Penn State (7-6, 2-3 Big Ten) enters its conference matchup against Rutgers in University Park, Pa., on Tuesday evening coming off a loss, while the Scarlet Knights (9-5, 3-1) are coming off a victory.
However, the Nittany Lions may have had the more impressive of the two performances, both of which took place Saturday.
Penn State rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit at home against No. 3 Purdue to take a one-point lead with 3:42 left only to falter in the final stages of the game in a 74-67 loss.
Rutgers, which has won four consecutive games since returning from a COVID-19 pause, blew out conference doormat Nebraska at home, 93-65.
But this will be the Scarlet Knights’ first foray on the road since Dec. 12, when they lost to Seton Hall, 77-63. Rutgers is 0-4 this season away from its cozy, on-campus arena.
“It’s tough on the road in this league,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said after the victory over Nebraska. “We’re playing tough teams. We have to play good basketball. We have to be well-prepared. These guys (players) know. But it’s not easy to win on the road in a great league.”
It should help that Rutgers will have Geo Baker (11.9 points, 4.4 assists), who scored 27 points versus Michigan last week. He was unavailable for road losses to Massachusetts and Illinois because of an ankle injury. Leading scorer Ron Harper Jr. averages 16.3 points for Rutgers.
But key reserve Mawot Mag (4.4 points) is not expected to play after losing multiple teeth during the Michigan game. He sat out the Nebraska contest.
Seth Lundy (14.5 points), Jalen Pickett (13.3) and John Harrar (10.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) lead Penn State’s offense.
“I hate losing, but we were a good version of ourselves, and we left everything out on the court,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry, a former Purdue assistant, said after the loss to the Boilermakers.
“We’re not a bad team,” he added. “If people want to come in here and take us lightly, they can do that any day of the week they want to. … We just went toe-to-toe with the No. 3 team in the country.”
–Field Level Media