Penn State Basketball loses heartbreaker to Wisconsin 63-60

Jalen Pickett #22 of Penn State Basketball in action against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Jalen Pickett #22 of Penn State Basketball in action against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

In a game that was extremely close throughout, the Penn State basketball offensive comes up just short, losing 63-60 to the Badgers in Madison.

Penn State basketball had many opportunities to take the lead down the stretch, but just could not take advantage. Cam Wynter missed a short mid-range jumper and, after a great offensive rebound by Pickett, missed a wide open three that would have put Penn State up two with about 2 minutes left.

On the next possession for the Nittany Lions, Jalen Pickett got called for a charge that left some scratching their heads. After another defensive stop coach Shrews drew up a beautiful play to give Funk an open look from three with 10 seconds left that he could not knock down. Wisconsin hit their free throws to put them up 3, and Funk missed a tough curl from deep to improve Wisconsin’s record to 19-0 all time against Penn State in the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin got a huge game from their junior big man Steven Crowl. He finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds giving him his second double-double on the season. Sophomore guard Chucky Hepburn added 3 assists and 13 points including some clutch free throws to push Wisconsin over the finish line. Their defense was amazing almost all night. They were able to limit Penn State’s transition offense by getting back quick off shots. They did a fantastic job limiting Penn State’s attempts from three by playing heavy prevent on shooters like Funk and Lundy as well as playing little to no help from the perimeter on drives and Pickett post ups.

The Nittany Lions shot themselves in the foot tonight with the fouls. They had 21 as a team, and many key contributors had to sit for long stretches because of it. One of those players was Seth Lundy, who only had 2 and did not play much thanks to quick fouls to begin both halves. They had trouble guarding the post all night which just hurt the foul issue more when they tried to get more physical. The offense was sluggish all night and just could never find a string rhythm. The only time the offense really caught a rhythm was in the final few minutes, but they could not capitalize on any of the good looks they generated.

Pickett was once again a bright spot for the Penn State team. He finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. He did all he could personally to try to will this team to a win, but he was never able to get the offense running smoothly. Evan Mahaffey just causes chaos whenever he steps on the floor. Sometimes that is bad chaos as we see with his 4 fouls, but more often than not it is great chaos like his massive slam between two Wisconsin defenders or his huge chase down blocks.

Penn State basketball will look to rebound back home on Saturday, January 21st at 2:15 PM EST. The game is at the Bryce Jordan Center and on the Big Ten Network.