Game Grades: Purdue
The Penn State Men’s Basketball team traveled to West Lafayette to take on No. 6 Purdue. The Nittany Lions led at the half but were unable to close the deal and pull off the road upset.
Purdue won the game 76-73 to break their three-game skid, while also ending Penn State’s four-game winning streak. Tony Carr got a decent look at a deep three at the end that could have sent the game to overtime but was unable to connect.
Judging by some of the offensive stats for the Nittany Lions, it's no wonder they were in this game with a chance. The Nittany Lions shot an impressive 50 percent from the floor, and also went a clean 50 percent from beyond the arc connecting on 9-18.
The Nittany Lions didn’t score an abundant amount of points on the night, but got three starters in double figures and got more scoring off their bench than normal. Tony Carr led the way with 19, Shep Garner put up 17, and Lamar Stevens pitched in 13. Off the bench, Julian Moore, Nazeer Bostick, and Satchel Pierce all got on the score sheet with Moore and Bostick pitching in six.
The downfalls in this performance for Penn State offensively came at the free throw line and in turning the ball over. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over 15 times and only shot 8-13 from the line. One of those misses came from Mike Watkins toward the end of the game when he could have tied the contest and avoided having to foul.
Holding the high-octane Purdue Boilermakers to 76 points and only seven made three-pointers is always an indicator of a fairly good defensive performance.
The Nittany Lions clearly paid attention to their scouting report and came prepared to deal with Purdue’s run and gun style. Of course, Purdue likes to work the ball inside a good amount too, and the Nittany Lions simply lacked the personnel to stop it.
Mike Watkins is a difficult big man for most teams to deal with, but on this night he had to match up against Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms who both stand a few inches over seven feet. Watkins only stands 6’9, and having to work from this height disadvantage got him into some foul trouble. He wound up only playing nine minutes in the whole game. Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce did what they could to fill in, but could not replicate Watkins’ impact in other facets of the game. The inability to stop Purdue in the paint without fouling hurt other areas of Penn State’s performance.
Beyond that, the Nittany Lions seemed to have no answer for Carsen Edwards who ran riot over them with 27 points and ran the offense responsibly. His proficiency in being smart with the ball made it hard for the Nittany Lions to turn Purdue over, which is usually a strong component of their defensive performance.
There isn’t too much to say about this one. Pat Chambers has his team peaking at the right time, and just got a difficult matchup.
Going into West Lafayette is never an easy thing to do, and Chamber’s squad happened to catch the best Purdue team in recent memory coming off of a three-game losing streak.
His team came ready to play, and just got unlucky with the Mike Watkins foul situation, and caught some unlucky breaks toward the end.
Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.