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Nebraska 70, Penn State 64

The Nittany Lions fought hard in Lincoln, but much like death, Penn State hoops ineptitude eventually comes for us all.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Can you believe they let me cover a hoops game?!

Those fools.

And it wasn’t even a bad hoops game as Penn State hoops go! The Nittany Lions fought tooth and nail before falling late to the Huskers, 70-64.

How It Happened

Both teams started slow offensively and five minutes into the game Nebrasketball held slim lead at 8-6.

Things got rolling a bit for Penn State with a 7-0 run mid-way through the first half to put the Nittany Lions up 19-14.

Penn State did a solid job of controlling the tempo in the first half and led 24-23 with five minutes remaining in the half.

Despite the best efforts of Josh Reaves, who was everywhere for the Nittany Lions in the first half, the Huskers took a narrow 33-31 lead in the break.

A 6-0 personal run by Reaves early in the second half gave Penn State a four-point lead, but Nebraska kept chipping away and tied it at 44 with 13:30 left in the contest.

The Huskers took the lead not long after, but the Nittany Lions stayed within a couple possessions throughout the ball game.

A Reaves triple with two minutes remaining pulled PSU within one at 62-61.

What happened next was peak Penn State basketball.

The Nittany Lions played strong defense and forced Nebraska’s Glynn Watson Jr. into a late-clock heave over Mike Watkins. Watson’s trifecta caught iron twice before hitting the backboard and dropping in to extend the lead to 65-61 and Lamar Stevens was called for a foul away from the ball to give the Huskers another possession.

While Nebraska failed to score on the extra possession, PSU never got back within four and Nebraska closed it out to keep the Nittany Lions winless in Big Ten play.

Four Factors

Lack of efficiency with second-chance opportunities did Penn State in here. That and an absolute black hole of bench ensured that Pat Chambers ball club kept the 0 in the B1G win column.

Player of the Game

Reaves showed why some think he can be a nice second-round value pick for somebody in this summer’s NBA Draft. His defense, as usual, was solid, but it was his shooting that was impressive. Reaves was 4 of 7 from deep and his shooting prowess opened up driving lanes later in the game.

Random Thoughts

  • The Nittany Lions certainly haven’t quit. It’s still maddening to watch Penn State in the half court on offense, but its effort on the boards and getting after loose balls is certainly commendable.
  • Jamari Wheeler is an incredible athlete but he really needs to improve just about everything he does on the court. John Wooden used to say “be quick, but don’t hurry.” Jamari seems to hurry everything.

Up Next

Penn State welcomes Michigan State to the BJC on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The Spartans are 14-2 overall, 6-2 in conference, and ranked No. 6 in the nation. Maybe watch the NFC Divisional Round game between the Eagles and Saints instead?