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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Fall in Heartbreaker to No. 13 Ohio State

Penn State men’s basketball (5-7, 2-6 Big Ten) lost a heartbreaker to No. 13 Ohio State (13-4, 7-4 Big Ten) 83-79 Wednesday night in Columbus. Seth Lundy led the way with 26 points, 17 of those coming in the first half.

Izaiah Brockington chipped in with 18 points, and John Harrar had a double-double with a career high 15 points plus 10 rebounds.

How It Happened

Ohio State got off to a fast start while Penn State could not make a basket. Izaiah Brockington was able to get the Nittany Lions’ first points of the game three minutes in.

The Nittany Lions got into foul trouble as well, which doesn’t mix well when they can’t make a basket. The defense wasn’t great either, giving up a couple wide open threes. Seth Lundy hit a three to slow down the momentum and Brockington scored a nice midrange shot as well.

Ohio State was playing good defense, and even though Brockington kept making shots, the rest of the team could not. Turnovers and fouls continued to be a major problem for the team.

Lundy and Myreon Jones scored on two midrange shots, and John Harrar caught a lucky break as the ball rolled in. Suddenly, Penn State was heating up.

The Nittany Lions were able to get a big time steal and Myles Dread hit a wide open three. But two straight careless turnovers followed, though Lundy hit a big time three to keep the score close.

The Buckeyes got a big basket in the paint, but Harrar followed that with a second chance bucket and made free throw. The Buckeyes weren’t phased though, as they hit a big three point shot as the shot clock expired.

After the media timeout, Lundy responded with a major three point basket. Ohio State then scored six straight points and the momentum instantly changed. But Lundy wasn’t giving up, drawing a foul as he made a basket. He made the free throw. 

Jamari Wheeler got back to back steals and layups as the first half ended, and Penn State went into the locker room trailing 43-39.

Jones kicked off the scoring for the Nittany Lions in the second half with a three point shot. On the next possession, Harrar got to the free throw line and made both of them. Suddenly, Penn State was only down by two.

Lundy was able to draw a foul and made both free throws tied the game. Jones then hit a big three that gave the Nittany Lions the lead. The Buckeyes responded fast, however, and the game tied back up.

Harrar affected the pass on the defensive end, which lead to Brockington scoring on a fast break layup. He drew a foul on that play, but he missed the free throw. Ohio State would immediately tie it up on the other end.

Lundy and Harrar then scored on back-to-back offensive possessions in the paint and suddenly the Nittany Lions had the momentum. Wheeler got a little banged up, but it didn’t shake Penn State as Brockington hit a big shot to extend the lead.

Both teams traded buckets but Brockington and Harrar pushed the lead with big time shots. Harrar was big from the free throw line, while Brockington hit a wide open three.

The Buckeyes kept creeping back, but Lundy made some key free throws to keep the lead intact. But Penn State could not hit a field goal down the stretch, and Ohio State was right there in striking distance.

Ohio State took the lead, but Dread hit a wide open three to retake the lead. The Buckeyes were quick to respond though, as they hit a three as a response. Lundy then responded with three of his own, and the back and forth scoring continued.

The Buckeyes took the lead with two free throws, and Lundy tried take the lead coming out of a timeout, but missed the shot. Penn State then forced a shot clock violation, giving it a chance to hit a big last second bucket.

Penn State had a chance to tie the game, but the ball did not go in and Ohio State got the rebound and the foul. It made both free throws and Penn State lost 83-79.

Takeaways

  • Seth Lundy popped off. He scored a career high 17 first half points and finished with 26 points. He singlehandedly kept Penn State in the game in the first half. If he can continue to play this dominant, Penn State will be in a good position moving forward.
  • The team felt the loss of Sam Sessoms. Sessoms, who is out indefinitely due to an ankle injury, is a huge part of the offense in the paint. His bruising drive-in ability is what makes the offense more potent, and that means John Harrar has a lot more responsibility to create offense down there.
  • Penn State showed a lot of heart by fighting to stay in this game. The first five minutes made it seem like Ohio State was going to blow out the Nittany Lions but the game went down to the wire. That says a lot about the heart and soul of this team, even though they lost.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions return home to play No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday, January 30. The game tips off at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.