Jones Misses Final Shot, Nittany Lions Blow Lead to Ohio State in 83-79 Loss

Story posted January 28, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jack McCune

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An eight-point advantage for Penn State with eight minutes to go was not to be, as the Nittany Lions (5-7, 2-6) fell to No. 13 Ohio State (13-4, 7-4) 83-79 on Wednesday night at Value City Arena.

Lead changes on five straight possessions in crunch time ended abruptly when the Nittany Lions held possession down by two points with a minute remaining. Junior guard Myreon Jones was not his usual self with just 10 points on the board, but he got the ball and drove straight to the basket.

He gave himself enough space to float a one-handed shot up near the free-throw line. But after a few bounces and rolls around the rim, the ball would not go through the hoop and instead found the hands of Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell. The sophomore then iced the game on the other end of the floor by making both of his free throws after he was immediately fouled.

Interim head coach Jim Ferry’s decisions are in question after blowing the late lead. On the final shot opportunity, junior Izaiah Brockington was sitting on the sideline, despite his 18 points on the night.

“We thought the other guys were in a better rhythm,” Ferry said. “[Brockington] had picked up his fourth foul, and he was out for a while.”

Liddell was perfect from the stripe in 10 attempts, as the 6-foot-7-inch forward led the Buckeyes in points with 22. His squad’s bench put up 21 to just six for Penn State’s reserves.

It ruined the party for Penn State sophomore Seth Lundy, who had his best scoring performance ever in a conference game with 26. Senior John Harrar’s night was spoiled as well, as he put up a career-high 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds in his second double-double of the season.

The Nittany Lions’ 23 points off giveaways was a season high as Ohio State committed 17 turnovers. But Penn State wasn’t careful enough with the ball either; the Nittany Lions fed junior Justice Sueing five steals for a Buckeyes total of six.

Penn State also lost the rebound battle 36-28 despite having the tallest player on the court. Not a single player in pink and black besides Harrar had more than four boards. And the Nittany Lions shot 75% from the free throw line to Ohio State’s 95%.

Yet Ferry is confident in the road ahead. He liked how his team fought, and he felt that if Jones hit his final shot, the postgame conversation would be much different.

“You can’t control the shots going in,” Ferry said. “But you can control the focus and the concentration and the effort to execute. And I thought [the team] did a fantastic job of that. We got two really good shots [on the last possession].”

The Big Ten gauntlet continues as Ferry and the Nittany Lions will face No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday at 3 p.m. back at the Bryce Jordan Center. The 13-4 Badgers are coming off a 61-55 victory Wednesday at Maryland in which senior big Micah Potter scored 23 points and grabbed 12 boards.

 

Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jxm1237@psu.edu.