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Hoops Recap: Wisconsin 61, Penn State 57

Despite questionable refereeing, bad end of game offense ultimately dooms Nittany Lions.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State entered Saturday’s contest again Wisconsin having won five of its last seven games and in a solid position to pick up its first win in program history at the Kohl Center.

While that pursuit started strongly, it ended in an all too familiar fashion with the Badgers downing the Nittany Lions, 61-57.

Penn State started strongly, building a 33-26 lead at the break thanks to strong defense and some quality minutes Rasir Bolton, Josh Reaves and Lamar Stevens.

The second half was a bit of a different story, however, as the Badgers came out of the break on the front foot.

Wisconsin went on a 12-5 run to start the second half as the Nittany Lions struggled to get anything to go offensively in the first six minutes of the half.

From that point on, the two teams went back and forth thanks to intermittent offense and some strange refereeing.

Wisconsin edged out to a narrow lead with under a minute to go, but Penn State had the ball down just 59-57 with 14.1 seconds remaining.

What came next was all too familiar for Nittany Lions fans.

Out of the timeout, Penn State ran a horns set with Lamar Stevens stationed at the elbow. Unfortunately, this allow Wisconsin to surround him with defenders and Ra Bolton’s entry pass was just a bit too heavy, resulting in a turnover.

The Badgers then made one of two from the line to go up 60-57 and Penn State had a chance to tie it with 8.2 seconds left.

Again, however, the Nittany Lions turned it over as Bolton dribbled to the corner and was trapped (and potentially fouled) before the ball went flying out of bounds.

Wisconsin closed it out from there to pick up the victory.

Four Factors

Player of the Game

Random Observations

  • Lamar Stevens is a fantastic college player, but I can’t see how he’d fit in today’s NBA. Stevens is very strong in the post, but a bit undersized and he doesn’t shoot well enough to occupy a wing spot at the next level.
  • Myles Dread needs more shots. Dread is the future of this program and a capable scorer. He should be taking more than four field goal attempts.
  • Year nine and I still couldn’t tell you what Penn State tries to do offensively more often than not. Way too much iso. Way too much stagnation off the ball.
  • Jamari Wheeler is a nightmare for opposing teams on defense.

Looking Ahead

Penn State now has three days off before getting back at it on Wednesday at Rutgers. You can watch that game at 7 p.m. on Big Ten Network.