Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Minnesota
Penn State (12-5, 2-4) couldn’t hold on to an early lead as it dropped its third straight game 75-69 to Minnesota (10-7, 4-3) on Wednesday night in Minneapolis. The Nittany Lions went completely cold in the second half scoring only 23 points in the final 20 minutes. Here are some grades from Wednesday’s game.
If you look at the whole game numbers, it wasn’t completely horrible. In the first half, Penn State shot close to 60% and was getting contributions from pretty much everyone. Seth Lundy, who got his first start of the season, was hitting almost every shot on his way to 13 points. Myreon Jones had 10 first half points. John Harrar and Mike Watkins were both contributing inside. This was all taking place with Lamar Stevens in foul trouble. Even the start of the second half was good with Stevens scoring eight points and Penn State jumping out to an eight point lead. Once the under 16-timeout hit, it all went downhill. The ball movement was stagnant. The shot selection was questionable and the Nittany Lions went five minutes without a basket. Those scoring droughts cannot happen if you want to win games in the Big Ten, but these have happened too often for Penn State recently.
Rebounding has been a story this season for the Nittany Lions. It hurt them yet again against Minnesota, big time. The Nittany Lions were out rebounded 48-32 and allowed the Gophers to grab 18 offensive boards. When you’re playing a team that has one of the best big men in the country in Daniel Oturu, that’s a recipe for disaster. Oturu hurt them all night with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Carr also had a big game for Minnesota with 27 points. Penn State is a good defensive team, but if it continuously allows teams to get second shots like they have so far in conference play, it’s not going to match the results they want. The Nittany Lions need to get better on the boards.
It looked like Pat Chambers’ strategic moves were working. Starting Lundy and Harrar for the first time this season worked out well early. Mike Watkins also looked motivated coming off the bench for the first time this year. The second half completely took all of that away though. In Penn State’s three straight losses, scoring droughts have become a theme in all of those. Rebounding has been a theme in all of those. The same problems continue to hurt this team. The Nittany Lions have a big home game on Saturday against No. 21 Ohio State, who is spiraling downward right now. Winning on the road in the Big Ten is tough, but you have to take care of business in home games. If Penn State continues to let these problems bleed over into Saturday’s game, this season could spiral downward quickly.
Kevin McConlogue is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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