Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Can't Complete Comeback, Fall 66-60 To Wisconsin
10 of the last 11 games between Penn State and Wisconsin have been decided by fewer than 10 points.
And on Thursday night the story was no different as the Badgers upended the Nittany Lions 66-60 despite a late Penn State comeback.
This time though it was early mistakes and sloppy play that were the Nittany Lions undoing. Penn State committed 13 total turnovers en route to scoring just nine points in the opening 10 minutes of regulation. The Badgers were far from perfect in their own right, going up 11-3 in the first five minutes of play before letting Penn State claw back to the tune of a 14-9 margin with 10:27 to go in the half.
The sloppy play and questionable offensive performances continued for both teams and Penn State cut the lead to just three points and 20-17 deficit with 4:30 to play in the half. Penn State scored just one point in that final 4:30 and a three at the buzzer extended Wisconsin's lead to 27-18 as the horn sounded.
"The shots weren't falling, Wisconsin they play great defense and that's a credit to them." Forward Brandon Taylor said after the game.
For most part the second half was more of the same, with Penn State scoring just two points in the first three minutes of play in the second half as Wisconsin pushed ahead. The Badgers took a 17 point lead with 13:27 to go in regulation, the largest of the game.
A 10-3 run sparked by Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner cut Wisconsin's lead to just 10 with 11:25 to go but the Badgers once again pushed back and extended the lead to 17 with 7:10 to play.
To Penn State's credit, the Nittany Lions could have folded. But threes by Taylor, Payton Banks and free throws by Shep Garner helped rally the Nittany Lions and turn the massive deficit into a five point game with 3:16 to go down just 52-47.
But like all massive comebacks it only take a few baskets to spoil the dream. In this case it was both teams matching free throws and buckets, Wisconsin would go up 8 with 1:08 to play and Penn State would cut it to five with 40 seconds to play.
A three by Devin Foster made it a three point game with 30 seconds to play but the Nittany Lions would not score again as free throws by Wisconsin and a missed layup by Davis Zemgulis with 11 seconds to go and finally killed off the comeback as the clock expired.
Penn State finished with 13 turnovers and gave up 13 offensive rebounds. The Nittany Lions had four scorers in double figures led by Taylor's 13 second half points. Julian Moore put together a solid 10 rebound, 8 point performance with two blocks and a steal. Shep Garner fouled out with 10 points and four assists.
Wisconsin freshman, Ethan Happ finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.