Penn State falls to Wisconsin in its third consecutive loss: Takeaways

Written By Francis Mizner | Edited by Andre Monroe 

In a must-win, Penn State lost its third consecutive game to Big Ten opponent Wisconsin. The final overtime score was 79-74 with Wisconsin G Chucky Hepburn leading all scoring with 19 points.

Defensive struggles 

To mention the defensive struggles by Penn State is nothing but a recurring statement this season. Lack of height and a mismatch of size in the paint has been a common woe for the Nittany Lions. Tonight, those struggles were consistent all over the floor. It seemed like the Nittany Lions couldn’t get any stops regardless of whom Shrewsberry put on the floor. In the beginning, Wisconsin couldn’t miss from beyond the arc, and then it was the quick transition offense that opened up the scoring. 

Whether it was mid-range jump shots or backdoor layups, the Badgers were getting everything they needed to maintain a lead over the Nittany Lions. Wisconsin was able to eventually pull away in the first half after a couple of strong defensive stands leading them to a six-point advantage at the end of the first half.

The importance of a spark

Every Penn State victory this season has been at the hand of exceptional three-point shooting. One or two guys usually step up and make plays when they need them most. In the first half, the team was only able to convert two three’s for a 22% conversion rate, with its only three’s coming from within the first two minutes. Alongside the poor shooting, no one player took the game into their own hands; it was an overall average performance by each of the Penn State players in the first half, something they would need to fix in the second half. 

This happened to be the case as they started the second half 6-8 from behind the arc and four guys scored in double figures including Pickett who led the team with 17 points. 

Unable to overcome the odds

Penn State opened up the game with a quick three, making it seem like it would be a long night for the Badgers. However, once the Badgers claimed its lead it was all theirs, and they were dominant in all phases of the game. Although Wisconsin was never able to run away with it, it seemed like there was no way Penn State would be able to get the edge. The Badgers were not only efficient on the offensive side of things, but they were able to limit the shooters of Penn State and prevent any type of run. It was not until a three-point shot by Seth Lundy with 4:18 to go in the second in the Nittany Lions could capture back that lead. 

The Nittany Lions were unable to take care of business in regulation and took their efforts to overtime. Overtime was no different as Wisconsin knocked down a couple of early shots and jumped out in front. Penn State was unable to come up in the clutch and unfortunately fell to the Badgers.

Francis Mizner covers Penn State Basketball for Insider Institute, Follow him @MiznerFrancis1.

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