Things haven’t been easy this season for the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Conference. After getting through the non-conference schedule with a respectable record of 9-4, Penn State has now dropped its first five conference games of the season. The most recent defeat came on Tuesday night in Ann Arbor at the hand of the Michigan Wolverines. The home team dominated the entire game, knocking off the Nittany Lions by a score of 80-67.
The Nittany Lions started off horribly in this one and struggled to get things turned around. Penn State committed four turnovers in the first two minutes of the game and went down by eight points. After continuing to trail the entire half, the Nittany Lions went into the break down 13 points. There were few bright spots in the first half, but star guard Tim Frazier did lead the Nittany Lions with 11 points. Donovon Jack added nine points and three rebounds in the half.
Guard D.J. Newbill, who’s struggled in recent games, had just one point in the first 20 minutes of this game.
As bad as it was in the first half, things did get better after the break. Penn State came out much sharper and pulled to within two points just five minutes into the half. The combination of Frazier, Newbill, Jack and Ross Travis came alive for the Nittany Lions and lead the valiant comeback. The team as a whole improved, committing just one turnover in the second half after recording eight in the first half.
However, two points was as close as the Nittany Linos would get. Michigan woke up and eventually proved too much for the upset-minded visitors.
Penn State was led in scoring by both Frazier and Newbill, who poured in 17 points. Newbill did his best to bring the Lions back, scoring 16 points in the second half. However it was too little, too late. The Nittany Lions struggled from the three-point line, making just five-of-19 attempts.
Michigan got a great performance from Nik Stauskas, who scored 21 points, five assists and six rebounds. Derrick Walton Jr. and Glenn Robinson III scored 16 and 15 points respectively. The Wolverines outrebounded the Nittany Lions by a total of 28-26.
Penn State gets another chance at its first Big Ten victory on January 18th in a tough road match-up at Mackey Arena against the Purdue Boilermakers.
Follow VBR Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. on Twitter