Penn State falls short against Purdue in Big Ten Championship
CHICAGO, Ill. –– Penn State Men’s Basketball came up just short of a Big Ten Tournament Championship, losing to Purdue 67-65.
The Nittany Lions returned to the title game for the first time since 2011 and came back from a 17-point deficit, but they couldn’t finish the job when it mattered.
“We fought. We battled. I’m proud of our guys and we’re ready for what’s next,” head coach Micah Shrewsberry said.
The Nittany Lions came into the game having lost twice to Purdue in the regular season. The first contest, held in the Palestra, was the closer of the two with Purdue winning 76-63.
The Boilermakers hosted the Nittany Lions in the second matchup and the black and gold dominated the contest and won by 20, 80-60.
The task was tall for the blue and white as they looked to sweep the states of Illinois and Indiana in a single week.
Penn State played well in the first half, but Big Ten Player of the Year Zach Edey got going early and bullied his way to 15 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Purdue went into the half up by eight and feeling good after ending the half strong. This margin was the largest going into the break in all three games between these two teams.
The blue and white tried to claw their way back into the game early in the second half, but the Boilermakers responded to each basket and held a double-digit lead for most of the half.
Penn State trailed by as many as 17 points with just 6:18 left in the game. Shrewsberry took a timeout and looked to fuel his squad.
“We just locked in and focused,” senior Myles Dread said. “We started chipping away.”
Dread was a huge spark plug off the bench for the Nittany Lions and knocked down three triples on his way to nine points.
The Nittany Lions began to chug their way up a tall mountain to try and mount a comeback. Seth Lundy got going for them and found a groove that was hard to stop.
Lundy contributed eight points to the Penn State run before he picked up his fifth foul and was forced to exit the game.
He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in the game.
With time running out, Penn State attempted to pull off the miracle upset. A Dread three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining led to a steal and dunk from Evan Mahaffey to bring them within one.
“We’re fighters, man,” Jalen Pickett said. “We didn’t want it to end.”
After getting fouled, Purdue’s Fletcher Loyer stepped to the line for two shots but was only able to get one of two to fall. Penn State had an opportunity down by two with 3.3 seconds left.
Coach Shrewsberry drew up a play, but it was unsuccessful as the length of Edey allowed him to tip the ball and force a desperation heave from Cam Wynter.
Wynter’s shot didn’t count as he was called for a travel before the shot and Purdue ran out the clock to win the 2023 Big Ten Tournament Championship by two.
“I just tried to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded,” Wynter said.
Penn State’s incredible run did not end the way they had hoped, but their performance opened the eyes of the rest of the Big Ten and the nation.
They solidified their spot in the NCAA Tournament and despite losing the game, their season is not yet over.
“This is a really unique position for us,” Shrewsberry said. “We get to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show and hear our name called.”
Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. 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!