Penn State men’s basketball vs No. 1 Purdue: game grades

Story posted February 2, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Grant Sheets

Big Ten basketball fans are beginning to pick up on the drill; if the Penn State Nittany Lions win a conference game, count on them to drop the next one.

The Nittany Lions' 80-60 loss to No. 1 Purdue knocked their Big Ten record down to 5-6, leaving the blue and white without consecutive conference victories through 11 games this season.

While expectations surrounding Penn State entering Wednesday’s contest were rather low as a 10-point underdog, another lackluster second-half performance will continue to leave a cloud of doubt around the team’s ability to improve upon its past mistakes.

Before moving onto a weekend dance with Nebraska, let’s review Penn State’s game grades from its blowout loss to the Boilermakers.

Offense: C-

As a team that relies heavily on its offense, compiling 60 points will rarely lead to a conference victory. In fact, the Nittany Lions have yet to win a Big Ten matchup this season while scoring less than 74 points.

With 29 points on the board, Penn State’s offense provided just enough scoring for it to remain within striking distance, trailing by only 6 heading into the locker room.

Senior forward Mikey Henn provided an unforeseen spark, leading the Nittany Lions with 11 points after the initial 20 minutes of action.

However, history proved to repeat itself in West Lafayette, as the second-half struggles hit the Nittany Lions harder than ever.

On the wrong side of a 21-2 run to begin the second half, Penn State’s offense showed zero signs of life out of the locker room — a common theme for head coach Micah Shrewsberry’s squad this season.

While production began to pick up towards the end of the contest during a 9-1 run, every bit of damage done to that point had already proven to be lethal.

Defense: D+

To give Penn State the benefit of the doubt, there truly haven’t been many teams this season that have posed a major threat to Purdue on the defense side of the ball. Then again, the Boilermakers practically score at will in their 80-point outing.

Junior center Zach Edey did to Penn State what he does best: wreak havoc. In what seemed to be an effortless performance, Edey put up a casual double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

With that said, Edey’s presence spoke well beyond the state sheet; the big man opened up a plethora of opportunities in a career night for junior forward Mason Gillis.

Penn State had no answers for Gillis on Wednesday, who exploded for a team-high 29 points and a Mackey Arena record of 9 3-pointers.

All in all, there truly weren’t many positives to take away from this drubbing for the Nittany Lions.

Coaching: D+

Another night, another head-scratching performance from Shrewsberry’s Nittany Lions, who now face an uphill battle to get back into the mix in the Big Ten.

The aforementioned second-half implosion was easily the largest concern of the night, as Penn State came out onto the floor from the intermission without any steam.

After a fantastic first-half scoring output, Henn was severely underutilized in the final stretch of action — especially given the lack of production from the remainder of the lineup.

Without an identifiable plan of attack or defensive adjustments to account for the hot hand in Gillis, Shrewsberry and the coaching staff left a lot to be desired with Wednesday's gameplan.

Grant Sheets is a sophomore majoring in public relations. To contact him, please contact him at