Penn State: Another Game, Another Close Loss. How Many Times Can One Team Do It?

Story posted February 9, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

It’s become a common trend for Penn State basketball this season: keeping the game close until the very end before blowing it late.

Although in games past it was Penn State that blew the lead, in this Michigan State game, it was the Spartans who led most of the way. It wasn’t until an impressive second half where the Nittany Lions took their first lead since it was 6-5.

Penn State held a four-point lead with just three minutes left before everything went wrong. Izaiah Brockington and Myreon Jones went cold, offensive rebounds went the Spartans way, and the home team was getting to the line. John Harrar fouled three times during this span.

During the final possessions, Penn State had two chances to tie things up, but both times, they went for the win via Myles Dread 3-pointers. The first was in and out, and the second was way off the mark, followed up by a Harrar tip in which didn’t count as time had expired.

Penn State head coach Jim Ferry showed frustration after his squad lost another game that went down to the wire.

“We executed well, the guys are devastated right now,” Ferry said. “On the road, we’re coming up one play short.”

Those struggles on the road Ferry mentioned have taken place all season long. At Ohio State, the Nittany Lions had the ball with a chance to tie—but Myreon Jones missed the tying floater, which allowed the Buckeyes to hit the game sealing free throws.

It was a similar scenario on the road against Indiana; Sam Sessoms had the chance to win the game but his 3-pointer was blocked. Once the game went into overtime, Izaiah Brockington missed a game-tying shot, ending it with an Indiana victory.

That wasn’t even the most famous overtime collapse we’ve seen from Penn State this season. Against Seton Hall, the Nittany Lions dominated the start of the game, even having a 19-point lead at one point. The collapse began when Seton Hall took its first lead with 14:55 to go in the second half The teams went back and forth and with 45 seconds left the game, ending up tied at 84. Both Sessoms and Jones had chances to win, but they couldn’t convert, and the Nittany Lions would lose in overtime.

Whether it’s a game where Penn State blows a huge lead like the Illinois or Seton Hall game or a game where they lose close like against Purdue or Michigan State, close losses have followed this team like a loyal dog. What’s even more painful is that a majority of the team’s losses this season have come down to the final seconds. While there are some success stories like the Rutgers and Northwestern games, we have seen this story a lot this season, and this Michigan State result just adds onto a long list of end-game collapses.

The Nittany Lions will look to turn their late game misfortunes around against Nebraska, as they return to the BJC on Sunday.


Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email