Penn State ‘Let its Guard Down’ in 1st Big Ten Game of Season

Story posted December 6, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Austin Groft

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jamari Wheeler contributed nine points to Ohio State’s big road win in his return to the Bryce Jordan Center against his former team.

“He loves this place. So, I know it was an emotional game for him in a lot of ways,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said.

Ohio State won 76-64 with a plethora of players contributing to its offensive attack. Forward Kyle Young led his team in scoring with a season-high 16 points, making all four of his 3-point attempts.

After going down 5-0 in the first minute, the Nittany Lions responded with a strong 12-0 run, which had the Bryce Jordan Center roaring.

This would be the only Penn State lead of the game as Ohio State came out of the timeout with its own 14-3 run.

“I felt like we let our guard down. I tried to warn them in the timeout that the game was not over yet,” Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry said.

Shrewsberry added that they need to play all 40 minutes if they want to be competitive in the Big Ten this year.

Someone who literally played all 40 minutes — starting guard Jalen Pickett. He played the entire game tonight scoring Penn State career high 23 points.

“There’s been a bunch of games in a row where he has guarded the best player on the perimeter. If he plays like this, he gives us a chance every night,” Shrewsberry said.

Penn State held E.J. Liddell, Ohio State’s leading scorer, to 14 points and five rebounds. Shrewsberry was pleased with his team’s defense against Liddell, considering his skillset.

They meant to be aggressive and attack him on offense, which put him into foul trouble late in the game.

Liddell did not score until the seven-minute mark in the first half. This gave the opportunity for other Buckeyes to step it up. A big chunk of their offense came from the perimeter, making seven 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Shrewsberry said the game plan was difficult since Ohio State has so many talented interior forwards alongside great shooters around the perimeter. His team focused its defense on stopping Liddell, which led to the barrage of Ohio State 3’s.

“They are so hard to defend. It’s almost like you got to pick your poison,” Shrewsberry said.

Penn State forward John Harrar got into foul trouble early, which allowed Ohio State to then use its size in the paint. Despite his limited minutes in the first half, he still ended the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.

Penn State will host its next game on Wednesday against Wagner, who was picked in the preseason poll to win the Northeast Conference.

“[Wagner is] going to punch us in the face like any other Big Ten team,” Harar said. “We got to show up the next day and get after. We got to keep buying in.”

Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email