Penn State, which has dropped three straight games to slip to 14-10 overall and 5-8 in the Big Ten, has only one choice to make as it move forward into the final month of the regular season.
“It’s obviously not the result we wanted,” Shrewsberry said postgame, “but, like I told our guys, you’ve got two things you can do from here. You can bury your head, and say ‘woe is me’ and feel sorry for yourself, or you can put your head down and keep working. Get back in the gym, get better and figure out what we need to do to win our next game.”
With only seven regular-season games left, Penn State needs to find a solution quickly. Maybe even faster than anticipated. Penn State has one day before it’s next contest, a road bout Saturday afternoon against conference foe Maryland.
But, Penn State’s players understand the situation. Penn State has to get back on track to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Veterans like senior Seth Lundy took in Shrewsberry’s message.
“It’s all about mentality,” Lundy told reporters after the Wisconsin loss. “We lost three in a row, so what? Go back to the drawing board and get better. We can’t have guys feeling sorry for themselves. We just have to bring it back together. We’ve got to trust in coach and in each other.”
Throughout the season, Shrewsberry and Penn State consistently employed a “next up” mindset, focusing on its upcoming opponent instead of what lies further down the road.
The second-year leader again emphasized this, citing how tough conference competition has been for Penn State this season. All seven of Penn State’s remaining opponents are Big Ten teams.
“We can’t look ahead at all,” Shrewsberry said. “We have to focus on what’s next. That’s the biggest thing. In this league, every night is brutal. If you take your mind off the job, the job won’t get done.”
Of course, facing Maryland won’t be easy.
Maryland (16-8, 7-6) has won six of its last nine games, with wins over No. 21 Indiana and No. 24 Ohio State. Maryland is 12-1 at home and has a nine-game winning streak against Big Ten opponents inside the XFINITY Center.
Shrewsberry, noting Penn State will have to work on guarding off the dribble and keeping Maryland away from the rim defensively, said the Nittany Lions have to lower their turnover numbers offensively.
Penn State turned it over 11 times against Wisconsin, with four coming on offensive fouls. Though 11 is not normally a high tally, Wisconsin scored 16 points off the miscues.
“In a one-possession game, 11 is too many,” Shrewsberry said. “We can’t have that many, and we had some that were unforced. If we have a lot of turnovers on Saturday, we’re going to get our doors blown off.”
Despite Penn State’s current 1-6 mark on the road this season, Penn State is ready for the challenge that awaits them in College Park.
“We’re not playing Penn State basketball right now,” Lundy said. “We’re a team that keeps battling. We’re going to keep fighting regardless.”