Penn State Basketball Weekly Preview: Wisconsin Rematch and Maryland On Tap
While the Penn State Nittany Lions were just a few minutes away from two ranked wins in one week, it’s hard to argue last week’s results were disappointing.
Penn State opened up the week on the road, and the Nittany Lions almost came away with a win against the ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The game started out rough for Penn State, but a couple steals for buckets to end the first half kept things close.
Seth Lundy was the main spark for the offense in the game, as he finished with 26 points, his highest total since his 32-point performance against VCU. Izaiah Brockington pitched in with 18 points of his own, while John Harrar recorded his second double-double of the season.
The game remained close, and the Nittany Lions had a chance to send it to overtime, but Myreon Jones missed the tying floater with three seconds left. E.J. Liddell sank two free throws, and just like that, it was over, and the Buckeyes won 83-79.
The Nittany Lions then returned home to take on another ranked team in the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers. This one remained close until Penn State managed to pull away late in the game with Harrar being a big reason why.
The Penn State big man put up a career-high 17 points as well as eight rebounds, while Wisconsin big man Micah Potter sat on the bench for most of the game due to foul trouble. A 20-point effort from Myreon Jones and the return of Sam Sessoms—who missed the Ohio State game—also helped lead Penn State to a 81-71 win over the Badgers for the first time since the 2011 Big Ten Tournament.
But the Blue and White have not escaped head coach Greg Gard’s senior-riddled squad just yet, as they will face off again on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. in Madison in a rare back-to-back rematch. Wisconsin is 7-0 against Penn State in the Kohl Center since the 2010 campaign.
After just six points from both Potter and leading scorer D’Mitrik Trice on Saturday, the Badgers will expect more offensive production from their starters. They haven’t lost back-to-back games yet this season.
But the Nittany Lions defended without fouling in the first matchup, producing just 10 personal fouls. Harrar thinks this was a key to their victory and hopes to repeat it.
“Our three words are ‘unselfish,’ ‘tough’ and ‘discipline,’” Harrar said. “In the first half [on Saturday], we were playing Wisconsin’s brand of basketball. When we started playing Penn State basketball, everyone started playing better.”
The Nittany Lions will then head back home to face Maryland on Friday night at 7 p.m. The last time the Terrapins visited the Bryce Jordan Center on Dec. 10, 2019, a nearly sold-out crowd stormed the floor after the Nittany Lions’ 76-69 upset win over the No. 4 team in the land.
This year, Maryland comes in unranked at 9-8 overall. The Terps don’t have a true big man after losing Jalen Smith to the NBA, as their tallest player stands at just 6 feet 8 inches. But their height deficit doesn’t disrupt their stellar defense, as the Terrapins allow the fourth-least points per game in the conference at 67.
However, Penn State averages six more points per contest, as Maryland’s offensive game continues to struggle. Regardless, both squads are eager to remain on the bubble for a chance at an NCAA Tournament bid, meaning it should be a highly competitive matchup.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore 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