Men’s Basketball Falls 80-72 in Tough Road Game at Purdue

Men’s Basketball Falls 80-72 in Tough Road Game at Purdue
Nittany Lions head to No. 14 Illinois for Tuesday-night tilt

Credit Source: Purdue University Athletics/Penn State University Athletics

BOX SCORE: Purdue 80, Penn State 72

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Penn State men’s basketball team’s first game of 2021 came down to the final minutes on Sunday afternoon, but the Nittany Lions (3-5, 0-4) fell to Purdue (10-5, 5-3) 80-72 on the road in Mackey Arena. Junior guard Myreon Jones scored a game- and career-best 23 points and senior forward John Harrar had a career-best 14, but all five Boilermaker starters finished the afternoon in double figures.

“We started out, we couldn’t make a shot and that’s some of the rust we had from being off a little bit,” said interim head coach Jim Ferry. “I thought we got our second wind and we really locked in and defended better, went to our zone and were active and guys started playing off each other, making really good plays..I give our guys great credit, they are going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting all the way to the end to give ourselves the chance to win…For all of us, it felt great back to be on the court and playing for each other, we just have to keep grinding and keep getting better.”

The Nittany Lions battled for all 40 minutes, whittling the score down to a single-digit deficit, 68-61, with 2:37 left to play. Jones was an offensive force late in the game, scoring all 14 of his second-half points in the final 4:17.

After a back-and-forth battle in the first half, the Boilermakers looked to put the game out of reach, shooting at 67 percent clip from the field during the first six minutes of the second stanza. Purdue used an 18-5 run to take a 51-37 lead, but a pair of triples by forward Trent Buttrick ended the hot start.

With 9:11 remaining, Harrar scored seven of the Nittany Lions’ next nine points to cut the deficit to eight. He had two field goals in less than a minute and added another layup at the 5:03 mark.

Harrar’s gritty performance also ended with the second double-double of his career as he finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, 10 on the offensive end. Junior guard Izaiah Brockington collected a career-best in rebounds with nine to go along with 12 points. Senior guard Jamari Wheeler, who nailed a key 3-pointer in the first half, had a game-high four steals.

The Boilermakers made 12 free throws over the final 2:18 to secure the win and had 33 trips to the line on the afternoon compared to Penn State’s 13. The Nittany Lions had the edge on the boards 49-47, but Purdue’s hot second-half shooting (54.2) compared to PSU’s 27.7 allowed the Boilermakers to hold onto their lead.

The Nittany Lions and Boilermakers both struggled from the field to begin the first half which included a combined 0-14 mark from beyond the arc. Midway through the period, Purdue led Penn State 18-9 following a pair of free throws.

Brockington scored on the next for the Nittany Lions to trim the Purdue lead to five. This run by Brockington spurred Penn State’s offense as it finished with a 67 percent mark (10-15) after starting the game 4 for 20.

An 8-0 run by the Nittany Lions erased an early 22-15 Purdue lead with the first three of the game by Jones at 5:58. Lundy’s three on the following possession gave the Nittany Lions a 23-22 lead. Both teams traded scores for the final four minutes of the first half. Harrar’s slam dunk on a fast break put Penn State up 32-30 with 25 seconds in the half.

A corner trey by Mason Gillis with one second left on the clock sent the Boilermakers into the half leading 33-32 after a terrific defensive effort nearly forced a turnover and a late bucket for the Nittany Lions.

Trevion Williams had a double-double for Purdue with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Sasha Stefanovic led the team with 15 points.

  • Purdue won its third straight game with an 80-72 victory over Penn State on Sunday in Mackey Arena. The victory improved Purdue to 10-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference.
  • The win improved Purdue to 22-3 at Mackey Arena against Penn State and improved Matt Painter to 24-6 against the Lions.
  • The three-game win streak is tied for the longest of the season.
  • Purdue has won 10 of the last 11 meetings vs. Penn State and 14 of the last 16 contests.
  • The win was Matt Painter’s 172nd win in Big Ten play, tying Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan for ninth on the league’s all-time wins list in league games.
  • After scoring 81 points against Indiana on Thursday, Purdue has scored at least 80 points in consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since Jan. 11 to 15, 2019.
  • Purdue has won 19 straight games when scoring at least 80 points and is 41-2 when reaching 80 points since the start of the 2017-18 season.
  • Purdue is 51-8 at Mackey Arena against Big Ten foes since the start of the 2014-15 season, a full four games better than the next best record (Michigan State – 47-12).
  • Purdue shot just 6-of-32 (.188) from 3-point range, but went 19-of-30 (.633) from inside the arc. The 26 misses are the most 3-point misses in a win in school history.
  • Penn State’s 39 3-point attempts were the most for an opponent in school history, surpassing the 38 by Villanova in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
  • Purdue’s freshmen class scored 38 points.
  • Purdue only had seven players score, but five players scored between 12 and 15 points.
  • Purdue allowed 23 offensive rebounds for 27 second-chance points. The previous high this season allowed were 10 (Oakland and Ohio State) and 12 (Maryland).
  • Trevion Williams notched his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He has scored in double-figures in 10 straight games.
  • Sasha Stefanovic scored 15 points with six rebounds. He has made a 3-pointer in 16 straight contests.
  • Brandon Newman scored 13 points with five rebounds and three blocked shots.
  • Mason Gillis tallied a career-high tying 12 points with five rebounds, two steals and an assist.

The Nittany Lions continue their road trip with an 8:30 p.m. game on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at No. 14 Illinois.

Keep up to date with the latest information from the Nittany Lions at @PennStateMBB on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at @pennstatebasketball.

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