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Hoops Recap: Penn State Falls To Michigan 79-72

In customary fashion, the Lions spotted the Wolverines a ten point advantage before battling back at the end of the game, only to come up a few baskets short.

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan got out to an early lead but Penn State was able to keep the game from getting out of hand. Zak Irvin scored 20 points to lead the Wolverines, who had four players that scored in double digits. Penn State was able to defend the three pointer reasonably well, holding Michigan to 30 percent on six of 20 attempts. Unfortunately the Lions didn't fare much better from beyond the arc, making only nine of 29 attempts for 31 percent.

While the Michigan lead was roughly ten points for the majority of the game, Penn State was able to keep things from getting out of hand as it had in the 79-56 loss in Ann Arbor on Jan 2. As a result the end of the game was entertaining, and at times the crowd inside Madison Square Garden was cheering very loud. Dueling chants of 'go big blue' and 'we are Penn State' volleyed back and forth during stoppages in play. It was a unique atmosphere for a conference game as the fan's loyalty was split in half.

Four Factors Analysis

Team Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 66 1.08 49.2 36.1 16.6 24.2
Michigan - 1.19 50.9 32.4 10.5 56.4

The Lions took care of the ball until midway through the second half when it had a few consecutive shaky possessions. Penn State was able to out-rebound Michigan as it got three or more rebounds from five players. The offensive efficiency ultimately turned the tide in favor of the Wolverines, as it got a solid 1.19 points per possession with only seven turnovers on the day.

Player of the Game-Brandon Taylor (24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists)

Taylor took a while to get going, scoring only six points in the first half off seven shots. Late in the game when the Lions were attempting a comeback, he had several tough finishes inside to keep the team within striking range. Taylor finished 11 for 15 from inside the arc.

Random Observations

  • The crowd inside Madison Square Garden was evenly split. Toward the end of the game, while the Lions were cutting into the Michigan lead, there was a great deal of excitement in The Garden. For the majority of the game it seemed that Michigan had an advantage in the number of fans. It turned out that the Wolverine fans simply had more to cheer about until the last few minutes of the game. When PSU made a late push, the crowd noise amplified and it was apparent that each team was evenly represented.
  • Michigan sharpshooter Duncan Robinson was held in check from beyond the arc. The Lions were able to keep the three point specialist to 1 of 5 from three point land. Robinson entered the game with a .507 shooting percentage, averaging more than 3 made triples per game.

Looking Ahead

With just three days to rest, the team will play in Iowa City on Wednesday. The No.3 Hawkeyes host Northwestern on Sunday. Penn State will return home on Saturday for an 8 p.m. match with Indiana.