The first half could best be described as a shooting clinic on display from both teams, as they ended up shooting at or above fifty percent from the floor. E.J. Liddell and Justin Ahrens led the scoring barrage for the Buckeyes, while Jamari Wheeler of all folks, led the scoring for PSU, nailing three straight shots from downtown to keep PSU in striking distance despite OSU’s hot shooting. John Harrar meanwhile, laid down nine points himself and was a rebounding force. The result was the highest combined scoring first half of the Big Ten slate with the Buckeyes leading 47-43.
The second half saw PSU pick up where they left off, Jamari fed Izaiah Brockington for an alley-oop to tie the game. This was then followed up by back-to-back-to-back treys from Seth Lundy, with a Trent Buttrick and-one thrown in. The Lions were able to open up their lead to 61-54 during this red-hot stretch. Meanwhile, Liddell went to the bench with his third foul early in the half, leaving the Buckeyes without their top scorer and best post presence.
The lack of Liddell didn’t end up mattering however, as PSU would proceed to go nearly five minutes without scoring a point as the Buckeyes rattled off 15 unanswered points of their own. Meanwhile, Harrar would pick up his fourth foul at the 10:39 mark and was forced to sit for the next five minutes of game play. The Lions would find themselves playing catch-up the rest of the way, never getting any closer than four points, as OSU ultimately wrapped this game up in the final couple of minutes.
As the PPP and efficient field goal percentages show, both teams shot the ball well overall tonight, but Ohio State was better. It also didn’t hurt that OSU got more trips to the line (26 to PSU’s 21).
Player of the Game
Jamari Wheeler was a jack-of-all-trades tonight: Nailing shots from downtown? You got it! Dropping dimes? He finished with four assists. Rebounding? He grabbed seven of those, leading the team in boards. How can you not make him PSU’s Player of the Game?
- Foul Troubles Loom Large- Think PSU could’ve used John Harrar during those final ten minutes? We might have had a more exciting finish to this game if Harrar didn’t sit on the bench with four fouls for a critical stretch, and later fouling out with 2:51 left and PSU trailing by five. Once John walked off the court at that juncture, you knew deep down it was over.
- It Was Only Nine Days Ago - Penn State went into East Lansing, Michigan on February 9th just one game under .500 overall and in Joe Lunardi’s “First Four Out” in ESPN’s Bracketology. Despite a poor shooting performance, the Lions came back from a double-digit deficit to take a four-point lead in the final couple of minutes. Sparty however, found a way to deny PSU what would’ve been a critical road win and would have almost surely gotten them projected in the field for the next Bracketology. They followed that up with a bubble-bursting loss to Nebraska and now came tonight’s loss. It ain’t getting better anytime soon because...
Penn State (7-12, 4-10) travels to Iowa City this Sunday to take on the 11th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip-off will be at 5:00 PM ET on FS1.