Penn State Basketball dug itself into a first half hole it couldn’t overcome, against former Nittany Lion Trent Buttrick and UMass, falling 81-56 Monday night
A poor first half led to an even worse second half for Penn State Basketball, as the University of Massachsetts crushed the Nittany Lions, 81-56.
Penn State Basketball was down nine points late in the first half, thanks to a bevy of turnovers and likely waiting one possession too many prior to calling a timeout.
However, the Lions finished the half strong to cut the UMass lead to just four, 37-33 despite being outshot from the field (54% to 37% and and 43% to 20%). Strong free throw shooting (11-13) and second chance points kept Penn State Basketball alive.
The Minutemen pushed the lead over 20 numerous times (inluding MULTIPLE instances where Shrewsberry could have called a timeout earlier to stop a run from continuing) featured three offensive fouls on the Nittany Lions and Trent Buttrick owning his former team, including owning transfer Jalanni White off the dribble for an and-one.
Buttrick simply destroyed the ‘hearalded transfers’, perhaps making Nittany Lions fans wish he was still wearing the blue and white. Buttrick finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and two blocks.
Penn State Basketball head coach Micah Shrewsberry was adamant in the off-season to play ‘less risky’ defense, askewing going for steals (such as ‘the climb era’) but this defensive strategy was simply failing the Nittany Lions.
However, multiple Minutemen possessions ended with wide open three point shooters or simple drives to the basket. Shrewsberry’s stated goal of holding teams to under 60 points was ruined … with more than 10 minutes to go in the second half.
The tired Lions were sloppy on defense, continually reaching and putting the Minutemen in the bonus with more than minutes to go.
Hired for his offensive chops (as he was Matt Painter’s ‘offensive coordinator’ at Purdue), the Lions’ offense continued to turn the ball over too many times and outside of Lundy, have no outside shooting threats.
More ‘one on one’ dribbling offensive sets with no passing and no shooting threats combined with poor defense allowed UMass to open up a 22 point lead with 9:20 to go, and the lead peaked at 23 (8:01 to go) as the Lions looked lethargic, only running seven guys until Daillon Johnson finally checked in despite having a completely fresh Caleb Dorsey sitting on the bench (with Greg Lee out with an injury and Jevonnie Scott out with NCAA eligiblity issues).
Dorsey eventually checked in with less than six minutes left, trailing by twenty.
The Nittany Lions were led by Seth Lundy (14 points), Sam Sessoms (12 points) and John Harrar (8 points and 12 rebounds)
There is no other way to write about this game; this is an ugly loss.
Penn State was a 4.5 point favorite going into the game and simply gout out played, out coached and by far the most surprising, simply out hustled against this, frankly, inferior competition.
But, Penn State Basketball saved all three second half timeouts … so, that’s something!
The Nittany Lions return to the Bryce Jordan Center against St. Francis (NY) Thursday night at 7:00 pm.