Penn State Basketball Weekly Preview: Nittany Lions Return from Temporary Shutdown
The Penn State Nittany Lions have not taken the court since Dec. 30 when they lost in overtime to the Indiana Hoosiers. Since then, COVID-19 cases have caused the Penn State basketball program to temporarily shut down.
Coach Jim Ferry spoke to the media on Thursday for the first time since the shutdown to provide some updates as the team looks to make its return to the court when it plays Purdue on Sunday. Ferry mentioned that the players took the shutdown hard at first but they found a way to move past it and look forward.
“Once we explained that we have a plan, everybody quickly adjusted and adapted,” Ferry said. “We have great leadership.”
Even though the Nittany Lions have only played seven games and fewer conference games than the rest of the Big Ten, Ferry noted that there are some positives to take away from the situation.
“We are the most well-rested team in the Big Ten right now,” Ferry said “We have to deal with what’s in front of us, not what’s behind us. We’re going to come out with great energy and great enthusiasm.”
Ferry and the Nittany Lions’ first test since the break will come against Trevion Williams and the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers come into the matchup with a 9-5 record and a 4-3 conference record.
Purdue is coming off a close one-point win at Michigan State and a 12-point win at Indiana, but the Boilermakers lost two games to Rutgers and Illinois before that. Williams is both the team’s leading scorer and rebounder as he averages 15.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He is coming off performances of 26 and 22 points against Michigan State and Indiana, respectively.
The matchup will take place in Mackey Arena, which has been a pleasant site for the Boilermakers this season, as they are an undefeated 6-0 at home.
Ferry mentioned that the game does carry some extra weight for his squad but only because of the opportunity to finally get back on the court.
“If we look at one game being more important than any other game in this league, I think I’d be doing injustice to (our opponents),” Ferry said.
The blue and white will look to get their first slash in the conference win column before they take on three more opponents later in the week. They’ll go to Champaign to rematch Illinois Tuesday night before heading home to face Rutgers and Northwestern.
Sitting at 0-3 in the Big Ten standings, the Nittany Lions lie just one spot above the basement, occupied by 0-5 Nebraska. Every other team has at least two conference victories and an overall winning record.
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