Penn State men’s basketball weekly round-up: A Big Ten roller coaster

The Nittany Lions started last week with a win that could be the peak of the season, but any optimism was quelled by a trip to Columbus on Saturday.

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0)
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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The week began with the highlight of Penn State’s season and the biggest win of Year 1 of the Mike Rhoades era. No. 11 Wisconsin came into the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday night and the Nittany Lions knocked off the Badgers 87-83 to get to 9-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play while handing Wisconsin its first loss in conference play. 

Kanye Clary led the way for the Nittany Lions with 27 points and his backcourt mate, Ace Baldwin Jr. finished with 20 points and five assists. As a duo, Clary and Baldwin appeared to have found their rhythm while Nick Kern, who scored 15 points in 25 minutes, continued to supplant D’Marco Dunn and Puff Johnson in the lineup. 

The Nittany Lions shot 8/20 from beyond the arc, but Wisconsin answered by going 7/16, so the difference in the game wasn’t shooting, it was turnovers. The Badgers gave the ball away 13 times, while Penn State only turned it over six times, a testament to the composure of Rhoades’ veteran point guard, Baldwin. 

It was the first quad 1 win for Penn State, one the team desperately needed, but as is often the case for a first-year head coach, it was followed up by disappointment. 

Another frustrating loss to Ohio State

It wasn’t on the football field, but this trip to Columbus came with a familiar result for the team in blue and white. The Nittany Lions remained hot from three, making 11/24 attempts, but only shot 15/46 from inside the arc. 

Clary and Baldwin both went cold, only combining for 23 points in the game. Clary shot 5/16 from the field and Baldwin went 5-10. By halftime, Ohio State led 33-19. The Buckeyes star freshman guard Bruce Thornton shot 1/9 and finished with just three points, but it didn’t matter because the Buckeyes got a favorable whistle at the Schottenstein Center. 

Penn State only shot five free throws the entire game, and made four, while the Buckeyes went 22/25 from the free-throw line. The Nittany Lions were called for 21 personal fouls, while Ohio State was whistled for just eight. 

Upcoming

The men’s basketball team is off until next weekend, sitting at 9-10 and 3-5 in the conference. The Nittany Lions are 12th in the conference, only ahead of Rutgers and Michigan. 

Penn State will return to action on Saturday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. ET, hosting the 12-6 (3-4) Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Bryce Jordan Center.