On paper, this game looked the very definition of mismatch. The Michigan Wolverines came in having spent the entire season as a top 5 club with a potent offense, lead by arguably the top backcourt in the country. Penn State is winless in the Big 10, has struggled practically all season to score, and is missing their All American point guard. However, as the saying goes, that is why they play the games.
The Lions got off to a fast start, using an 12-1 run to open up a 17-8 lead early in the first half. They would hold that lead until the final minute, when Trey Burke (yes, that guy) hit a running floater to tie the game up at 32 going to the half. The first half effort from PSU was made even more impressive with leading scorers D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall limited with foul trouble. Marshall had a quick start that lead to 9 first half points, but it was Ross Travis and Sasa Borovnjak that paced the Lions attack with 7 points each. All told, PSU shot nearly 46% from the field, while holding Michigan to 36%, and just 20% from three, forcing the Wolverines into several tough shots.
Michigan came out of halftime and scored the first 6 points of the half, but PSU would rally to score the next 6 to tie things back up. In fact, over much of the second half, the Wolverines would appear to be finally pulling away, only to have PSU answer back to close things back up. The Lions would never take the lead, but would also never trail by more than 9 points. Ultimately, timely shooting, and several thunderous ally oop dunks by Glenn Robinson III were just too much for the Lions, not to mention a season high 29 points by he who shall remain nameless. The freshman Robinson ended the game with 21 points and 10 boards, and Nick Stauskas added 18.
PSU got a second straight productive game from Borovnjak with 17 points. Marshall added 17 more, while grabbing 7 rebounds. Ross Travis ended with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Newbill had 11 of his own, plus 5 assists. Nick Colella played big minutes as well, scoring 9 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds, and just 1 turnovers, while running the point for long stretches in the 1st half.
The Lions return to action Thursday night at Illinois at 8:15 on BTN.
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