Penn State Basketball Weekly Preview: Minnesota and Maryland Finish Off Regular Season
It was a week filled with highs and lows, as the Nittany Lions went 1-1 in their two games.
Penn State opened things up against a Nebraska squad that came into the Tuesday night matchup on a five-game losing streak. The Cornhuskers’ last win had come when the two teams last met in the Bryce Jordan Center on Valentine’s Day.
Like the teams’ first meeting, the game was close the entire way and went down to the final possession. Nebraska’s Trey McGowens had the ball with the chance to tie the game and potentially send it to overtime. But he missed the 3-point attempt, and Myles Dread ran the ball up court without being fouled to end the Nittany Lions’ four-game losing streak, his team winning 86-83.
Myreon Jones was the main reason why the Nittany Lions secured the win; he picked up a career high 29 points. Although it didn’t match Teddy Allen’s monstrous 41-point night for Nebraska, it was enough to secure the win.
Following the emotional victory, the Nittany Lions couldn’t keep the momentum alive against Purdue. Penn State went from a much-needed road win to its biggest loss of the season. Even though the Nittany Lions were back in the Bryce Jordan Center, they were overpowered by the Boilermakers 73-52.
The Nittany Lions held a 6-4 lead with 17:41 to go in the first half—the team would never have the lead for the rest of the game. The offense went ice cold as only Jones scored in double digits. John Harrar only recorded three rebounds and didn’t have a single offensive rebound all game as he was outmatched by Purdue’s Trevion Williams, who had 11 points himself.
The loss leaves Penn State with one home game left in the regular season; the Nittany Lions will take on Minnesota on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for senior night. Harrar, Jamari Wheeler, Trent Buttrick and Taylor Nussbaum will take the court at the Bryce Jordan Center for possibly the final time against the Golden Gophers, who are on a five-game losing streak.
Minnesota will be without 7-foot junior and leading rebounder Liam Robbins. This could give Harrar room to work inside, as he’d be the tallest man on the court and could make more of an impact than he did against Purdue.
Robbins and junior Marcus Carr are the only Gophers in double-figure scoring on the season. Carr is averaging 20 points per game: the third-best in the conference. Everyone in the building knows he’ll have the ball in his hands, and whether the Penn State defense can limit him or not will make the difference in this one.
The final game of the regular season will be in College Park as the Nittany Lions will take on red-hot Maryland. The Terrapins have won five straight games as they have creeped their way back into the tournament conversation. Junior guard Eric Ayala is averaging 20 points in his past three games, and he scored 23 in his team’s first meeting with Penn State back on Feb 5.
But the Nittany Lions won that game 55-50 in the BJC. Jones had an off-night with just two points, but fellow junior Izaiah Brockington led in scoring with 13, while Harrar was a point shy of a 12-rebound double-double.
Despite shooting a worse 32% to Maryland’s 35%, Penn State scrapped its way to victory. The Terrapins are now seeking an extra victory to solidify a spot in the NCAA Tournament, so both teams will be firing on all cylinders Sunday in the final regular season game before the Big Ten tournament tips off next Wednesday, March 10.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.