Penn State men’s basketball nearly upset Wisconsin’s No. 11

MADISON, Wis. – Tyler Wahl made a tiebreaker with 30.5 seconds left to give No. 11 Wisconsin a 51-49 victory over Penn State on Saturday, which extended the Badgers home winning streak in the series .

After Myles Dread’s layup with 51 seconds remaining capped a 9-0 run to tie Penn State (9-10, 4-7 Big Ten), Wahl’s field goal restored the lead. Wisconsin.

Wisconsin (18-4, 9-3) had two more fouls to inflict and used them both over the next 24 seconds. With 6.1 seconds remaining, Penn State’s Jalen Pickett threw a deep pass to Dread, whose deep 3-pointer bounced off the back edge as Wahl reduced the rebound.

The Badgers have won their last 21 home games with Penn State, which has not beaten Wisconsin at Madison since a 78-67 victory on Jan. 26, 1995. Wisconsin has a 42-11 series lead and has won 16 of the last 17 meetings overall.

Wisconsin won this one despite poor production by All-America nominee Johnny Davis, who shot 2 of 13 and scored just four runs.

Steven Crowl had 13 points and five assists for Wisconsin, which also had 12 points from Wahl and 10 from Chucky Hepburn. Sam Sessoms scored 14 points to lead the Nittany Lions.

Penn State’s problems this time began long before he arrived in Madison.

A delay in the arrival of the team’s charter plane meant the Nittany Lions could not leave State College until Saturday at 1:45 p.m. The Nittany Lions landed in Madison about 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled announcement .

These travel issues may have explained the slow start to this game.

Wisconsin led 18-13 after an ugly first half in which the teams shot a combined 21.3% (13 of 61) from the floor, 9.1% (2 of 22) from the range 3 points and 42.9% (3 of 7) of the Free Line of Fire.

The Nittany Lions missed 19 of their first 20 shots and scored just three in 12:57. Penn State had a defining drought that lasted nearly 10 and a half minutes.

Both teams warmed up in the second half.

Penn State erased an early 12-point deficit and took a 35-34 lead over Sessoms’ 3-pointer with 9:13 left. After Wahl briefly put Wisconsin back in the lead, Sessoms’ field goal and Greg Lee’s 3-pointer gave Penn State a 40-36 lead with 7:42 left.

Wisconsin responded with 13 straight points to regain the lead. Crowl sank two 3-pointers and had a pair of assists during that push.

But Penn State responded with a push of its own, setting up Wahl’s big play in the final minute.

The Nittany Lions’ travel problems this weekend capped off a difficult period in which they rarely played at home. Penn State has played four of its last five road games and only played one game at home — a 90-86 double-overtime triumph over Iowa on Monday — in the 3½ weeks. Penn State is playing five of its next seven games at home.

Penn State hosts Michigan on Tuesday.

About Marc Womack

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