Credit Source: Penn State University Athletics
Nittany Lions Fall to Undefeated Michigan in B1G Road Contest
Penn State returns home to face Illinois in next B1G matchup
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Penn State men’s basketball team (3-2, 0-1) fell 62-58 in a tightly contest matchup to undefeated Michigan (6-0, 1-0) on Sunday, December 13. The Big Ten opener went down to the wire in the Crisler Center as the Nittany Lions overcame a nine-point halftime deficit, but came up just short in the final minute.
The Nittany Lions trailed 60-58 with 24 seconds to play, and after a pair of missed free throws by Michigan, saw the Wolverines escape with the win after a layup attempt rimmed out. Michigan added two free throws for the 62-58 final.
“I have to give Michigan credit as I thought they came out as the aggressor in the first half and I thought we were playing on our heels, but we did a good job at the end of the first half, grinding ourselves back in it,” said Penn State interim head coach Jim Ferry. “Then, in the second half, I thought we were the aggressor. I thought we played the way we should have been playing, we played the way we know we can play. Close game, it goes back and forth, and we had two layups in our last two possessions to the rim, we have to finish those or get to the foul line in that situation and we had one break down late that really hurt us.”
Penn State recovered from a tough stretch of shooting in the first half and used a furious 18-2 run over the final two minutes before the break until the 16:36 mark of second half to take its first lead of the game at 39-38. Junior guard Izaiah Brockington scored 11 of his team-best 14 points in the second half and junior guards Myreon Jones and Sam Sessoms added 10 points each for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions outscored the Wolverines 31-26 in the second half as the back-and-forth battle continued until the final buzzer as neither team held a lead larger than six for the final 16 minutes of the game. Penn State’s came out of the gate shooting 5-8 from the field and then capitalized on Wolverine missed shots and turnovers to take a 46-45 lead on a Seth Lundy jumper at the 12:14 mark.
Michigan built a six-point lead with about five minutes remaining, but Penn State used an 8-0 run with couple of free throws and a 3-pointer from Jones and a field goal and one from Sessoms. Sessoms’ free throw put the Nittany Lions up by two with 2:53 left to play.
Penn State’s bench contributed 20 points in the effort with Sessoms’ 10, six from Dread and four points from freshman Abdou Tsimbila.
The Wolverines’ leading scorer, Hunter Dickinson, finished his night with 20 points, scoring Michigan’s final two field goals for a 60-58 lead. Isaiah Livers hit the two free throws to secure the win.
The Wolverines shot 52 percent from the field and had all five of their their treys in the first half to take the nine-point advantage at the break. A 6-0 run to end the first period cut Michigan’s lead to 36-27 after the Wolverines led by as many as 15. The Penn State defense held the Wolverines scoreless for the final 2:14 of the first half.
Nittany Lion Trent Buttrick tied for the game high with seven rebounds, a career best for the senior. Senior forward John Harrar had nine points on the night with three field goals and three free throws. Senior guard Jamari Wheeler had four assists and three steals for game high totals in both categories.
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