UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –
Rutgers (12-11, 2-8) held Penn State (15-8, 5-5) to 17 points below its season scoring average, but was unable to overcome a 31.4 percent (16-of-51) shooting performance in a 60-43 loss to the Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center. Issa Thiam
paced RU with 12 points in a game that featured four ties and nine lead changes in the opening half.
"Credit to Penn State," said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell
. "They're coming off a win over a great Ohio State team. They're very talented. We couldn't score today, and sometimes that affects us on the defensive end as well."
PSU established a 42-27 rebounding advantage, resulting in a 34-18 disparity in points in the paint and a 12-0 margin in second chance points. The Scarlet Knights entered the game ranked ninth nationally in both rebounding (40.91) and offensive rebounding (13.95), but grabbed only two offensive boards.
The Nittany Lions made 43.6 percent (24-of-and 55) of their field goal attempts and had three players score in double figures.
"Sometimes you have a night like this on the road against a good team," said Pikiell. "We just couldn't get the ball to go in the basket."
Rutgers opened with a 6-4 edge, courtesy of a defense that limited Penn State to a 1-of-9 start from the field. The Nittany Lions followed with a 6-2 run to establish a 12-8 lead. The Scarlet Knights countered with a five point burst, and a back-and-forth tempo ensued.
Trailing by two, PSU registered the final seven points of the stanza to take a 28-23 advantage in to the locker room at the midpoint.
led RU with seven points in the opening frame, while Deshawn Freeman
contributed six points and five rebounds.
The Scarlet Knights were off the mark on their initial seven shots after the break, enabling a 9-0 run and a 37-23 Penn State lead. RU responded with seven consecutive points to reduce its deficit to seven, but would get no closer.
"Playing Rutgers is extremely difficult," said Penn State head coach Pat Chambers. "They make you grind. With their defense, they make it really hard on you. Give them credit, they did a really good job on that end. That's one of the best defensive teams in the Big Ten."
Rutgers remains on the road to meet Illinois in a 7 p.m. (ET) tip-off on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on BTN.
Single game tickets for Rutgers men's basketball home games are available online
or by calling the Rutgers Ticket Office at 1-866-445-GORU.
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- Candido Sa had his most ever points against a Big Ten opponent with seven.
- Issa Thiam had his seventh double-digit scoring game of the season (ninth career).
- With one steal Corey Sanders passes Craig Carter for sole possession of 12th place all-time at RU with 124 career steals.
- Penn State now leads the all-time series 41-31.