The 4:31 Drought that Destroyed All Hope for Penn State in 92-82 Loss to No. 4 Ohio State

Story posted February 19, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Penn State didn’t find itself leading much in a key matchup against an Ohio State team projected to be a No. 1 seed come tournament time. But when the Nittany Lions finally did hold a lead, it didn’t last.

14:04 to go in the second half. The Nittany Lions find themselves riding high mostly due to the aerial attack of Seth Lundy. Lundy comes in off the bench and hits two 3-pointers to help the Nittany Lions jump out to their biggest lead of the game. Penn State is up 61-54 after a Sam Sessoms layup, and it ‘s starting to look like an upset is brewing in the BJC. This doesn’t last long.

12:28 to go in the second half. That didn’t take long—the game is tied at 61. The Nittany Lions start settling for jump shots and don’t seem focused on milking the clock. John Harrar, who is turning into a great offensive presence down low this season, is suddenly getting zero touches. Meanwhile, Ohio State has the exact opposite approach; the Buckeyes are driving to the lane. They haven’t gotten a single point on a jump shot during this stretch.

11:29 to go in the second half. It’s a TV timeout, and a chance for Penn State head coach Jim Ferry to change things up and stop a Buckeye run—Ohio State is now on top by three. The Nittany Lions are still relying on jump shots that just aren’t falling. Myreon Jones misses a two-point jumper, while a once-hot Lundy misses a 3 off a steal from Harrar.

9:33 to go in the second half. The run is finally over, but the damage has been done. What was once a 61-54 lead for Penn State has turned into a 69-61 Ohio State lead in just 4 minutes and 31 seconds of game time. The Buckeyes exploded with a 15-0 run, and unlike the Nittany Lions, they won’t take their foot off the gas.

Plain and simple, the Buckeyes took advantage of the Nittany Lions’ biggest weakness. Over the past few games, the Penn State offense has been stagnant, thanks in large part to a barrage of 3-point attempts that haven’t been connecting. In this game, the Nittany Lions shot 28 times from beyond the arc, hitting on 12 of them. A much more efficient Buckeyes team shot over 50% from that mark.

Once the drought was over and the Nittany Lions started driving in the paint again, it was too late. Harrar had been in foul trouble for most of the second half, eventually fouling out and leaving Penn State without its most efficient interior option.

In a 40-minute basketball game, it’s rare that a span of just 4 minutes and 31 seconds can completely derail a team’s chances at winning. But when you combine a 15-0 run the other way with a Penn State team well-versed in blowing games late, it just seems inevitable.

 

Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.