Penn State Basketball could not keep up with the shooting from Nebraska, never having a lead as they fall 72-63 on Sunday afternoon.
Nebraska jumped on the Nittany Lions early, getting a 13-point lead after 10 minutes. Thanks to some great shooting by Lundy Penn State was able to cut it to a 9-point lead heading into halftime with a score of 37-28. The Nittany Lions played a much more efficient second half with a refined offense, even cutting the lead to just 3 points on a Funk three with about 9 minutes to play. In the end Nebraska always got a timely bucket to cut a Penn State run just short. Most of these buckets came from a career game out of Keisei Tominaga.
Tominaga, a junior guard, scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes and kept the scoring going all game. He finished with 30 points, and he knocked down 5 threes. Supporting Tominaga’s strong performance was freshman guard Jamarques Lawrence, who had 11 points and 9 rebounds, and senior big man Derrick Walker, who finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Nebraska spread the ball around all day ending with 17 assists on 27 buckets. This great passing kept the Nittany Lions off balance on defense all day and prevented them from being able to lock in on Tominaga. On defense they ran a simple system, hedging very hard on screens and sending double teams to Pickett whenever he steps inside the three-point line. This packed the paint all night and, despite shooting well from deep, Penn State’s scoring inside the arc was abysmal.
Penn State’s big 3 came to play despite the loss. Pickett ended with 15 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds, Lundy had 24 points on 8 made threes and 7 rebounds, and Funk finished with 14 points with 4 threes. No one else could get it done on the offensive end for Penn State. Most disappointing was Myles Dread who, unlike Funk, was not able to snap his cold road shooting streak. Penn State’s new starting front court of Mikey Henn and Caleb Dorsey only played a combined 18 minutes, all in the first half. Coach Shrewsberry experimented with a lot of lineups today to find something that works which included a lot of Kebba Njie who has seemingly tired a corner on defense. He is much more engaged on the boards and his positioning has improved significantly. He still has to work out some of the issues on offense, not all of them his fault, but I believe he’s done enough to earn a spot back with the starters.
We will see what that starting lineup looks like on Wednesday, February 8th when Penn State Basketball take on Wisconsin at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game tips off at 8:30 PM EST and will be on the Big Ten Network.