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UMass 81, Penn State 56: Career Night For Buttrick

Former Nittany Lion went off against his old team.

NCAA Basketball: Youngstown State at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful head coaching debut, Micah Shrewsberry’s crew headed up to Massachusetts to take on a UMass squad looking for a nice early season scalp against a Big Ten foe.

In what was a fast-paced first half that saw six ties and nine lead changes, Penn State’s lackluster-at-times shooting effort was helped out by 12 second chance points. Unfortunately, UMass brought their three-point shooting effort with them, knocking down six of their 14 attempts in the first half, while PSU struggled, hitting only two of their ten attempts from downtown. Despite valiant efforts from Sam Sessoms, Jalen Pickett, and Seth Lundy, the Minutemen held a 37-33 lead at the half.

The issues of the first half remained for Penn State, but UMass continued to shoot lights out. The Minutemen opened up the second half on a 20-4 run, and the closest the game would ever be after that was 16, when Penn State made it 60-44 partway through the latter half.

The onslaught was led by no other than former Nittany Lion Trent Buttrick. The forward went 3 of 8 from the three-point line, 8 of 9 from the free throw line, and overall made life a living hell for his former roommate John Harrar.

Honestly speaking, there’s no better way to describe Buttrick’s performance than this tweet right here:

As it always seems to be the case, whenever Penn State faces a former player, they seem have a career night against the Nittany Lions. Tonight, it was Buttrick’s turn.

Four Factors Analysis

As much as Buttrick stole the show in Amherst, the rest of team for UMass did a tremendous job, and nowhere is this more apparent than that eFG percentage. The Minutemen shot pretty well, going 13 of 29 from beyond the arc (a 44.8% clip). As much as they tried, Penn State simply couldn’t keep up.

Penn State got a ton of points off second chance opportunities, which is probably the only positive in this game. Both teams made it to the line at a relatively even rate, with the Minutemen edging the Lions. Last, but not least, the turnovers killed all momentum in this game, and it’s something that needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible if Penn State has any hopes to remain in these games.

Player of the Game

In a night where everyone played so poorly, the nod needs to go to the most consistent guy on the floor, and the was Seth Lundy. With 14 points, 4 rebounds, an assist, and fewer turnovers than the point guard, Lundy gets the nod in this disaster of a night.

Random Observations

Burn the tape - This is Micah Shrewsberry’s second game as a head coach, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was simply an off night for the Lions. It so happened that it came on the road, against a motivated team, and one that had a former player on the roster with something to prove.

Turnovers bad - As mentioned earlier, the Lions will need to clean up the turnovers if they have any hope of staying competitive in games. Penn State had 15 in this game, and could have had even more.

Three pointers good - And Penn State sorely needs them. Lundy was the only player to make more than one, and the Lions went 4 of 15 in the category. That’s not going to cut it most nights, and it certainly didn’t cut it here.

Looking Ahead

Penn State has a quick turnaround as they return to State College to face St. Francis (NY) on Thursday, November 18. Game is at 7 PM on Big Ten Plus ($).