Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Nebraska
Penn State was able to get back into the win column with a big 76-65 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The win gets them back in front of the eight ball and gives them tons of confidence and momentum heading into a matchup with Rutgers.
Here’s how the team performed in each aspect of the game.
Out of the gates, both teams struggled to shoot the ball and it resulted in a low scoring first half. The Nittany Lions weren’t able to get much going, but luckily they made a few extra threes to give them a lead at halftime.
The second half was a different story. The Nittany Lions were hot and Andrew Funk was making the Bryce Jordan Center erupt with his display of sharpshooting. He finished with 23 points in the game.
Penn State shot 49% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc which is not bad numbers, but Coach Shrewsberry and his staff would like to see that number increase in bigger games.
The only concerns for this team was the increase in careless turnovers that we saw from Jalen Pickett and the slow start from the field. Pickett could not get on page with some of the freshman players who have gained a bigger role this season.
Expect the Nittany Lions to get hot early and punch Rutgers in the mouth and Pickett to rebound from this seven turnover game.
This was a mediocre defensive performance from a team that has prided themselves on limiting their opponents offensively. They gave up 42 points in the second half which cannot happen in games against better competition.
They also had a hard time finding the right matchups for Nebraska’s key players. Derrick Walker had his way down low for the Cornhuskers, a trend we’ve seen a lot from big men against Penn State. He bullied his way to 20 points including 14 in the second half.
Nebraska’s sharpshooter Keisei Tominaga got hot and the Nittany Lions struggled to locate him in the second half. This struggle led to Tominaga dropping 13 points in the second half and bringing Nebraska back into the game.
Overall, the Nittany Lions did have some bright spots in the final tallies as they held the Cornhuskers to 45% from the field and just 27% from deep. They were also able to out rebound Nebraska which is something they don’t do often.
If Penn State can clean up their defense and communicate better, they will be able to locate shooters and find their way to rotate out of double teams they bring in the post.
Coach Micah Shrewsberry has done a great job this season of developing his freshmen and getting his key players the ball. Tonight was no different.
He was able to create a game plan that allowed Funk to get going early and get open looks out of their sets. This freed up other players like Pickett and Lundy to get open looks and find their rhythm.
In this game, Shrewsberry went deep into the bench and used 11 different players in the game. The key bench pieces included freshman Kanye Clary who had the best game of his season as he played a career-high 19 minutes.
Additionally, he had to work around the mismatch that Walker provided with Mahaffey fouling out of the game early. He had to throw different matchups and look at Walker to ensure that he wasn’t going to completely take over and he did it well.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey for a matchup with Top 25 ranked Rutgers.
Thomas English is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Thomas is a broadcast journalist from Shorewood, Illinois which is an hour South of Chicago. He is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. His goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster who covers a variety of sports including professional and college level football and basketball and bring entertainment to people all over the world. His other goal is to spread his love of sports to all cultures through projects that allow children of all ethnicities to learn and play all kinds of sports. He is currently an active member of CommRadio, a student run radio station at Penn State. He plans to create his own sports podcast as well as doing play by play and analysis for Penn State sporting events in the future. In the future, he hopes to use his skills to entertain people all over the world!