Game Grades: Penn State Men’s Basketball vs. Wisconsin
The Penn State Nittany Lions continued their struggles in Big Ten Conference play, losing their third game out of the last four, with a 63-60 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, Wisconsin Tuesday night.
The blue and white fall 0-19 inside of the Kohl Center and drop to 12-6 overall, with a 3-4 conference record. With that, the report card reflects their performance tonight.
Head coach Micah Shrewsberry and his team started off strong in the first half. Penn State went 52% from the floor and went 5-9 from the 3-point line.
However, in basketball, you play all 40 minutes.
For the second time in the last two games, the Nittany Lions started flat in the second half, going 1-for-6 to start. The Badgers countered with a 12-2 run out of the locker rooms and had momentum down the stretch, as both teams traded baskets until the final horn.
The final statistics from the night showed that Penn State shot 37.5% from the floor and 27.3% from beyond the arc. It did not take a big hit on the overall game statistics, giving the team a 44.9% clip from the field and 40% conversion rate from downtown.
The blue and white found a way to let Wisconsin back into the game. If they want a good shot for an at-large bid, the gas pedal needs to stay on the metal the entire 40 minutes.
The Penn State defense managed to limit the damage from some of the top players in coach Greg Gard’s team. Forward Tyler Wahl was only limited to four of his 10 points in the first half, along with guard Chucky Hepburn with six of his 13 points coming in the first frame.
Wisconsin managed to find a groove shooting in the second half, converting 47.8% of shots from the floor and going 4-for-8 from 3-point land. Wisconsin got out early and held onto the lead for the rest of the way.
The Nittany Lions struggled to stay away from foul trouble, as five players had three or more fouls on them, most notably forwards Kebba Njie and Seth Lundy. Lundy saw 22 minutes on four fouls, with Njie having three fouls, limiting him to only 17 minutes.
The team racked up 21 fouls, with 12 coming in the second half. With Wisconsin in the bonus for the majority of the second half, it only managed to go 7-for-11 from the free-throw line, a weakness that has plagued the Badgers all season.
Shrewsberry has been deemed a play guru by Jon Rothstein. His “Rothstein-ism” of “Micah Shrewsberry. More plays than Broadway.” has been on display in recent dates. It showed in the last two possessions for Penn State.
On the blue and white’s first out-of-bounds play to take the lead, the play was set perfectly to get an open look from downtown. Guard Jalen Pickett found a fading Andrew Funk for a wide-open three, but it rattled out.
Once Wisconsin took a three-point lead, Shrewsberry used his final timeout to draw up a game-tying play. It resulted with Funk getting the inbound and pulling from NBA range.
The shot hit the front iron, and the Badgers grabbed the rebound and secured the victory. Those plays gave the Nittany Lions a chance at victory, and it wouldn’t be possible without Shrewsberry.
Jonathan Draeger is a third-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.