If you can sum up 14 straight losses in a venue in 40 minutes of basketball, the Nittany Lions did it tonight in their hard fought 60-51 defeat in Wisconsin’s Kohl Center, a place they have never tasted victory.
The Lions fell behind quickly 6-0, and looked on their way to the type of lopsided defeat that many expected, and has often been the case in Madison. A funny thing happened on the way to the blowout though. Jermaine Marshall got the Nitts on the board, and the defense held to get into the first TV timeout at just a 6-2 deficit, when it could have been so much worse. Jon Graham, Marshall, and D.J. Newbill scored 3 straight field goals out of the timeout to put PSU up 8-6. PSU never seemed to find a consistent rhythm on offense, as they turned the ball over 10 times against Bo Ryan’s physical defense. PSU would hold their final lead of the game at 16-14 with about 7 minutes left, before Wisconsin would end the half on a 15-2 run. Marshall lead the Lions with 8 points in the first half, but also was guilty of 3 of the 10 team turnovers.
Wisconsin controlled much of the second half, leading by as many as 13 with 12 minutes remaining. But Penn State was not about to get run out of the building again. The Lions would go on a 9-0 run, capped by a Brandon Taylor 3-pointer to trim the lead to 40-36 with 10 minutes left in the game. PSU would continue to hang around, but a Mike Bruesewitz three to put the Badgers up 49-40 seemed to spell the end the hopes of ending the streak, but the Lions would have none of it. They responded with a 7-0 run of their own to get with in 2, and would get to 1 at 50-49. That, however, would be as close as they could get, as the Badgers would close the game on a 10-2 run. Marshall lead the way with 19 points, and Newbill added 12.
As is often the case in the Kohl Center, Wisconsin had the advantage at the charity stripe, but a 26-1 discrepancy should raise a few eyebrows. Penn State was lucky to be in the game, as the Badgers only shot 50% from the foul line. An off night for Wisconsin at the 3-point line (3 for 17) didn’t hurt either. PSU does deserve credit for their perimeter defense, which was a huge concern coming into the game.
The Lions are off this weekend, and will return to action Monday night at 7:00 against #5 Indiana at the Jordan Center.
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