Making the NCAA tournament was a pie in the sky expectation heading into the Big Ten Tournament. The climb was too high, and now in all likelihood, the brief Jim Ferry era has come to an end after a furious second half comeback came up just one point short in a 75-74 loss to Wisconsin in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
|1st Half||2nd Half||Final|
The Nittany Lions jumped out to an early lead before senior big man John Harrar picked up his second foul with 9:04 to play in the opening half. With Penn State up 19-14 at that point, the Badgers responded with a 26-12 run to end the first half up 41-31. That deficit seemed small compared to the last two games, but ended up being just enough.
The second half was nothing like the night before as Wisconsin gained total control. The Badgers extended their lead to as much as 18, but the Nittany Lions once again showed their grit. After a 17-2 run to close the game, Penn State had the ball with a chance to win. Sam Sessoms attempted pass to an open Harrar under the basket was deflected, however, essentially allowing the Badgers to run out the final second.
Sessoms lead all scorers with 18 points. Myreon Jones (11) and Jamari Wheeler (10) were the only other Nittany Lions in double digits. Aleem Ford led Wisconsin with 17 points.
It was the same old story once again as Penn State lost another close basketball game. Jim Ferry did an admirable job this season under tough circumstances to lead this team. If a few close losses end up being wins, the script is different, but now it's another footnote in the woulda/shoulda plague that dooms this program.
The season may not be over, however, after head coach Jim Ferry's comments in his postgame interview.
Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry said everyone is on the same page about the NIT: If we get invited, wed be more than happy. Wed be excited to play in the NIT.— Daniel Gallen (@danieljtgallen) March 12, 2021
The NIT tips off in Texas next week with 16 teams.