They've been a consistent problem for Penn State this season and it's an issue head coach Micah Shrewsberry has said must improve for the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, those struggles continued for Penn State in Wednesday's 63-58 loss to Miami.
The Nittany Lions committed 14 turnovers in a very sloppy performance that will no doubt leave Shrewsberry frustrated.
Miami didn't even really do anything special offensively, shooting just 43.1% from the field, compared to Penn State's 43.4%. But Nittany Lions' inability to hang on to the basketball proved to be the difference in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup.
The first half was pretty much back and forth until a seven-and-a-half minute stretch to wind down the opening period where the Nittany Lions turned the ball over eight times, including two out of a timeout. Once where Sam Sessoms got hit with a five-second call along the baseline and another where Sessoms dribbled the ball into pressure in the backcourt of an inbounds pass, leading to a steal for the Hurricanes.
Miami's plan to hedge hard off Penn State ball screens was a particular difference-maker, with the Nittany Lions struggling to get into a rhythm offensively. Oftentimes, Penn State had to settle for tough jumpers (when it didn't turn the ball over) from players like Lundy or Pickett.
The second half started brightly for the Nittany Lions, who used a 10-0 spurt to regain the lead at 40-38. A Jalanni White layup pushed the lead to five at the 14:04 mark.
Miami wasn’t going anywhere, though.
The Hurricanes clawed back and took command of the game again, going on a 13-3 stretch to lead 54-48 with less than seven minutes to go The turnovers popped up again for Penn State, with three more of them coming in that run for The U.
Penn State hung around and was just one defensive stop away from a chance to tie the game with just over a minute to go. The Hurricanes missed a jumper but the Nittany Lions were unable to track down the rebound, giving Miami an extra possession.
That board cost the Lions as Kameron McGusty nailed a triple with a hand in his face in what proved to be the dagger.
That 3-pointer highlighted the bucking of a poor shooting trend for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes entered the night No. 335 out of 350 Division I teams in 3-point shooting.
Miami knocked down nine triples, including four in a row to open the game and three straight to start the second half. Nine-of-25 might not seem any good, but when you consider the Hurricanes shot 27 percent from three in the seven prior games, it proved to be a huge boost for Jim Larrañaga's squad.
John Harrar led all scorers with 16 points, while Seth Lundy finished with 14 points. It was another quiet day for Sam Sessoms, as Penn State's offensive engine at times this season was just 4-of-12 for 8 points.
Penn State returns to action on Sunday to open up its Big Ten campaign against Ohio State. Taking bets now for how many points Jamari Wheeler drops on his old team.