Final: Penn State 71, Michigan 79
Michigan improves to 22-4, (9-4 in the Big Ten) and Penn State falls to 8-17 (0-13). Penn State’s losing streak has reached 13 games. Coach Chambers remains win-less on the road in his two seasons at Penn State. I’m not about to bash Penn State though, far from it actually.
Penn State came in to this game as 22.5 point underdogs, they only lost by 8. Losing to Michigan AT Michigan by less than 10 is basically a win for the Nittany Lions this year. Penn State got plenty of unexpected help from role players and were able to hang around with the mega-talented Wolverines.
D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall, Penn State’s two leading scorers, got into very early foul trouble, and the Nittany Lions had to play the last five minutes of the first half without them. At the end of the first half, the game was tied at 32. Penn State had a nice lead throughout the entire first half, reaching as high as 8 or 9 several times. Sasa Borovnjak was a big reason for that. Penn State ran the give-and-go with Sasa exceptionally today, with the Serbian big man getting wide open looks at the basket on several occasions. Everything was falling for Sasa today, he was making open layups, he was getting and-one opportunities, and he even made all 3 of his free throw attempts. This was the Borovnjak that we have all seen on occasion that seems to go into too many month long hibernations.
I’m sure Ross Travis and Nick Colella won Pat Chambers’ “attitude” award for the day, with each of them having outstanding games. Ross had a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, including several big shots to keep Penn State within striking distance in the first half. Colella, the walk-on captain, had a stat-sheet stuffing game, with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He hit 2-4 from behind the arc, and made his only free throw attempt after an and-one layup. Penn State’s leading scorer, Newbill, had a low scoring game, by his standards, going for 11 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds, on 4-12 shooting.
Michigan was led by that one kid that once de-committed from Penn State, I’m not going to say that jerk’s name on here, if you really don’t know who I’m talking about, check the Penn State at Michigan preview post. This kid scored 29 points, had 5 assists, and zero turnovers, on 9-16 shooting. The Wolverines also got help from two standout freshman, Glenn Robinson III (GR3 on this post)and Nick Stauskas. GR3 went 6-6 from the floor, including 5 dunks, and 9-11 from the free throw line, to score 21 points with 10 rebounds. Nick Stauskas scored 18 points on 5-9 shooting. Michigan’s second leading scorer was pretty quiet today, mostly because everyone else was scoring, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 8 points on 3-11 shooting, with 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
Penn State out-rebounded the Wolverines 33-23, but the game was won in the turnover battle. Michigan had 6 turnovers, while Penn State committed 12. Overall, I think this should be a good day to be a Penn State basketball fan, it’s another loss, but it’s the second game in a row that the team played above expectations and actually gave the opposing team a fight.
Penn State’s next game is at Illinois on Thursday, February 21st, at 8:15 PM.