Penn State’s Second Half Struggles Continue In Loss To Wisconsin

Story posted January 18, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

Penn State got out to a strong start once again as they searched for their first ever win in the Kohl Center. They led at halftime 36-30 over the Wisconsin Badgers, but the second half woes hurt them.

The Nittany Lions have led at halftime in all but three of their games this season and are 12-3 in those games, but many of those wins ended up being close due to lackluster second half performances.

“We got stops down the stretch,” Coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “We guarded and I thought we got good looks offensively.”

Shrewsberry seemed pleased with how his team fared against the Badgers, but fans couldn't help but notice how the lead was squandered early into the second half.

Wisconsin came out of the gates and went on a 10-2 run to flip the script and go from being down six to being ahead by four. This led to a complete momentum shift in favor of the home team.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t find their way back to a victory and suffered a heartbreaking defeat. This wasn’t the first time this had happened. Penn State has been known to collapse in the second half and make games tighter than they should be.

The main reason for their collapse is stagnant offense which leads to bad shots. Against Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions shot 52% from the field and 56% from three in the first half. The second half was a different story as they shot just 38% from the field and 27% from three.

Another issue is the Badgers got into the bonus early in the second half. This led to 11 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half and caused Coach Shrewsberry to make hard decisions when putting guys into the game.

“We shouldn’t have fouled early in the half and got them in the bonus for so long,” Shrewsberry said.

Penn State has become accustomed to second half woes like these and it has carried over from game to game. The Nittany Lions rank 39th in the country in scoring in the first half, but 228th overall in the second half.

They have outscored their opponents 674-544 in the first half, a number that represents the Nittany Lions strong ability to start strong and punch their opponents in the mouth. The problem is they only outscore opponents 644-634 in the second half.

The key for Coach Shrewsberry and his squad is building a big enough lead in the first half that they won’t let their second half issues blow the lead.

If Penn State doesn’t lead at halftime or if their lead isn’t great enough then it spells trouble for them as they are 0-3 in games they don’t lead at half.

The blue and white sit at 12-6 on the season and will look to rely on their ball security and three-point shooting to make up for their second half struggles.

Penn State will look to bounce back and put together a complete 40 minutes of action as they host Nebraska inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday.

Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email