Men’s basketball: Another late-game run burns Northwestern as Wildcats drop seventh consecutive game to Penn State


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Pete Nance shoots against Iowa. Nance’s late three-pointer against Penn State couldn’t offset the Nittany Lions’ late 10-0 run.

Patrick Andres, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

At the under-four media timeout against No. 21 Ohio State on Jan. 13, Northwestern trailed by one point. With 6:07 to play against No. 10 Wisconsin on Jan. 20, the Wildcats trailed by 11 points (after having trailed by 17). At the under-four against Penn State Saturday evening, NU led by one point. The Cats lost each of these three games.

The losses speak to NU’s recent tendency to give up big runs at inopportune times. The Cats led the Nittany Lions 73-69 with less than five minutes to go in University Park — their largest lead of the game — but were outscored 12-5 the rest of the way.

“I thought we got some good looks, and I thought we got some good shots,” coach Chris Collins said of the closing minutes. “We weren’t able to get them down, and we weren’t able to get ourselves a layup or get to the foul line.”

Penn State forward Seth Lundy began the final charge in earnest by draining a three-pointer with 4:05 left, the last basket made before the media timeout. Lundy made two free throws after being fouled by junior guard Anthony Gaines to give the Lions a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Redshirt sophomore guard Chase Audige then missed a jumper, and Penn State guard Izaiah Brockington hit a layup on an ensuing fast break to stretch the lead to three. A bad pass from sophomore guard Boo Buie led to a steal for Lions guard Myreon Jones, one of the few blots on an 18-point, four-assist night for Buie.

“Penn State did a really good job of getting loose balls,” Collins said. “Their defense at times was very good, whether it was a rebound or a loose ball in the lane. They beat us to (both) consistently tonight, so give them credit for that.”

A scoreless stretch of 1:41 that ensued after Brockington’s layup was broken with 1:10 to play by Lions guard Jamari Wheeler, who buried his second three-pointer of the evening to put a bow on the 10-0 run that nearly sealed NU’s fate. The Cats mounted their own final drive, scoring five straight points as junior forward Pete Nance drilled a three and junior forward Miller Kopp hit two free throws. Audige, however, missed a tying three-point attempt with two seconds left in regulation, and Penn State emerged 81-78 victors.

With the defeat, NU — loser of seven straight and not scheduled to play again until Jan. 31 — will have gone at least a month of the season without winning for the third consecutive year. Four losses have included at least one instance of a team burning the Cats for an uninterrupted run of 10 or more points.

“(The things you do) when you’re trying to ward off a run, getting to the free throw line and trying to get to the basket and get an easy basket, are things we gotta continue to work on,” Collins said. “We’re definitely still learning how to win.”

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