Nittany Lions Drop Second in a Row, Fall To Michigan at Home in Another Low-Scoring Affair

Story posted February 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Matthew Scalzo

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State men's basketball was looking to bounce back from its loss on Saturday to Wisconsin, as it returned home to face Michigan in the annual Wear White game. However, it was not the homecoming the Nittany Lions were looking for as they fell short falling to the Wolverines, 58-57.

The opening minutes were different from when the Nittany Lions were in Madison, as both teams came out hot. Penn State held a slight advantage, 20-19, with under 10 minutes to go.

Then the Nittany Lions started to take over, going on an 18-4 run  and jumping out to a 34-23 lead with 3:50 left to go in the half. However, the Wolverines responded with a scoring streak of their own. They ended the half on an 11-0 run to tie it up heading into the locker room, 34-34.

“After that timeout, we got stop after stop after stop, and we also scored on those stops,” Michigan head coach Juwan Howard said. “Then you look up at halftime and we’re tied at 34.”

Michigan’s star sophomore, Hunter Dickinson, led all scorers with 13 points at the break, he also snared six rebounds.

Penn State’s shooting woes returned as the Wolverines changed up their defense and made life tough for the blue and white offense. The Nittany Lions went over 10 minutes of game time without a basket.

“It just comes back to us making shots, making the right plays,” senior guard Sam Sessoms said. “Some days you have that type of night. It was unfortunate that it was a couple of us.”

Myles Dread ended the scoreless drought with 13:50 left, as he nailed a corner three to ignite the whiteout crowd and bring Penn State within one, 38-37.

The game then took a turn, as both teams ramped up the physicality on the defensive end, making one another earn each basket.

Michigan made the defense a point of emphasis in the second half, with a mixture of both man-to-man and 2-3 zone defenses. Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry credited the Wolverines and their ability to slow the Nittany Lions.

“[Michigan] does a good job of mixing man and zone in the same possession, so it keeps you off guard,” Shrewsberry said. “We were getting all the way to the rim and got shots right there, we just got to make them.”

Both squads struggled to find the bottom of the bucket in the second half, shooting a combined 12-for-55.

In the last few minutes, it was Michigan guard Eli Brooks that rose to the occasion. Brooks made a mid-range jumper to put the Wolverines up by four with 2:29 left to go and it proved to be the difference.

The teams traded baskets, and then Brooks put the game on ice when he sank a pair of free throws with three ticks left. Dread made a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it made no difference, as the Wolverines came out of top.

Brooks finished the game with 16 points, but it was Dickinson who led the way with his 13th career double-double, 19 points and 15 rebounds. Pickett led all Nittany Lion scorers with 14 points.

Another big storyline was at the charity stripe. Michigan converted on 19 of their 22 attempts, while Penn State only had seven shots, sinking six.

With the loss, Penn State is now on a two-game skid and drops to 9-11 on the year and 4-8 in Big Ten play. While Michigan improves to 12-9 overall and 6-5 in conference.

Coach Shrewsberry touched on being a better coach as the season rolls along.

“I got to keep my composure, I got to coach these guys and I didn’t help them tonight,” Shrewsberry said. “I promise I will be [better] for those guys because the way they’re fighting and what they’re doing, they deserve that. I’m going to fight for these dudes.”

Penn State will look to get back on track on Saturday when they hit the road and head to Minneapolis for a date with the Golden Gophers. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.


Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mms7477@psu.edu.

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Matt Scalzo

Second Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a second-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a Basketball Insider, broadcaster and writer for the sports department. With CommRadio he has called football, volleyball, basketball and hockey games. Matt is also the Penn State Women’s Volleyball play-by-play broadcaster calling games on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a part of The Extra Point, a talk show centered around the NFL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).