Penn State Still Winless In Big Ten After Loss To Ohio State

Story posted January 26, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Dan Cronin

Penn State had its share of good looks at the basket throughout the afternoon, but their shots were not going down as they fell to their border rivals from Ohio.

The Nittany Lions were defeated by Ohio State Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center by a final score of 65-51. With the loss, Penn State falls to 8-12 on the season and 0-8 in the Big Ten. Ohio State improves to 15-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play.

Sam Thompson led the Buckeyes on the day, finishing the game with 16 points. The sophomore from Chicago was 6-7 from the floor and a perfect 2-2 at the free throw line.

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta felt that Thompson’s contributions were vital.

“Sam was tremendous today,” Matta said. “I really challenge Sam to play his best basketball.”

Deshaun Thomas came in to the game leading the Big Ten in scoring with an average of 20.5 points per game for the Buckeyes, but he finished the day with only 11 points.

Penn State was able to limit Thomas to 30.7% shooting from the floor, but Matta was impressed with the way his other players stepped up.

“They do a lot of things differently to slow Deshaun down and today guys made plays off of him,” Matta said.

The Nittany Lions’ dynamic duo in the backcourt led them in scoring again. D.J. Newbill finished the game with 15 points and Jermaine Marshall had 16.

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said that a third scorer emerging for his team is one of his biggest needs right now.

“Jermaine and D.J. are doing their part,” Chambers said. “We need that third and fourth guy to step up.”

Penn State got off to a good start, shooting 4-6 from the floor and trailing by just 2 at the 15:01 mark of the first half. Newbill knotted the game up with a layup at the 13:34 mark to make it 11-11.

The Nittany Lions kept things interesting, but on-ball defense by the Buckeyes forced Penn State into a cold stretch. The Nittany Lions went 11:24 without a field goal, while Ohio State put together a 14-1 run to open up a 25-12 lead.

Newbill attributed the cold stretch to a combination of good defense by the Buckeyes and his team not taking advantage of their own opportunities.

“Some of it was them playing good defense and some of it was us just missing shots we normally make,” Newbill said.

While Penn State was cold shooting the basketball, Jon Graham excited the crowd with a couple of key blocks to keep his team in striking distance.

Marshall ended the run with a three from the wing to cut the deficit to 25-15 with 2:10 remaining in the first half. He finished the half with 10 points.

Penn State went to the locker room trailing the Buckeyes 29-18 at halftime.

Penn State took good care of the ball throughout the game. They finished with only four turnovers.

Brandon Taylor started 0-5 from behind the arc, but his first three of the game trimmed the Buckeye lead to single digits at 32-23 with 17:16 remaining.

Penn State had several chances to close the gap, but missed free throws and layups plagued them in the second half.

“Guys that have open shots have got to stick them,” Chambers said. “That’s the bottom line.”

A three-pointer by Thompson opened up a 49-32 lead for the Buckeyes with 7:44 remaining. That 17 point spread was Ohio State’s largest lead of the game.

Ohio State made 11 consecutive free throws down the stretch. Matta believed that was critical to icing the game.

“Knocking those down was what finished the game off for us,” Matta said. “Any time when they’re fouling and you step up and make two, it really helps your cause.”

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta has never lost to Penn State, now owning a 17-0 record against the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s last victory over the Buckeyes came on January 10th, 2004 by a score of 64-47 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Penn State is back in action on Thursday when they travel to America’s heartland to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at 8 p.m.

Dan Cronin is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail djc5353@gmail.com