Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Hoping to Learn from Close Loss to Wisconsin
As the horn blared throughout the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., Penn State guard DJ Newbill wiped a tear from his face as the Nittany Lions' comeback, cutting a 14-point deficit to only one, fell short in a 60-51 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday night.
"I think they were disappointed," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said Sunday. "Any time you lose, there is hurt. The reason there is hurt is because you work so hard, you put all your effort into it. There were guys crying. We let one get away and we've got to learn how to win on the road."
Trailing 50-49 with just less than three minutes to play gave Penn State a real shot at a marquee win to open conference play.
Four empty offensive possessions and two turnovers in the final minutes ended any hope of an upset. Even so, the missed shots were shots Chambers was happy to see his players take.
"End-of-game situations are something that we work on all the time," Chambers said. "DJ got a great shot that he had hit all second half, and it just went in and out. Unfortunately we had too many turnovers. Give Wisconsin credit. The way they play you, they force you into making mistakes. Hopefully we've learned from that, we've worked on it, we've watched some film and we can continue to clean that stuff up."
Still, in the 11 meetings between Penn State and Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, the nine-point loss falls well under the 15-point average margin of defeat that the Nittany Lions have accumulated over the years. Without All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier, and without a great amount of experience among Penn State's roster, there is something to be said about the Nittany Lions' performance on Thursday.
However, so close to victory, Chambers is focused on making that next step, the one that defines the difference between winning and losing. It will come at home Monday night against No. 5 Indiana, the preseason No. 1 team in the country.
"We were on the road, and we're not a great road team," Chambers said. "I thought we could be in the game and we went down 14 and I felt like we needed to get our legs underneath us and feel good about ourselves.
"Bo even said it, that your guys' shots started to fall and our defense picked up and we created some turnovers. There's no moral victory though, we have a chance to beat a team like Wisconsin on the road and we've got to start making those plays and getting it done."