Penn State Men’s Basketball Falls on the Road to Wisconsin in Low-Scoring Nail Biter
Penn State came into Saturday's game seeking its first win at Wisconsin since 1995. However, the blue and white — rather the black and pink as the Nittany Lions donned their alternate uniforms — came up short in the final moments and fell to Wisconsin, 51-49.
After having its travel plans for Friday delayed, Penn State didn’t hit the road until Saturday afternoon. The team did not land in Madison until 2:30 p.m. CST, after a quick stop at the hotel, the Nittany Lions made it to the Kohl Center a little over an hour before tip-off.
It was a sluggish start, with neither side being able to find the bottom of the bucket. At the first media timeout, the two teams were a combined 2-for-17 from the floor. Penn State held a 3-2 lead, courtesy of a Seth Lundy 3-pointer.
Then following the break the Badgers found their rhythm on both ends of the court to go on a 12-0 run and held the Nittany Lions scoreless for 10 minutes.
The Wisconsin run was stopped when Jalen Pickett hit a runner down the lane with 7:02 left. That basket by Pickett sparked an 8-1 run by Penn State to end the first half.
The Badgers took an 18-13 lead into the break, a season-low for both squads. Penn State shot an abysmal 16.7% from the floor, while Wisconsin shot 25.8%.
However, the second half was a different story, as the two rivals found their stroke. After a barrage of threes, both sides were able to double their first-half total.
One of the nation’s leading scorers, Johnny Davis, was held scoreless for nearly 30 minutes. His first basket put the Badgers up by three, but the Nittany Lions took command with a 40-36 lead into the under-eight-minute timeout.
Wisconsin responded with a 13-0 run out of the break to give them a 49-40 lead with under four minutes left to go. Like they had done all night, the Nittany Lions punched right back.
A 9-0 spurt by Penn State tied the game at 49 with 51 seconds, but a Tyler Wahl layup put the Badgers back on top by a pair.
After a pair of timeouts, the Nittany Lions took the last shot and it was Myles Dread looking to play hero again, but his 3-pointer bounced off the back and the Badgers survived, 51-49.
It was the bench that kept Penn State in it, senior Sam Sessoms nabbed a game-high 14 points. Steven Crowl led all Badgers with 13 points, also Wahl, 12 points, and Chucky Hepburn, 10 points, chipped in double-digit performances.
With the loss, Penn State drops below .500 on the season and 4-7 in Big Ten play, while Wisconsin bounces back and improves to 18-4.
The Nittany Lions will look to bounce back as they return to the Bryce Jordan Center to take on a talented Michigan team. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. on Tuesday from the Bryce Jordan Center.
Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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