Game Grades: Penn State vs. Nebraska
When Penn State (14-13) suited up Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center, they would be facing the team that gave them their most recent loss, Nebraska (14-14). After that 70-54 defeat on the road, Penn State won consecutive games against Iowa and Rutgers to push their record over .500 at 14-13. The Nittany Lions built an 18-point lead over the Cornhuskers only to see it slowly fade away. However, Penn State was able to hold on for a 56-55 win and notched their third consecutive victory.
Shep Garner continued his hot play against Nebraska. The sophomore guard scored 22 points on 8-16 shooting from the field. He also made five out of 10 three-point attempts. During Penn State’s three-game winning streak, Garner has averaged 20.0 points per game and has shot 53.8 percent from beyond the arc. Guard Josh Reaves struggled, as he was held scoreless and picked up four personal fouls while playing only nine minutes.
Senior forward Brandon Taylor picked up his seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor made a season-high five three-pointers to help lead Penn State to 11 three’s, the team’s most since Nov. 20, 2014. Payton Banks tied a season-high with three steals, but committed three personal fouls and three turnovers while scoring five points.
Isaiah Washington made his presence felt against Nebraska. Washington logged 27 minutes and grabbed eight boards, a season-high while also tallying five points. After averaging 15.5 points in his previous two games, Donovon Jack scored five points in 17 minutes. After shooting 72.2 percent in those two games, Jack shot just 28.6 percent against Nebraska. Devin Foster played only nine minutes and was scoreless.
This was a messy game for Pat Chambers’ squad, even by Penn State basketball standards. After riding a wave of three-pointers to an 18-point lead in the second-half, Penn State fizzled down the stretch. The Nittany Lions were sloppy with the basketball, committing turnovers while also allowing Nebraska to get to the free throw line. The Cornhuskers were able to tie the game 55-55 after a pair for free throws with 51 seconds remaining. Garner was able to hit on one of his two free throw attempts to give the Nittany Lions a 56-55 lead and were able to hang on after Nebraska’s Shavon Shields missed a potential game-winning jumper.
Ryan Leonardo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.