MADISON, Wis. – The Penn State men’s basketball team (6-8, 3-7) fell at No. 19 Wisconsin (14-5, 8-4) 72-56 Tuesday at the Kohl Center. Following an evenly matched first half, the Badgers’ used a 19-4 run after the break and relied on a hot second-half start to build a double-digit lead.
“I think you have to give credit to Wisconsin, they really came out and got the game played the way they wanted to play it,” said Interim head coach Jim Ferry. “I felt like we could never really get ourselves going at our pace and tempo. Though the first half was almost identical to the first half at Penn State the other night…it was a close game. We had to deal with some foul trouble in the first half, which I thought we did a great job of, down two at half, then to start the second half, they went on a 19-4 run and we just couldn’t overcome it.”
Wisconsin went 4-7 from the field over the first four minutes of the second half for an 11-0 run and a 42-31 lead. Slowing the pace of the game down significantly, Wisconsin shot above the 50 percent mark before cooling down for a final 48.4 percent from the field. The Nittany Lions couldn’t get into an offensive groove and didn’t land their first 3-pointer of the half until 10:48.
After a layup by junior guard Izaiah Brockington, junior guard Myreon Jones and senior forward John Harrar combined for the next 14 points. Jones finished the night with a team-best 14. Harrar had 10 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished off a pair of assists and made two steals. Harrar was a perfect 3-3 from the field and 4-4 from the foul line.
“We had some really good shots, we didn’t make them,” Ferry said. “One thing I was disappointed with was that our defensive energy was affected by us not making shots tonight, and that’s a tough thing to deal with on the road against a really good Wisconsin team.”
Penn State forced the Badgers into a season-high total 15 turnovers and converted them into 16 points, but gave 10 points back off 13 turnovers on the night. The first half
Jonathan Davis of Wisconsin led all scorers with 17 points. Micah Potter had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Badgers and Nittany Lions ended the first half with nearly an identical halftime score as their Saturday matchup.
The Badgers and Nittany Lions were locked in a tight matchup throughout much of the first half. Wisconsin pushed its lead to 25-18 with just under eight minutes to play in the opening period.
A 7-0 run by Penn State tied the game at 25 following a Lundy trey with 4:38 remaining. Five straight free throws by Wisconsin extended the Badgers lead to 30-25. Sam Sessoms had his hand in the next three baskets for Penn State. Sessoms scored a pair of layups and assisted on a Buttrick basket to give the Nittany Lions their first lead since the 18:22 mark of the half.
The Nittany Lions clawed back into the contest by holding Wisconsin without a field goal for the last 7:58 of the first period until the Wisconsin triple before the buzzer gave the Badgers a 33-31 lead at the break.
Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center for a 7 p.m. ET tip against Maryland on Friday, Feb. 5.
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