Game Grades: Penn State vs. Purdue
Penn State lost a nail-biter at the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday night, falling to No. 17 Purdue in overtime by a score of 99-90. The loss drops the Nittany Lions to 7-14 (0-10) on the season and is their eighth straight loss. Let’s take a look at some grades for Penn State.
For the first time this season, Penn State finished with five scorers in double figures. Lamar Stevens led the way with 24 points and was joined by Rasir Bolton (18), Myles Dread (14), Josh Reaves (11) and Mike Watkins (10). It was Penn State’s best offensive performance of the season, scoring 29 points off of the bench and shooting 41 percent from behind the arc. However, the Nittany Lions left plenty of points on the floor, missing numerous open 3s and going 30 for 41 from the free throw line. Penn State was only able to scratch off five points in overtime, with three coming from the free throw line. Once again Penn State was unable to finish a basketball game, and it led to a blemish on what was otherwise a great offensive night.
It is difficult to earn a victory when the defense gives up 99 points. This game was a coin with two sides for the Penn State defense; they had no answers early for guard Carsen Edwards, who came out hot and finished with 38 points. After double teaming Edwards, guard Ryan Cline stepped up by scoring 20 points on six 3s. There were times when the Nittany Lions looked solid and forced turnovers and bad shots, but far too often Purdue found an open shooter behind the arc. Forward Trevion Williams was a strong presence in the paint, dropping 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds. Watkins and forward John Harrar did not do a great job securing the paint in this one. Defense has been a strength for Penn State this season, but it cost them their first Big Ten victory in this one.
Head Coach Patrick Chambers was active in this contest with substitutions. He continued throughout the game swapping strong defensive players Jamari Wheeler and Kyle McCloskey with offensive threats in Dread and Bolton. This played in their favor as Penn State sparked a comeback late in the first half. Penn State’s defensive scheme improved during the second half, working in and out of a man double team on Edwards. Despite this, Penn State’s overtime play calling was sub-par, falling behind quickly and making a comeback unlikely. This is a Nittany Lions team that is 0-10 in Big Ten play with eight straight losses. The blame has to fall somewhere, and Chambers is certainly on the hot seat.
Preston Shoemaker is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.