Michigan basketball (23-5, 10-5) suffered the most embarrassing loss imaginable in Big Ten play by losing 84-78 against Penn State. The Nittany Lions (9-18, 1-14) were 0-14 coming into the game in conference action and hadn’t won a Big Ten game in 18 tries.
That streak ended tonight with a torrid final 10 minutes of play by Patrick Chambers’ team.
How They Lost
In a loss of this magnitude a lot of things have to play out in an unexpected way, and boy did they ever. Despite shooting 51% from the field, Michigan got barnstormed late in the game and literally had no defensive answer for PSU, which is a sad indictment.
At the 10:35 mark of the 2nd half, Michigan took a 15-point lead at 66-51. From there, Penn State caught fire, mainly being carried by Jermaine Marshall, and outscored the Wolverines 33-12 the rest of the way. That is about as shocking of a turn of events scenario as anyone could fathom.
Michigan dropped the ball in several areas that they usually dominate in. They committed a ghastly 21 personal fouls against an athletically inferior team and turned it over 15 times. Combine that with a 5-20 effort from 3-point range and the door was open for Penn State to pull off the unthinkable.
The Lions shot 10-20 from long range, 20-27 from the free throw line, and turned it over just 9 times. Marshall led the way with 25 points and 6 rebounds while drilling a career-high 6 three balls. D.J. Newbill added 17 and Ross Travis was everywhere with 15 points and 12 boards.
After a tremendous defensive game on Sunday against Illinois, Michigan was back to scrambling and leaving the opposition with wide open looks.
The loss rips away any hope Michigan had at a #1 seed in the tourney and all but derails their stated goal of claiming a 2nd straight Big Ten title. To see this go down in Happy Valley caught everyone by surprise.
Michigan’s 3 Stars
- Tim Hardaway, Jr. – TH2 had a strong game with 19 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists while shooting 8-16 from the floor.
- Trey Burke – Burke had 18 points on 5-10 shooting and 7-8 from the free throw line. Uncharacteristically, Burke turned the ball over 6 times. That’s about 2 weeks’ worth of giveaways for the nation’s best point guard. Burke carries the burden of being the guy that makes sure Michigan doesn’t lose these games. Tonight, he couldn’t will them to victory.
- Jordan Morgan – Morgan had his 2nd consecutive strong performance. He was 5-6 from the field on his way to 11 points and 5 boards.
News and Notes
- Despite a nice looking line of 12 points and 8 rebounds, Nik Stauskas turned the ball over 5 times, played what was generally some lousy defense, and got a big ear-full from John Beilein in the game’s final minutes.
- After a great game against Illinois, Caris LeVert was a virtual ghost against PSU. He had 4 fouls and was 0-3 shooting the rock. His solid defense wasn’t there to rescue Michigan on a day where they could have used it.
- Jordan Morgan got the start tonight, ending a string of starts by fellow big men Mitch McGary and Jon Horford in his stead.
- Michigan won the rebounding battle, 37-27.
- Michigan didn’t execute good offense down the stretch, which resembled some of their struggles in end of clock situations throughout the year. They have to find a way to play with poise if they think they can make a run in late March.
Speaking of embarrassing losses, Michigan will play host to Michigan State on Sunday. Tip is set for 4 pm eastern and the game will be televised on CBS. This loss certainly takes some momentum out of that matchup as Michigan heads back to the defensive drawing board once again.
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