The Nittany Lions' three primary scorers -- guards Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle, as well as forward Jamelle Cornley -- can all go off for 20 points or more on a given night. And typically, the entire squad does a great job of getting the rock to the one man who has it rolling.
Thursday at Michigan was a different story, though. Cornley was virtually unstoppable, making an amazing 10 of 12 shots (84 percent) while scoring a team-high 25 points.
But his teammates apparently failed to notice, as he got only one field goal attempt in the first 11 minutes of the second half while the Wolverines pulled away for good en route to a 71-51 victory.
Penn State, which pounded Michigan 73-58 at the Jordan Center Jan. 20, saw its four-game winning streak end as it fell to 17-6 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines, who had lost their previous two games by 18 points each, improved to 15-8 and 5-6.
Penn State led 31-29 at the half, thanks to a monster effort from Cornley. He went 6 of 7 from the field and 3 for 3 from the arc in scoring 15 points. He began the second half with a power move inside to boost the lead to 33-29 with 18:51 left. At that point, he was 7 of 8 from the field for 17 points.
Cornley did not log another official shot attempt until the 8:30 mark of the game, and he only got it because he grabbed a missed Battle 3-pointer and scored inside. The bucket drew PSU within 48-39, but the Wolverines -- behind guard Manny Harris -- were in such a rhythm that the Lions could never make things interesting down the stretch.
As was noted earlier, Cornley was 10 of 12 from the floor in the game. The rest of the team was 9 of 46. Battle (3-16) and Pringle (3-13) both forced more shots than Cornley despite being ice cold all night. They combined to go 1 of 14 in the second half. Cornley was 4 of 5, with four of those shots coming after the game had been all but decided.
Harris was also impressive. He was held to a season-low four points in the previous matchup, but was lethal in this one. Harris made 7 of 13 shots and was outstanding at taking the ball to the bucket, drawing foul after foul and hitting 11 of 14 free throws.
Their poor shooting and shot selection were obviously huge factors in the game. But Battle and Pringle attempted to make up for it in other areas. The former finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists, the latter with seven points and nine rebounds.
But no other Lion had more than three points. In fact, until walk-on Will Leiner hit a triple in the final minute, the entire team other than Cornley, Battle and Pringle had scored seven points. Starting center Andrew Jones had two points and two rebounds in 23 minutes. Starting small forward Jeff Brooks had no points and one rebound in 19 minutes.
Penn State is back in action Sunday when Wisconsin visits the Jordan Center for a 3 p.m. tip. The Badgers edged the Lions 65-61 in the previous matchup in Madison Jan. 3.