It didn’t take long for Wisconsin to pull away. A 10-point halftime lead grew to twenty early in the second half.
Coach Pat Chambers, who sat this one out while serving a one-game suspension, will rejoin the team on Thursday when it travels to Nebraska. With the loss, the Lions stand at 7-8 with an 0-4 conference record. It won’t get any easier from here as Penn State’s schedule is brutal for the next four games; at Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, at Minnesota.
How It Happened
The teams were tied 7-7 at the first timeout. Ethan Happ started out slow for Wisconsin, hitting just 2 of his first 8 shots with Mike Watkins draped all over him. For the next four minutes the teams went cold, checking in at 11-7 with 11:59 to go in the first half, Wisconsin leading.
Penn State had 8 turnovers in the first 9 minutes. Wisconsin got hot over the next few minutes and brought the lead out to 22-11 with just under 7 minutes on the clock. The Badgers stretched the lead to 16 before Lamar Stevens answered with a basket and a foul shot.
Myles Dread hit a 3-pointer and Stevens followed with a layup and Wisconsin called timeout with 2 minutes to go before the half, leading 31-21. Rasir Bolton hit a layup to cut it to 8 and then Wisconsin broke the run at the buzzer to take a 33-23 lead to the half.
The Badgers began the second half with an 8-point run, for a 41-23 lead in less than 2 minutes. The Lions called timeout to slow the momentum. It didn’t help much, as the lead grew to 49-27 a few minutes later.
Penn State made a little bit of a run, cutting it to 53-37 with ten minutes to play. Wisconsin maintained control the rest of the way.
Turnovers doomed the Lions from the start. In a game with a ranked opponent, a double-digit turnover disadvantage will not get it done.
Player of the Game
Stevens was taken out with 7 minutes to play once he picked up his third foul. It was probably just as well. Stevens was beginning to lose his temper, with the game getting out of hand and some non-foul calls that he was upset with. There wasn’t much more that the junior forward could have done to help his team, so it was good to see coach Urgo sit him down so that he didn’t do something negative during a blowout game.
Stevens came back in shortly after having regained his composure.
- Penn State has a lot of talent at the guard position but unfortunately they are all either young or lack ball handling ability. Josh Reaves is a great guard but his specialty is not in handling the ball. Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread are solid players and future stars, but their lack of handles hurt the team early.
- Wisconsin led the turnover battle 11-3 at the half. Penn State settled down in the second half, turning the ball over just once in the first ten minutes. By the end of the game the advantage was 16-7 for the Badgers.
Penn State will travel to Nebraska for a 9 p.m. game on Thursday night. The Huskers are always a tough opponent at their place, and are coming off a loss on the road against Iowa. The game will be televised on ESPN2.