Game Grades: Wisconsin
Penn State’s season came to an end on Thursday night when the Nittany Lions fell in a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin 75-74. Penn State was down 18 late in the second half but stormed all the way back and had a chance to win the game in the final seconds. But it ended being just another one of countless close losses this season, and the team was noticeably emotional afterward. Regardless, let’s grade the Nittany Lions’ performance against Wisconsin.
Penn State’s offense came out firing early, and the Nittany Lions took a 24-16 lead. Penn State’s offense then slowed after the eight-minute mark in the first half, and Wisconsin took control, leading by as much as 18 in the second half.
Penn State could have easily folded after trailing by 18, but the Nittany Lions stormed back. Guard Sam Sessoms took over in the final minutes, making some unbelievable shots at the rim to cut the Badgers’ lead to one point with 46 seconds to go.
Penn State just needed one basket with 20 seconds left, but Wisconsin stopped Sessoms and forced a turnover with less than one second remaining to survive and advance.
Penn State’s offense was not great, but the late push was unbelievable and gave the Nittany Lions a chance to win the game on the final possession.
Penn State coach Jim Ferry possibly coached his final game at Penn State on Thursday night, and he left it all out there. Penn State was down big, but Ferry pushed all the right buttons to lead a comeback.
Ferry made the tough decision of playing Sam Sessoms ahead of Myreon Jones in the final minutes, and it turned out to be the right one as Sessoms took over the game late. Ferry also made a smart adjustment on defense, pressing the Badgers and forcing them into tough shots and getting key stops down the stretch.
In possibly Ferry’s last showing with the Nittany Lions, he gave the team a chance to win and nearly pulled off the comeback of the tournament.
This is a special category for this article, as Penn State’s heart was on full display on Thursday night. The Nittany Lions had one of the most impressive runs in the final eight minutes of the game, fighting with everything they had left.
Their heart was shown even more after Penn State lost the game. Nearly every Nittany Lion on the court and on the sideline was extremely emotional, especially guard Jamari Wheeler, who possibly played his final game in a Penn State uniform.
Penn State showed a lot of toughness and grit in the final minutes of this game and also showed the entire nation how much the sport of basketball means to this team.
Penn State’s season may have come to an end Thursday night, but the Nittany Lions went out swinging. They never gave up.
Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.