Penn State Basketball Weekly Preview: Rematches with Nebraska, Purdue On Tap
Last week definitely wasn’t helpful in terms of Penn State’s tournament hopes. Two ranked battles—both of which were competitive during the second half—ended in heartbreak.
Starting out with the Ohio State game, the Nittany Lions were only down four at the half, and once the second half began, it seemed as though they had a chance. With 14:04 to go, Penn State was up by seven and had all the momentum. But, all of a sudden, with 9:46 to go, the Nittany Lions were down eight and would never get the lead back.
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes escaped with a 92-82 victory. Myreon Jones led the team with 18 points and was one of four Nittany Lions who eclipsed double figures. Izaiah Brockington and Seth Lundy both had 12 points while Jamari Wheeler had 11 of his own.
The Nittany Lions had a chance to redeem themselves a few days later on the road against Iowa. Just hours after over 10 million dollars were raised during THON in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Penn State basketball team looked as though they were going to make Sunday the best in school history, up five against the No. 11 Hawkeyes.
But once the second half started, the Hawkeyes stars took over. Joe Wieskamp went on a roll, and Luka Garza broke the Hawkeyes’ all-time scoring record; both would finish with double-doubles in the team’s 74-68 win. The Nittany Lions’ leading scorer would only have 11 points, that title belonging to both Jones and Brockington. The two took a combined 25 shots.
After the game, it was revealed that anyone with eight or more years of D1 coaching experience can apply to be Penn State’s next head coach, meaning it’s likely that Jim Ferry’s position with the team will end at the conclusion of the season.
Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour has mentioned her confidence in and support of the interim head coach, but no signs show that her confidence is strong enough to bring him back. Barbour said back in late January that her plan would be “to name a head coach immediately following the conclusion of our Penn State men’s basketball season.”
All Ferry can do now is increase his chances of returning with the remaining schedule. First comes 5-15 Nebraska on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in Pinnacle Bank Arena. Just nine days ago on Valentine’s Day, Fred Hoiberg’s Cornhuskers visited the Bryce Jordan Center and upset the Nittany Lions 62-61 when leading scorer Teddy Allen raced to the cup for a layup with 12 seconds remaining to end Nebraska’s 25-game victory drought within the conference.
Since then, the Cornhuskers have lost three games, including a 75-58 defeat to Purdue in which Allen recorded just six points. If Ferry wants to fill out his own application for head coach, and the Nittany Lions want to potentially salvage their season, a dominant victory against a bottomfeeder of the conference could help both causes.
The Nittany Lions then head home Friday to rematch Purdue at 7 p.m. Jones scored a career-high 23 points in Penn State’s first game against the Boilermakers in mid-January, but all five Purdue starters scored double figures to secure an 80-72 victory.
Purdue junior center Trevion Williams recorded a double-double in only 19 minutes, and he has nine total double-doubles this season. But Penn State senior John Harrar had his way in the previous matchup when he scored 14 points and 14 boards for his first career double-double. Both teams run through their bigs, and they could be the difference once again Friday night.
Just two games remain in the regular season after this week as Penn State will begin to prepare for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis starting March 10.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Jack McCune is a junior 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 producer for CommRadio news and is a writer and broadcaster for CommRadio sports. His CommRadio show, Broad Street Bros, airs Thursday nights at 8:45, as he and co-host Andrew Field talk 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.
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism