Lions Lose at Michigan

Poor defense proves costly as Penn State slips below .500 on the season.

Penn State had a chance to put some distance between itself and those teams in the Big Ten basement Saturday. But the Nittany Lions couldn't get it done in a road game at struggling Michigan, falling 68-63.

Penn State slipped below .500 (11-12) with the loss and is now 3-8 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines improved to 6-17 and 2-9 by breaking a five-game losing streak.

Poor defense was Penn State's downfall in this one. Michigan came into the game as the worst shooting team in the conference (38.4 percent), but made 53 percent of its shots against the Lions.

"It's disappointing that we didn't contain the ball like we needed to," PSU coach Ed DeChellis said on his post-game radio show.

Even so, the Lions managed to build a 50-44 lead when Danny Morrissey made a 3-pointer midway through the second half. But the Wolverines rattled off nine straight points to go up 53-50.

The Lions later tied it 57-57 on a Talor Battle free throw before Michigan center Ekpe Udoh made a layup and DeShawn Sims converted an offensive rebound to put the Wolverines out in front for good.

Michigan made four of its last five shots while PSU converted only one of its final eight shots.

Battle led Penn State with 13 points, and Morrissey and fellow guard Stanley Pringle had 10 each. Junior forward Jamelle Cornley, playing with a mouthpiece to protect tooth and lip injuries sustained at Purdue Tuesday, had eight points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

Sims and guard Manny Harris had 16 each to pace Michigan.

GAME NOTES

• PSU went into this game as the worst free-throw shooting team in the Big Ten but made 11 of 15 (73.3 percent) in this one.

• Michigan made 22 of 34 two-point shots in the game.

• Udoh blocked six shots for the Wolverines.

• Penn State has a bye this week before playing host to Illinois Saturday. The game tips at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

• DeChellis said he will give the team "a couple days off and go back at it Wednesday."

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