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Penn State basketball loses tough game against Northwestern

Penn State was coming off a big momentum win against Michigan over the weekend when they played in Philadelphia at The Palestra. After trailing by 10 at the half, they were able to rally and get a victory in front of the pro-Penn State crowd.

The Nittany Lions looked to build upon that performance against Northwestern on Wednesday when they started the game off hot and took an eight-point lead into halftime.

For all intents and purposes, this was the best Penn State has looked in a first half in a while. They were flying around on defense, forcing seven turnovers with five steals, and were sharing the ball effectively.

Shooting at a 55.6% rate in the first half, the Nittany Lions were able to make up for their poor defensive performance that saw them allow 50.0% shooting from the field and 62.5% from three.

However, things changed in the second half.

It didn’t start that way as Penn State pushed their lead to 10 points four minutes in, but a 15-0 run by Northwestern allowed them to take a 62-55 lead.

The Wildcats to their first lead with 11:25 left in the half.

Penn State was never able to regain it and lost 76-72.

It was another frustrating showing from the Nittany Lions who allowed Northwestern to shoot an unthinkable 75% from the field in the second half by going 15-20.

The once flowing Penn State offense in the first half became stagnant as they shot 37% from the field in the second half and only had four assists compared to seven in the first.

The same things are hurting the Nittany Lions.

They allow too many made shots, despite forcing a high rate of turnovers, and are not a good three point shooting team, despite jacking up a lot of them.

This has not been an easy season for Penn State fans to watch by any means, but the program is also in a building phase.

Positives can still be taken from this game.

Kanye Clary continues to showcase his talent, as he can officially be considered the team’s best player. He scored 25 points on 7-13 shooting, his fifth game out of six with over 20 points.

Ace Baldwin couldn’t build off his offensive explosion against Michigan, but his six points didn’t stop him from recording his career high in steals with eight.

This was also Nick Kern’s best game since coming to Penn State, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

While that is a good sign going forward, it doesn’t change the fact the Nittany Lions still held a lead of 10 points throughout this game and had a real opportunity to beat Northwestern for the sixth time in a row.

Instead, they have dropped another close game.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire