Penn State entered Monday night’s game against Ohio State as the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten. And it only got worse for the Nittany Lions in their 66-46 loss in Columbus.
Yet curiously, Pat Chambers' squad kept lofting and lofting triple attempts — as if it were the Golden State Warriors.
PSU missed its first 13 3-point tries in falling behind 29-14 with five minutes to go in the first half. And the Lions played right into the hands of the Buckeyes with the futile 3-point onslaught.
Consider that at that very time, Penn State was 7 of 10 on conventional field-goal attempts.
The Lions finally broke their drought from the arc when Shep Garner swished a jumper from just beyond the top of the key with 3:37 left in the half to make it 29-18. And PSU actually cut the lead to 33-26 at the half.
But the horrible perimeter shooting continued in the second half. Coupled with Ohio State’s strong showing from the arc, it led to the blowout.
The Lions fell to 11-10 on the season and 2-6 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes improved to 13-8 and 5-3.
And for all of the stats that can be kicked around, the extreme difference in 3-point production told the story of this one.
Penn State’s two-leading scorers, forward Brandon Taylor (1 of 5) and Garner (1 of 8), combined to go 2 of 15 from deep. The rest of the team was 2 of 12. That comes out to … drum roll, please … 4 of 25 from the arc.
For the season, the Lions are now shooting 29.9 percent on 3-pointers.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, were a sizzling 8 of 19 on triples, taking six fewer and making four more than PSU. Keita Bates-Diop scored a game-high 22 points, and went 4 of 7 from the arc.
ANOTHER NEW LINEUP
Chambers unveiled yet another new starting five vs. the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions’ sixth different look of the season.
In was senior guard Devin Foster, who got his first career start at PSU. Out was 7-foot-1 center Jordan Dickerson, who had started the previous 12 games but had been consistently hampered by early foul trouble.
Foster, a native of nearby Dayton, took a hard fall while attempting to rebound midway through the second half. He left the game and was attended to by trainer Jon Salazer.
But Foster returned a short while later, and appeared to be just fine when he threw down a tomahawk dunk on a fast break with 8:15 left. He finished with six points, four rebounds and an assist in 32 minutes.
Dickerson came off the bench and managed to stay on the floor for 20 minutes. And he scored seven points on two dunks, a layup and a free throw. But he had only one rebound and one block.
ANKLE INJURY SLOWS GARNER
Garner twisted his left ankle early and departed the game with less than two minutes gone by to get it re-taped. He returned and gritted it out for 30 minutes, but did not seem to be himself for the rest of the night.
He made only 1 of 9 shots and did not get to the free-throw line.
TAYLOR’S TOUGH NIGHT
Taylor was the only Lion to finish in double figures in scoring with 11 points. But most of them came after the game was out of reach. He was 1 of 6 from the floor in the first half.
He finished 5 of 16 from the floor, did not attempt a free throw and committed four turnovers.
Penn State is off until Saturday’s basketball/hockey doubleheader vs. Michigan at Madison Square Garden in New York. The hoops game tips at noon and can been seen on BTN.