Freshly hung over from yet another loss, Penn State hopelessly sought to turn things around against a surging Purdue team fresh off a statement win over Michigan State. It turned out to be a very special episode of The Carsen Edwards Show, as Purdue’s superstar would go on to score a nearly career-high 38 points (his actual career-high is 40 points at Illinois in February 2018). It also turned out to be an epic three-point shooting contest, in which the two teams would connect on a combined 28 treys.
Edwards started out nailing five of his first seven attempts from downtown, and at one point had more points himself (17) than PSU did overall. Purdue built a lead as high as 17 points but PSU would end up responding, shutting down the Boilers defensively while Lamar Stevens, Rasir Bolton, and Josh Reaves would help the Nittany Lions gradually claw their way back, cutting t the Purdue lead all the way down to three points before Purdue pushed it back to six with a banked-in buzzer-beater as the first half expired (because, of course).
The second half saw Purdue remain ahead, but not boosting their lead any higher than eight points, with both teams even being tied a few different times. With just 44 seconds left however, Penn State would finally break through and take the lead on a baseline jumper by Bolton to give the Lions a 85-83 advantage. Edwards would misfire on a three-point attempt, and PSU rebounded with just an eight-second differential between the game and shot clock. Draw a foul, hit both free throw attempts, and the Boilers would truly be on the ropes, and us suffering PSU hoops fans could actually be happy for a night.
Of course, this being PSU hoops, they just had to let us down in classic fashion: Stevens would lose control of the ball driving to the hoop on what should’ve been a foul call on Purdue, giving up possession to the Boilers with 13 seconds left. Sure enough, Mr. Edwards would come up clutch once again, tying the game on a layup with five seconds left. Rasir Bolton had a decent look from the right wing of the perimeter, but his potential game-winning three was blocked, sending the game to overtime.
The overtime period saw Edwards get fouled and nail a three-pointer in the process, just a minute and half into overtime. That turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Purdue would end up cruising to a 99-90 victory. The Nittany Lions remain winless in Big Ten play at 0-10 and are now halfway to the improbable 0-20 Big Ten record.
Four Factors Analysis
Purdue had a truly #nice efficient FG%, thanks in part to a ridiculous 16-for-29 from downtown. Edwards was 8-for-15 from downtown, while teammate Ryan Cline went 6-for-7. PSU held a strong 18-5 offensive rebounding advantage, although that may have to do with missing more shots than Purdue did. PSU also got to the line 20 more times than Purdue, but could only connect on 30 of their 41 attempts, as opposed to the Boilers’ 19-for-21.
Player(s) of the Game
If this were the Solid Verbal podcast, we would be cueing up the “in a losing effort” music for Lamar Stevens once again. Him and Rasir Bolton were instrumental in keeping PSU within striking distance and even briefly taking the lead towards the end of regulation. Alas, it was all for naught.
Really, I’m not sure what else to say at this point. I may be done with Pat Chambers, but I was sure as hell rooting hard for this team to get over the hump, and tonight’s result made me sick for the players who clearly still have their hearts in this, and for us long-suffering PSU hoops fans who were hoping to have something to cheer for. The only silver lining is that there are only ten more games left, plus the Big Ten Tournament, before one of the most interesting off-seasons in nearly a decade begins.
Penn State hits the road next Monday night (Feb. 4th) to take on Northwestern. That game will tip-off at 8:00 PM ET on FS1.