Michigan Downs Penn State on Senior Night
Duncan Robinson had a team-high 19 points off the bench as 17th-ranked Michigan knocked off the Penn State Nittany Lions 72-63 on Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. Tony Carr had a game-high 21 points in the loss.
Moritz Wagner had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Jordan Poole provided 11 key points off the bench. Lamar Stevens provided 19 points in the loss but missed all four of his free throw attempts.
Robinson started off the game hot, scoring 12 first-half points to open up a double-digit lead late in the half. The Wolverines’ first half was punctuated on a poster slam by Poole as Julian Moore tried to chase down the freshman.
Wagner started off the game hitting his first four 3-pointers as he was able to use his height to shoot over Penn State’s defenders. Carr tried to will the Nittany Lions back into the game in the second half, but the lead was too much.
The Wolverines improved to 23-7 (12-5 in Big Ten) and head to Maryland, while the Nittany Lions drop to 19-11.
Since the start of the season, Penn State has struggled for consistency off the bench as it lacks a consistent scoring threat after the starting five. In most games, the play of the bench has not been a problem, but a team like Michigan was able to exploit that with players like Robinson and Poole.
Nazeer Bostick and Julian Moore have normally been the best options off the bench, but Moore started the game as it was senior night. The presence of Moore in the starting lineup moved Mike Watkins to the bench, but he got injured early in the first half and left the game early.
The play of Carr and Stevens throughout the game helped carry Penn State as they combined to score 40 points, but the rest of the team only had 23 points. The lack of offensive production from the rest of the team can be attributed to the loss of Watkins, who was the team’s third-leading scorer entering the contest.
The lack of third and fourth scoring options behind Carr and Stevens made the Nittany Lions vulnerable against a team like Michigan that can rely on a bunch of players to get the job done. The Wolverines’ ability to shoot 3-pointers forced Patrick Chambers to use a small ball lineup with Stevens at the center position.
The Penn State head coach explained why the defense was so successful against Michigan’s perimeter attack.
“Wagner is not really going to post up,” Chambers said. “He wants to shoot threes, obviously 4-for-5 from three, and we were trying to prevent him from getting those threes.”
Wagner’s floor spacing ability helped Michigan hit 10 3-pointers on the night to beat the Nittany Lions on senior night. Guard Shep Garner reflected on his life at Penn State after the game.
“Of course, you want to get the win, but I enjoyed my career,” Garner said. “I enjoyed going to school here. It’s been great. It’s been a hell of a ride.”
The Nittany Lions travel to Lincoln on Sunday to take on the Cornhuskers in a huge bubble matchup.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.