Slow start dooms men’s basketball against Wisconsin
No. 5 Wisconsin came into Wednesday night’s game at the Bryce Jordan Center as the most efficient offensive team in the country. The 55-47 win for the Badgers was far from an efficient performance from either side, however.
“I was just trying to do whatever I could to keep the team in the game,” senior guard D.J. Newbill said.
Newbill’s efforts weren’t enough to finish the upset.
The Senior Class Award finalist had seven made field goals in the first half and three assists. He finished with 16 points in the half, but the rest of the Penn State team only managed three other baskets.
“If Newbill wants to get a shot, then he’s going to get a shot,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “The key was to make sure we didn’t let anyone else get hot.”
A 13-2 run by the Nittany Lions late in the second half got the Badger lead down to 48-43. Two free throws and a 10-foot runner in the lane from senior center Frank Kaminsky ended the hopeful comeback run.
“They cut it to 5 and we had the ball. That’s a huge accomplishment for this group,” Penn State head coach Pat Chambers said. ““When they (Wisconsin) get a lead of 10 or 16, it’s really more like 20 or 30 by the way they milk the clock.”
Penn State (15-12, 3-11 Big Ten) needed senior guard D.J. Newbill to score the team’s first 12 points of the evening. He finished the contest with a game-high 29 points.
The tireless efforts from the senior were felt afterward as Newbill sat helpless at his postgame press conference. A glum feeling filled the room as Newbill had to acknowledge yet another defeat.
The opportunities are starting to run out for a memorable player to leave his legacy on a program trying to become revitalized.
“I felt like we were in the game because of D.J. Newbill and because of our defense,” Chambers said. “I hurt for the kid.”
Wisconsin (24-2, 12-1 Big Ten) had an answer of their own from junior forward Sam Dekker, who led the team with 22 points tying a career-high. Kaminsky ended with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Penn State went to an untraditional bigger lineup for most of the first half with combinations of Donovon Jack with Jordan Dickerson and Jack with Julian Moore.
“I knew coming in we might have to play big,” Chambers said. “Playing a bigger lineup was taken to our likening.”
Wisconsin had two different stretches of at least seven minutes in each half of not scoring a basket. Penn State could never close the gap even on an off night from the Badgers.
If there was ever a night for the Penn State supporting cast to show up, it could have been more than helpful tonight.
Only four others scored outside of Newbill and only combined for 18 points.
Senior forward Ross Travis had eight rebounds on the night and is now the third leading rebounder in Penn State history behind Mike Lang.
Penn State returns home next Saturday against Iowa. You can hear the game in full on ComRadio.
Ryan Stevens is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.