Nittany Lions Can’t Hold On at Michigan State as Scoring Woes Continue
EAST LANSING, Mich. - On a night where both teams struggled to get the ball in the bucket, the Nittany Lions just barely slipped as Michigan State (10-7, 4-7) beat Penn State (7-9, 4-8) 60-58 at the Breslin Center.
“I am a little concerned with three games in a row not being able to hit 60,” said interim head coach Jim Ferry, whose team remains winless in conference play outside the Bryce Jordan Center. “On the road, we’re not playing with the same hop that we’re playing with at home.”
The Nittany Lions shot 34 percent and 22 percent from three for their second-worst performance of the season from beyond the arc. But Michigan State shot just 8 percent better and the blue and white had a chance to win it on a final opportunity down two with eleven seconds when junior Myles Dread fired an open 3-pointer from the left wing.
The ball went in and out and fell into the hands of Michigan State’s Josh Langford who was immediately fouled. His first shot of a one-and-one missed and gave Penn State one more chance with single digits on the clock, but a contested heave from Dread slammed the backboard as the siren rang.
Senior big John Harrar was the only consistent and efficient Nittany Lion scorer. Harrar led the way in points with 17 and grabbed 14 rebounds for his third double-double this season.
Junior guard Myreon Jones put up 15 points, but shot just 5-of-12 from the field and missed four 3-pointers. The other starters in Izaiah Brockington, Jamari Wheeler and Seth Lundy combined for 10 points.
Spartans’ head coach Tom Izzo decided to make a lineup change to get more height to match Harrar standing at 6-foot-11. Marcus Bingham Jr. replaced second-leading scorer Joey Hauser in the starting five.
The strategy worked like a charm as Penn State won the rebound battle by just one and Hauser dropped 11 points, more than his season average at 10.5, off the bench. He led the way for Michigan State alongside junior forward Aaron Henry, who missed 10 shots but dropped 20 points and made the difference on the scoreboard.
Only nine giveaways makes it just the fifth time this season the Nittany Lions turned the ball over in single digits. Ferry was happy with his team’s execution, but as the sixth single-figure loss of the season, he knows it's another one that got away.
“The guys are devastated right now… On the road we’re coming up one play short,” Ferry said. “[But] we’re right there. We still have a lot of games to play.”
On the brighter side for Penn State, Wheeler recorded his 300th assist in the loss. It moves the senior up to 16th place on the team’s all-time list.
Penn State swaps positions with the Spartans in the Big Ten standings from No. 10 to No. 11 as six games remain in the regular season.
The next will be back at home when last-place Nebraska visits the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. Fred Hoiberg’s Cornhuskers have yet to beat a conference opponent as the Nittany Lions will try to keep their bubble status alive.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Jack McCune is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Yardley, Pennsylvania, which is outside of Philly and just across the Delaware River from New Jersey. He attended Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. He’s a huge fan of the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, Penn State football and Penn State basketball. He’s a sports anchor and multimedia reporter for the Centre County Report. He’s a Football Insider for CommRadio. His talk show, Broad Street Bros, airs Thursday nights at 5:45, as he talks about Philly and Penn State sports. He hopes to some day become a play-by-play announcer for football, basketball and/or baseball, and he is also interested in becoming a bartender.