Game Grades: Penn State vs. Minnesota
Penn State is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Minnesota on Saturday night that saw Lamar Stevens miss a potential game winning shot. The Nittany Lions fell 65-64, and now drop to 7-12 on the season. They have also yet to win a Big Ten game. Let’s hand out some grades for Penn State’s performance on Saturday night.
Penn State had its best offensive performance of the season last Wednesday against Iowa and, it appeared they were going to follow that up with another strong showing against Minnesota. The Nittany Lions came out hot offensively, scoring 38 points in the first half, but fizzled out as the game went along, scoring only 26 in the second half.
After a very balanced effort against Iowa, Penn State saw that trend reversed against the Golden Gophers. Lamar Stevens led the way with 27 points and only one other Nittany Lion had double digits, Mike Watkins with 10.
Penn State shot 42 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3, but only hit 60 percent of its free throws. The struggles at the line continued to cost them and can be looked at as a big factor in the outcome of this game.
Overall, it was just too much Stevens on offense and not enough of the other guys. Penn State has talent elsewhere and we saw what happens when the scoring is more spread out. That is something the Nittany Lions will need to get back to if they wish to salvage a lost season.
One of Penn State’s strengths all season has been its defense. They have been able to keep the game within striking distance for their offense but have not been able to do enough to pull out many wins.
Penn State held Iowa’s leading scorer Amir Coffey to only 11 points and held the Golden Gophers to 40 percent from the field. Minnesota also went only 3 of 14 from deep, so the Nittany Lions defense does not have much to hang their heads on in this game.
7-12 overall record, 0-8 in the Big Ten and six straight losses. You really have to begin to wonder whether Pat Chambers is on the hot seat quite yet. Expectations were sky high going into this season, and they continue to come crashing down with each passing game.
There really aren’t many big decisions that stand out from Saturday night, but Penn State just continues to struggle to find an identity offensively and a lot of that has to be attributed back to Chambers.
Penn State is now off until next Saturday when they welcome Rutgers to the Bryce Jordan Center. It will be a great opportunity for the Nittany Lions to finally pick up their first conference victory. If they fail to do that, then there will be some serious worries about this program.
Chambers is on the hot seat, and he must do something to turn this thing around, or he could end up being the guy held responsible for Penn State’s step back this season.
Jake Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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