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Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals: Hot Start Not Enough For Penn State

A hot start was not enough for the Nittany Lions as their season came to an end against Purdue

Big Ten Tournament - Penn State vs Purdue Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Early on things looked good for the Nittany Lions. Penn State jumped out to an earl 10-2 lead over 3rd seeded Purdue. Penn State’s lead got as high as 10 at 12-2 with 15:24 left in the first half.

Unfortunately, this hot start was not enough for the Nittany Lions as they fell to the Boilermakers 69-61. With the loss Penn State’s hopes of a Cinderella run to a Big Ten Championship comes to an end. Additionally, Penn State falls to 14-17 on the season.

Despite being down by 10+ in the second half the Nittany Lions never gave up. In what has become a trademark of Coach Shrews’s crew the team went down swinging, never making anything easy for Purdue.

Penn State made a late push in the second half that forced the Boilermakers to sweat this one out. The Nittany Lions pulled to within 62-61 in the closing minutes, but a 7-0 run to end the game by the Boilermakers was the nail in the coffin in a 69-61 Purdue victory.

In what was likely his fan game in the Blue and White big man John Harrar posted yet another double-double. He scored 15 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, to go with 12 rebounds. Jalen Pickett also had a big night with 16 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field. Pickett also reeled in 4 rebounds, to go with 6 assists and a pair of steals.

The biggest undoing for the Nittany Lions may have been the offensive play of Seth Lundy. Lundy was 0-for-8 from the field which including going 0-for-7 from three-point range. Had Lundy sunk even half his shots who knows how this game goes.

“I wish they weren’t so smart at Penn State so that we could still have him (Micah Shrewsberry) at Purdue. Sandy made a hell of a hire.” That's what Purdue head coach Matt Painter had to say about his former assistant after the game. The basketball future in Happy Valley is arguably the brightest it’s ever been. Be patient Nittany Lion fans, brighter days are ahead.

What’s Next

Unfortunately, this was likely it. Penn State needed to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. They are also unlikely to make the NIT due to being under .500. While Shrews Crew went down swinging all season long, including in this game, year one of the Shrewsberry Era is likely over. That said, a much brighter future is ahead for the Nittany Lions.