fourth-Straight Loss

Penn State men’s basketball (4-4) fell to Bucknell (3-7) 76-67 in its fourth loss in as many games. It’s been a disappointing past couple of weeks for the Nittany Lions, who can’t seem to win after a disappointing three losses at the ESPN Events Invitational.

Qudus Wahab led the team in scoring for the first time this season with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Ace Baldwin Jr. added 17 points of his own. It was a back-and-forth game, however late defensive struggles and poor three-point shooting allowed Bucknell to pull out the win.

How It Happened

Prior to the start of the game, Mike Rhoades shook the starting lineup up with Puff Johnson and Leo O’Boyle inserted into the starting five over Baldwin and Nick Kern Jr.

After winning the tip, Wahab went on a tear in the first four minutes of the game, scoring eight of the team’s first 11 points. Wahab drilled two free throws on the first possession of the game, and after an excellent defensive possession by the Nittany Lions, Wahab followed that up with a slam dunk.

Jack Forrest got the Bison on the board, drilling his first shot of the game, however, Zach Hicks answered him with a long three. Wahab continued his hot start drilling his next two shots to put the Nittany Lions up heading into the first media break.

Out of the timeout, Bucknell kept things close with two threes of its own, one from Forrest and the other from Ruot Bijiek to make it a one-point game. For the next four minutes of action, neither team could hit a shot, and Penn State missing four threes in a row before Baldwin grabbed a steal and finished with a nice layup at the other end.

Back-to-back layups by Noah Williamson gave Bucknell a 15-14 lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the half. Penn State didn’t wait around to get the lead back, and Hicks drilled his second three of the afternoon for the lead while Kanye Clary added onto the lead with his first make of the game.

Bucknell answered quickly with a three from Forrest and a Josh Bascoe driving layup to give the Bison the lead back once again. Down a point, the Nittany Lions went back to their hottest scorer of the game at the point in Wahab, who drilled a tough layup for the lead. Clary added on using his speed after a Bucknell miss to fly down the court with a driving layup to extend the lead.

Rayquawndis Mitchell, who was fresh into the game, drilled his first shot but was answered by Forrest who continued his hot first half. Up two points, Johnson drilled a corner three to extend the lead for Penn State, however, Forrest wasn’t going in the half quiet, making back-to-back shots to cut the deficit back down to one.

In the final minute of the half, Johnson made a nice layup growing the lead back to three points, and after a steal by Baldwin with six seconds remaining, the guard was fouled attempting a three and drilled all three free throws as Penn State went into the half up 33-27.

At the start of the second half, Baldwin opened up the scoring for Penn State with a driving layup, and Wahab followed that up the next possession with a hook shot. Willamson finally got things going for Bucknell with a wide-open layup and followed up with an open layup from Ian Motta.

Penn State went back down low to Wahab on its next offensive possession to get the scoring going, and Baldwin drilled another tough layup to extend the lead up to eight. The Bison weren’t rolling over yet as back-to-back makes from Williamson and Motta due to poor Nittany Lions defense caused Rhoades to call an early timeout.

After the quick break, Penn State came out and was unable to produce any means of points, which allowed Bucknell to tie the game back up. O’Boyle fouled Willamson and drilled both free throws to make it a one-possession game, and after a Kern turnover, Motta tied the game with a driving layup. Kern made up for his mistake with a layup to put the Nittany Lions back ahead, before Forrest made a long two-pointer to tie the game again.

With just over 10 minutes to go in the game, Hicks made two free throws for the lead, however, Forrest sniped his fifth three-pointer of the contest for the first Bucknell lead since the midway point of the first half.

Trailing for the first time in over 20 minutes of action, Hicks gave the Nittany Lions the lead yet again, making a second-chance jumper and following that up with his third three-pointer of the afternoon to make it 52-48 Penn State.

That lead didn’t last very long as out of a timeout, and Bijiek drilled a corner three grabbed a steal and threw a nice pass to Bascoe who made a driving layup for the lead for the Bison. Back and forth both teams went with Wahab making another shot and Motta answering with a make of his own.

After a big offensive rebound by Bijiek, Bascoe drilled a long three-pointer to make it 58-56. Down three now, Baldwin finally got Penn State a bucket, a tough layup, to make a one-point game with four minutes to go in the game. Baldwin drilled a pair of free throws for the lead, however, Willamson answered with a layup for the lead again.

The Baldwin scoring run continued with another layup for the lead, and Willamson didn’t let that last for long, drilling a three from the top of the key for a two-point lead. Johnson would make one of two free throws to make it a one-point game, however, Willamson continued his hot second half making another layup.

Wahab was fouled on the following possession but missed both free throws, allowing Bucknell to extend its lead after a Quin Berger three-pointer to go up by six. Penn State had to start fouling and on top of that couldn’t make a shot. The Bison drilled their free throws grew their lead as they held on to beat the Nittany Lions 76-67.

Takeaways

  • The three-point shooting was flat-out atrocious for Penn State, as not only could the Nittany Lions fail to hit them, but they continued to attempt multiple as the game went on. The team went a measly 4-19 from beyond the arc and couldn’t buy a shot toward the end of the game.
  • Wahab had a big afternoon scoring-wise, leading the team with 18 points, however, toward the end of the game, that proved to be the issue. The Nittany Lions couldn’t get the offense going, and Wahab seemed like a no-factor in the final six minutes.
  • Baldwin added 17 points and kept the Nittany Lions in the game with 12 points in the second half but also seemed lost on the offensive end in the final few minutes.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to College Park for their first Big Ten matchup and first true road game of the season against the Maryland Terrapins. The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, and can be viewed on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of Community or The Office. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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