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Nebraska 62, Penn State 61: The Dream Is Over

This is the kind of loss Penn State could not afford.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

This one will be short. Penn State lost a game it could easily have won, after having several opportunities to take the lead in the waning seconds of the game, but couldn’t get it done. That sentence is the season in a nutshell for the Lions. Seton Hall, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, and now Nebraska, effectively summarize the difference between a Penn State team that could be talking about seeding in the NCAA tournament, and one that, barring a miracle in the last few games, will have to watch from home.

Poor shooting and porous defense was the catalyst yet again for the Lions, who managed to stay even in the first half even when the Cornhuskers were shooting lights out. The defensive effort in the second half was better, but the Lions simply couldn't make shots, effectively wasting a 5+ minute scoring drought for the Huskers. A different team would have used those five minutes to build a comfortable lead, but alas, we have the Nittany Lions, and the most they could do with the time was go up a point, then relinquish the lead immediately after.

They’d have three different opportunities to win the game after that, and couldn’t do anything with the opportunities. That’s it. That’s the story.

Four Factors Analysis

Look at the numbers above. If Penn State had shot even slightly better than they did this is a blowout. The Nittany Lions actually played their brand of basketball. Fast, aggressive on the glass, turn the other team over, and as a bonus, they even got to the line. But the best way to win games is to actually score the basketball. Penn State, yet again, did not do that.

The John Harrar Penn State Player Of The Game Award

Since Harrar is the only one constantly putting out quality minutes out there (Myreon Jones would be on this list too if not for his clunker against Maryland), from now on, this is what I’m going to name this section. So, the John Harrar Penn State Player of the Game goes to Myles Dread, whose 14 points, 12 of which came on three-point shots, were instrumental in not making this a worse embarrassment than it already was. Dread made the best of his opportunity to start again, and if he keeps playing like this, I don’t see Seth Lundy starting the rest of the season.

Random Observations

It’s always Penn State, Isn’t it? - Rutgers earned their first Big Ten win, and first Big Ten road win, against Penn State. Northwestern earned their third conference win against Penn State last season. And now, Nebraska wins their first conference game in nearly a year against the Nittany Lions. If your program is struggling, make sure they have Penn State on the docket. The Lions will cure whatever ails them.

What a wasted season - In all aspects of the word.

Silver Linings - We don’t need to stress about whether they’ll make the tournament now. They won’t, and that’s A-OK with me.

Looking Ahead

Penn State plays Ohio State on Thursday, unless the game against Michigan gets rescheduled beforehand. You know damn well Penn State’s going to win because why wouldn’t they? Game’s at 8 PM on the B1G Network.