Game Grades: Purdue
The Penn State Nittany Lions lost in a blowout to the Purdue Boilermakers 73-52 on Friday night. The Nittany Lions were down the entire game and could not find the spark they needed to make it competitive. The Boilermakers’ record improves 16-8 while Penn State falls to 8-13. Let’s give out some grades from the game for the offense, defense and coaching.
Penn State could not get going on offense—a recurring problem as of recent. The Nittany Lions have now lost six out their last eight games. Scoring only 52 points will not be enough to beat Big Ten competition.
The team shot 35.5% from the field and 6 of 29 on 3-point attempts—an abysmal 20.7%. Penn State did out-shoot Purdue in both total shot attempts and shots beyond the arc, but it didn’t matter; the shots just were not falling.
Getting a close revenge win over Nebraska on Tuesday should have given the Nittany Lion some momentum for this game. However, even the home-field advantage did not make a difference in the outcome.
The only scorer in double figures was Myreon Jones with 11 points. Three other starters scored nine points. The bench struggled to help contribute as well, scoring 10 points collectively from 10 players in 75 total minutes played.
The free-throw line was another glaring issue; the Nittany Lions shot an abysmal 2 for 8 from the stripe, failing to cash in on what could be free points.
All in all, Penn State struggles to find a playmaker and struggles to shoot efficiently, and the box score reflects that.
Overall, Penn State was average on defense. The Boilermakers had a solid all-around performance but did not set the Bryce Jordan Center on fire. The defense allowed slightly concerning shooting splits of 52% from the field and an efficient 7 of 19 (37%) from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Jamari Wheeler had a great performance, grabbing four steals and six rebounds, both team highs. However, Purdue controlled the glass in total, out-rebounding Penn State 41-28.
The Boilermakers had four of their five starters in double scoring figures. Leading the way was Sasha Stefanovic with 16 and Jaden Ivey with 14. Ivey arguably had his best all-around game of the season, stuffing the stat sheet with four blocks, three steals and five rebounds.
The Nittany Lions defense needs to crash the boards and deny second-chance opportunities. On top of that, not allowing as many high-percentage shots would give the offense a better chance to keep games within reach.
This is a discouraging loss for the Penn State Nittany Lions, who have not been able to find their stride yet this season. But Coach Jim Ferry remains optimistic, and the team shows a continuing effort, even when outmatched.
Shooting continues to be the Nittany Lions’ largest issue. They shoot under 50% from the field and under 35% on over 30 3-point attempts. Penn State is shooting itself out of games.
The Nittany Lions might need to try a new offensive scheme or try to incorporate some new plays into the mix. It is unclear who the leader is on this team or what their identity is. Once the Nittany Lions can figure that out, they have the potential to compete with nearly any team in the Big Ten.
Penn State will stay at home to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Wednesday, March 3. It will be the first matchup of the season between these two teams. Tensions might be high after last year’s game in which PSU’s Lamar Stevens and Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu got into it, only aided by the Gophers’ sudden slide out of tournament contention.
Matt Noah is a sophomore majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.