It started off well. Really well, in fact.
The Nittany Lions went on a Sasa Borovnjak-powered 14-0 run early in the game, prompting Gus Johnson to make Gus Johnson noises. Michigan, as the good teams are meant to do, eventually started to trade buckets and led by two at half. Considering Michigan led by three at the break in State College, the Lions had to be thinking this game was ripe for the taking.
Michigan had other ideas.
The Wolverines blew it open in the second half. Michigan's Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, Nik Stauskas, Jon Horford and Mitch McGary all scored in double figures, and McGary particularly wreaked havoc on the boards. The freshman center had 11 rebounds, setting the tone for the Wolverines who outrebounded the Lions 34-28. An uncharacteristic performance in that category by Penn State led to multiple second chance opportunities for Michigan, and like any good team, they took advantage. The game was busted wide open midway through the second half, but unlike the game two weeks ago there was to be no comeback. John Beilein kept his foot on the gas and this time, the firepower was more than enough to overcome a suddenly misfiring Penn State squad. Same old story.
There were plenty of positives to take away for Penn State. Ross Travis continued his utter dominance over Michigan, racking up another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. D.J. Newbill scored a team-high 20 and Borovnjak added 15 as mentioned above. Jermaine Marshall couldn't replicate his performance from the upset, shooting just 3-13 on his way to eight points (he managed to contribute seven rebounds and six assists, however).
So ends another losing season of Penn State shootyhoops. We'll have more "commemorating" the 2012-13 season in the coming weeks, but for now I'll say this: the way they played at the end of the season, I think there is plenty to be excited about come October. There will be a roster shakeup, and a few curveballs are on the way in that department (there's no inside info here, but looking back at every recent offseason that will certainly be the case) but next year could finally be here.
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