Game Grades: Minnesota
The Penn State Nittany Lions took on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in what was the Nittany Lions’ final home game of the season as well as senior night. Penn State came away with a dominant 84-65 victory. Let’s take a deeper dive and grade each of the Nittany Lions’ units in this blowout victory.
Penn State shot lights out on Wednesday, connecting on 45.7% of its shots from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.
The Nittany Lions had a balanced scoring attack; five guys scored double figures. Leading the way in scoring was guard Myreon Jones, who put up 17 points. Senior Trent Buttrick had a career high 13 points as well as a monster dunk in his final game at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Blue and White did a good job moving the ball around, as they finished the game with 19 assists. Guards Jamari Wheeler and Sam Sessoms both racked up five assists: team highs.
The Nittany Lions grabbed 17 offensive rebounds compared to the Golden Gophers’ nine. These offensive boards allowed the team to get easy second-chance points. Center John Harrar pulled down seven of them.
It would have been an A+ performance, but Penn State struggled at foul line shooting just 52.6% from the line. In closer games, free throws typically are the difference.
The Penn State defense did a great job of forcing the Golden Gophers to take bad shots, hitting at just a 35.6% clip from the field and 27.8% from deep.
The game plan on defense was to have Marcus Carr and Jamal Mashburn Jr. beat them, and it worked. The pair shot a combined 5 of 22 from the field and just 1 of 6 from deep.
Penn State also outrebounded Minnesota 48-33. Harrar pulled down a game-high 11 boards.
The Nittany Lions had active hands on defense, as five different players racked up steals. Buttrick also recorded two blocks and had a steal.
Interim head coach Jim Ferry honored his seniors the right way, as he made the five of them the starters for the night.
After playing three games last week, the Nittany Lions had a much-needed rest, and what Ferry worked on in practice with the team translated well on the court, as the Nittany Lions played with extreme effort and intensity.
If Ferry can continue to implement a game plan like he did Wednesday night, the Nittany Lions will have a chance to close out the regular season on a high note with two straight victories.
Emotions were high last night in the Bryce Jordan Center as seniors Jamari Wheeler, John Harrar, Trent Buttrick, Kyle McCloskey and Taylor Nussbaum all played their final home game.
It is always emotional on senior night as you are saying goodbye to staples of your program and guys who have put their blood, sweat and tears into the program for the past four years.
The Nittany Lions will close out the regular season against the Maryland Terrapins on March 7.
Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.