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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Beat Michigan For Big Road Victory

by on January 22, 2020 9:30 PM

The season is long, and Penn State's three-game losing streak appears to be a thing of the past following a crucial 72-63 victory over Michigan Wednesday night in Ann Arbor for the Nittany Lions' second-straight victory.

If there was anything to learn from Penn State's win, it's that the Nittany Lions (14-5, 4-4) are in fact a team that can beat you with multiple players. In the first half it was Lamar Stevens who paced Penn State with 14 first half points as the Nittany Lions and Wolverines (11-7, 2-5) traded runs and cold spells. All the same, it was Penn State ahead 37-28 at halftime thanks in large part to a 14-0 Nittany Lions run.

Of course Penn State's depth is not a new thing. The Nittany Lions rolled through the non-conference schedule with nearly every player contributing every night. Penn State's scoring prowess turned it into the kind of team that could, and did, blow lesser opponents out of the gym.

In Big Ten play the challenges have been taller, and cold shooting slumps have regulated a once white-hot offense into hopeful and tentative shooting sprees.

But if a weekend victory over Ohio State was proof of anything, it was that this team can shoot its way out of a three-game slump, lighting up the Buckeyes and never looking back.

And on Wednesday the offense may not have been quite as explosive, but it came from everywhere and had a defense to back it up. Michigan ended the night shooting just 35% from the field.

In the second half it was Curtis Jones Jr who exploded for 18 points, a barrage of threes, drives and timely shots that kept Michigan's runs limited in their effectiveness. The Wolverines would get within seven, only to see Jones or another Nittany Lion respond. Myreon Jones had 16, Myles Dread eight to his name. Where so many Big Ten road games have gone to the host this season, Penn State found a way to counterpunch the inevitable swings in momentum and never lost the lead in the process.

Overall, four different players have led Penn State in scoring by the game's end in Big Ten play. Izaiah Brockington in Philadelphia, Mike Watkins against Maryland, Lamar Stevens a handful of times and Myreon Jones on two occasions as well.

A point shy of that mark himself (Stevens leading Penn State with 19 points) Jones Jr would have made the fifth player to lead Penn State in scoring during Big Ten play just eight games into the conference slate.

And that's the real story of Wednesday's victory. Sure, the Nittany Lions picked up win No. 14 overall and No. 4 in Big Ten play, but once again it was a group effort, and once again someone else stepped up when the occasion called for it.

The season will continue to have its ups and downs, but Penn State knows that it has the weapons, and sometimes knowing is half the battle in actually doing.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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