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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Stall Out, Fall 70-61 To Northwestern

by on January 20, 2018 4:25 PM

There are probably two different stats that best describe Penn State's loss to Northwestern on Saturday afternoon.

The first Shep Garner was hot from the field in the opening 20 minutes going 5-of-6 from the beyond the arc. And yet the Nittany Lions led 35-33 at the break.

The second, Penn State didn't make a basket from the field of play in the final 10:37 of the game. This, despite shooting the lights out of the gym in the first half, and playing decently well rounded basketball for the first 10 minutes or so of the second half.

In total the stat would read a shooting slump of 1-of-13, and no points in the final 2:13 of regulation.

So this game was every game, the Nittany Lions at times looked like the team that they could be but finished the game as the team that they are. A collection of some of the program's most talented players to date seemingly lacking a belief that it was going to go their way. Mike Watkins would attempt an astonishingly low two shots all afternoon while Shep Garner finished off the game having gone 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. Josh Reaves still absent for hazy academic reasons.

With 14:27 to go in the first half, Garner's efforts would give Penn State a nine point lead that predictably did not last. By the half that lead was just two. The stats in the second half tell their own story, one that sees an effective offense die in its tracks and Penn State make just seven baskets all half.

Perhaps most of all as the final minutes drew near and Northwestern marched out to a two possession lead the question was simply if this Penn State team believed it could win, and little about those final minutes suggested that they did. 

Which might be the biggest loss of all. The Nittany Lions will probably win again because they aren't the type to stop trying all together, and even on their worst day they're still in most games, but the window opening and hope splashing back inside? That day might be passing this team by.

And only time will tell what, or who, might be going with it.

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