Game Grades: Penn State vs. Purdue

Story posted January 14, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Jack Milewski

The Penn State Nittany Lions fell to the No. 24 Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday night 74-57. The Nittany Lions suffered their eighth loss of the season in what has been an up and down year for the Blue and White. Penn State fell behind early and was never able to regain a consistent source of momentum, as Purdue was able to maintain a sizeable lead from about five minutes left in the first half till the end of the game. Here are the game grades for the Nittany Lion’s 18th game of the season.

Backcourt: D

Shep Garner had one of his worse games of the season. Although he finished the night with nine points, Garner also committed seven turnovers and seemed to have a lot of trouble with Purdue’s stout defense. The Nittany Lions received decent production from Devin Foster, who finished with seven points and two rebounds and was easily the best guard on the floor for Penn State. The night was not a good one for Penn State as a whole and the guard play fell into the same rut as the rest of the Penn State offense did. Defensively, the guards were okay, as they allowed eight three-pointers and were consistently beat on the dribble drive penetration.

Frontcourt: B-

There were bright spots and not so bright spots for the Nittany Lions in the front court. Brandon Taylor led all players with 21 points and was one of the only consistent offensive threats for Penn State. Donovan Jack poured in 12 points for Penn State as the Nittany Lion senior forward was the second leading scorer. Outside of that, Penn State got nothing out of their forwards and big man Jordan Dickerson. Dickerson only played 16 minutes and because of that, Penn State was vulnerable down low as Purdue outsized them and out muscled them all night. Though the Nittany Lions did get some decent offensive output from a few of their frontcourt members, the defensive effort for the group as a whole was not very solid. They were dominated down low and when the big men had to step out and defend shots, they were unable to do so. Not a great effort, but the group gets a good grade because of the efforts of Jack and Taylor.

Bench: C

Plain and simple, Penn State needs more depth. If you look at the roster, there are really only three players who you can consider consistent starters night in and night out. Those three are Taylor, Garner and Banks. The bench tonight gets a middle of the pack grade because of the play from Jack, who was efficient and effective for a Penn State team who simply needed more of what Jack brought to the table in this game. Outside of the senior, the bench did not produce as hoped in many aspects of the game.

Coaching: C

It’s hard to coach when your team simply does not have it. Pat Chambers understands that this Penn State team seems to be lacking a go-to guy. Unlike the D.J. Newbill led team last season, Chambers has to mix and match the lineup more this season based on who is hot and who is not. The Nittany Lions ran some good plays to get the ball in the hands of Taylor, who was hot. You also have to give Chambers credit for keeping Jack in the game and recognizing what he was bringing to the lineup. Dickerson probably should have played more minutes simply because of the fact that Purdue is one of the bigger teams in the nation. However, better coaching would not have led to a win for Penn State in this game, although a few tweaks may have helped close the gap at times.

Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email jbm250@psu.edu