Penn State looks to extend Northwestern’s misery

NCAA Men's Basketball

Penn State looks to extend Northwestern’s misery

While Penn State looks to build on its first victory in more than a month, Northwestern is still trying to end its longest slide of the season.

The Nittany Lions will look to hand the visiting Wildcats a seventh straight defeat on Saturday night in a Big Ten contest at University Park, Pa.

It’s been a rough run of conference play for both Penn State (4-6, 1-5 in Big Ten) and Northwestern (6-7, 3-6). However, the Nittany Lions should have some confidence entering this matchup after snapping a five-game skid to win their first league contest of the season, and first game overall since Dec. 8, 75-67 over Rutgers on Thursday.

Myreon Jones (16.0 points per game) and Izaiah Brockington (14.1 ppg) each had 17 points while Seth Lundy (12.4 ppg) scored 16 with 10 rebounds, as Penn State shot 49.1 percent — after shooting 33.3 percent combined in its previous two games — and kept the Scarlet Knights to less than 70 points after allowing an average of 86.0 in the previous four.

“I’m really proud of this group of guys,” interim coach Jim Ferry told Penn State’s website. “This is a tough league. We’ve been in battles we haven’t won. We’ve lost a couple down the stretch.

“I thought our guys looked really connected (against Rutgers). … I think it shows the guys are really excited about it and buying in.”

Penn State will try to win consecutive games for the first time since opening 2-0. The Nittany Lions might have a good chance of accomplishing that feat against a Northwestern squad that’s seen its strong start go by the wayside.

The Wildcats won six of their first seven and beat Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State to open league play and earn a No. 19 national ranking. Northwestern averaged 74.7 points, shot 52.2 percent and allowed an average of 67.3 points during that 3-0 Big Ten start.

Since then, it’s scoring 65.0 points per game, shooting 40.2 percent and allowing an average of 83.0 during a six-game losing streak. It’s dropped each contest by at least 10 points.

Northwestern shot 41.2 percent and scored just 18 second-half points during a 68-52 loss at No. 10 Wisconsin on Wednesday. It was the lowest-scoring game of the season for the Wildcats, who are trying to avoid losing at least seven straight games to Big Ten opponents for a fourth consecutive season.

“It’s a work in progress,” Wildcats coach Chris Collins told The Daily Northwestern. “We’re going to stay at it.

“We have to do a better job. It starts with me.”

Chase Audige (12.6 points per game) scored 16 for Northwestern on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Boo Buie had nine points, and has totaled 28 during the Wildcats’ losing streak after he averaged 18.3 in the first three league games.

Buie totaled 25 total points as Northwestern split its two games with Penn State last season.

–Field Level Media

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