UMass 81, Penn State 56: Lions Blown Out As Buttrick Helps Lead Minutemen to Win

By Vincent Lungaro on November 15, 2021 at 10:24 pm
Nov 10, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry reacts to a play against the Youngstown State Penguins during the second half at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If Penn State's opener was a near-perfect start for Micah Shrewsberry. Game number two was significantly less than that.

The Nittany Lions were sluggish offensively and couldn't slow down a hot-shooting UMass team, dropping their first game of the season, 81-56.

  First half second half final
UMass 37 44 81
PENN STATE 33 23 56

Former Penn State player Trent Buttrick led the way for the Minutemen as he clearly relished this matchup against his former team. Buttrick, who was a bench player in his four seasons in Happy Valley, lit up the Nittany Lions for 19 points, six assists and 3 steals. Longtime Penn State fans probably saw that one coming. 

He wasn't the only one who excelled on the night for the Minutemen, though. CJ Kelly added 17 points, while Quinnipiac transfer Rich Kelly knocked down multiple threes en route to a 17-point performance of his own. Noah Fernandes was a thorn in Penn State's side all night, adding 13 points and 3 assists. 

Even forward Dibaji Walker, who made just two 3-pointers all season last year, knocked down back-to-back triples near the end of the first half to push UMass' lead to 37-28 at the 2:46 mark. It was just that kind of night for Penn State. 

The Nittany Lions closed the half with a 5-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 37-33 at the break. But the start of the second half proved to be Penn State's undoing. Shrewsberry's team opened up the half with back-to-back offensive fouls and a turnover, not even getting a shot off as the Minutemen raced out of the gates. 

A 15-2 run later, and the Nittany Lions stared at a 52-35 deficit. The lead ballooned to 22 at the 9:09 mark, and Penn State never again threatened their former A-10 rival. 

While the defense struggled to slow down UMass' fast-paced 3-point attack, the offense was just as ugly. Penn State found no rhythm at all, shooting just 37 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three. 

The Nittany Lions were also loose with the basketball, coughing up 15 turnovers to UMass' eight. 

Seth Lundy finished with a team-high 14 points but was nowhere near as aggressive as he was the other night in the win over Youngstown State. Sam Sessoms added 12 points, while Jalen Pickett had a team-high 7 assists. 

John Harrar finished with 8 points and 12 rebounds, in what was a quiet night for him offensively. He struggled on defense as well and couldn't cope with Buttrick stepping away from the basket to the 3-point line. 

It's hard to get much worse than that performance for the Nittany Lions, who will look to put it behind them when they host St. Francis Brooklyn on Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center.