Penn State Men’s Basketball Game Grades: Miami (FL)

Story posted December 2, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young

In a highly contested battle, Penn State fell to Miami 63-58 in the team’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup.

Playing late in the night behind a decently sized home crowd, the Nittany Lions failed to muster a late push against a Hurricanes team that simply looked better for most of the contest.

Ultimately, Penn State had its chances to try and win this one against one of their better early-season opponents but could not make up for its early-game struggles.

Here’s a look at how each side of the ball performed during the loss.

Offense: C-

The Miami Hurricanes brought extra pressure to the ball all night long and the Nittany Lions could never quite figure out how to battle past it. Penn State turned the ball over 14 times during the loss.

The offense would go for long stretches of being stagnant and was only able to put up a meager 23 first-half points.

The team struggled to find open looks against the Hurricanes and shot under 40% in the opening 20 minutes.

The lone bright spot for Penn State’s offense was big man John Harrar’s performance. The 6’ 9” forward scored 16 points on an efficient 6-6 shooting and added 12 rebounds for the double-double.

It was when the Nittany Lions found Harrar down low in the post that their offense had success, but that did not happen nearly enough against Miami.

Defense: B+

The Penn State defense was sound all game holding the Hurricanes to just 63 points overall. They shut out Miami’s leading, Kameron McGusty, for the entire first half.

The Nittany Lions out-rebounded the Canes 38-27 and only allowed Miami to shoot five total free throws throughout the entire matchup.

In the long instances where Penn State’s offense was at a standstill, the defense locked in and kept the game close, giving the team a chance late in the second half.

The only real knock on Penn State’s team defense tonight is failing to get a rebound during the game’s most crucial position.

After playing great defense throughout the entire shot clock Penn State forced the Hurricanes into a tough shot, but the Nittany Lions were unable to grab the rebound.

Coaching: C+

Penn State did not look ready to play in the opening half tonight. The team looked one or two gears slow in a half that saw the Nittany Lions score just 23 points.

However, coach Micah Shrewsberry deserves credit for the halftime adjustments made and solid team defense all night long.

The offensive sets were not working early for Penn State as the team shot 10-26 from the field and 2-12 from downtown. Shrewsberry had plenty to do at the break despite it being only a six-point game. 

The coaching staff did a better job at drawing up plays to get Penn State open looks on offense, but it was never enough to recover from the rough start.

It was a tough one to swallow for coach Shrewsberry and the Nittany Lions as the team will have to immediately put this one behind them and prepare for Ohio State this Sunday.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email