Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

PSU Basketball

Quick takes: Lions put up little fight vs. Illini

Photo from Penn State Twitter: Jamari Wheeler

Penn State dropped to 0-5 in the Big Ten and 3-6 overall with a 79-65 loss Tuesday night at Illinois. The Nittany Lions usually are competitive against pretty much everyone in the league, home and away, but that really wasn’t the case against the No. 22 Illini, who led 42-28 at the half and had the margin around 20 for most of the second half.

Here are Cory Giger’s quick takes from the game.

**Penn State is 0-5 in the Big Ten. Any hopes for a successful season are pretty much gone. There’s a lot of fight with this team, and the Lions are gonna need that since the Big Ten schedule isn’t gonna get any easier. There’s a chance this could turn into a disastrous season, unless the team leaders really pull everyone together to keep spirits up and keep battling.

These players already have been through a lot with head coach Patrick Chambers resigning in late October, something that stung a lot of the players. The team has played very well at times, but at 0-5 in the league, it’s gut check time to see who still really wants to be playing hard.

**The Lions were lousy offensively once again, which is a big problem since that was supposed to be this team’s strength under offensive-minded coach Jim Ferry. Penn State shot just 33.9 percent, and that’s just not gonna cut it on the road against any good opponent.

**Penn State simply cannot play without fouling. It’s awful. The Lions were whistled for 26 fouls, after committing 27 at Purdue on Sunday. This isn’t about the refs screwing PSU over, either. The team commits so many fouls because it’s just not very good on defense and doesn’t have good enough and physical enough players to match up with the kind of quality offensive players they go up against in the Big Ten.

**Sam Sessoms had a very disappointing game, for the second straight outing. He was held scoreless and missed all six of his shots.

The smooth guard has a good offensive skill set and should be a consistent scorer. The Binghamton transfer, who scored 19 per game last season, reached double figures his first seven games with PSU. But he was held to four points on 2-of-6 shooting the last time out at Purdue, then had another rough night at Illinois.

Become a Nittany Pride member for an ad-free experience throughout the site and even more exclusive in-depth content. You can sign up for $3.99 per month or get a yearly subscription for only $38.00.

Here’s the problem: Jamari Wheeler is a good defender but not a good scorer as a point guard, so the Lions must get some points from Sessoms coming off the bench in that role. If he’s struggling, it means very little offensive production from the point guard spot. That was the case Tuesday as the two combined for only 4 points, all from Wheeler.

**PSU has three straight home games coming up: Thursday against Rutgers, Saturday against Northwestern and next Wednesday against Wisconsin. None of those games will be easy.

Click for more Nittany Sports Now coverage

Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox

Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from Cory Giger and the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

Click to comment

Sound Off!

Get NSN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts by email.

Most Viewed

PSU lands 4-star CB Cam Miller, Lions' 10th commitment of July
Big Ten or ACC? Which is the better home for Penn State?
Where does Mike Gesicki rank in Madden's NFL tight end ratings?
Watch me! Check out all PSU players on preseason watch lists
PSU commit Lonnie White Jr. will sign with Pirates: report
Podcast: On PSU's win total, Clifford, concerns, the schedule and COVID
Q&A: Everything Altoona Curve fans need to know about tickets for games this season
Franklin: 'We've got a chip on our shoulder'
Early 2022 mock drafts have Steelers, Eagles taking PSU players in first round
Franklin makes it official, saying goodbye to Tyler Bowen

More from Nittany Sports Now

Analysis

0 There are a lot of Penn State fans out there — maybe you’re one of them — who have always felt a certain...

PSU Basketball

0 Micah Shrewsberry’s first game as Penn State’s basketball coach will be at home against Youngstown State on Nov. 10, according to a report...

PSU Basketball

0 Penn State picked up its fourth commitment from the transfer portal on Sunday when 6-foot-9, 210-pounder Greg Lee announced he is transferring to...

PSU Basketball

0 Western Michigan’s Greg Lee, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound senior forward, reportedly has Penn State among the finalists for a landing spot out of the...

Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox

Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from Cory Giger and the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend