STATE COLLEGE In last night”s do-or-die game, the Wolverines died, losing 77-66 to Penn State.
Michigan”s 18 turnovers dampered its chances of winning.
“We can”t turn the ball over,” junior center Chris Young said. “We had 18 turnovers in the game, 10 at the half, that”s what lost the game for us. We weren”t careful with the ball, we threw it all over the place.”
Young said that free throws played a large role in the loss as well.
“When we go to the line, we have to take advantage. I missed a couple free throws, we missed a couple free throws here and there, when we get to the line, we have to take advantage.”
Young finished the game perfect from the field and with 17 points, two shy of his career high. He carried Michigan (3-7 Big Ten, 9-12 overall) through stretches of the first half.
Penn State attempted 36 free throws, to Michigan”s 17 attempts. Penn State converted 28 of those attempts to Michigan”s 13.
“We got to the free-throw line and that”s really important, especially when we”re not shooting well from behind the line like tonight.” Penn State coach Jerry Dunn said. Penn State was 3-for-17 from 3-point range.
“Twenty-eight-to-13 sums that up,” Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said of the discrepancy in free throw attempts.
Michigan could not stop Gyasi Cline-Heard or Joe Crispin, as the two scored 21 and 20 points respectively. The Wolverines knew stopping Crispin would be tough, but did not expect Cline-Heard to play so well.
“I thought Gyasi played pretty well in the first half,” Ellerbe said.
The loss means Michigan needs to win its four remaining home games one of which is against No. 14 Iowa and either win at Indiana or at No. 4 Michigan State in order to qualify for the NIT before the Big Ten Tournament. Both sites have been very tough on Michigan in the past.
Michigan would likely play either Illinois or Michigan State in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, so a run is unlikely.
What makes the loss even tougher for the Wolverines is that the Nittany Lions were beatable Michigan was within five points for nearly the entire game.
The game marked the second time this season that freshman Avery Queen played all 40 minutes of the game. Queen played all 40 minutes because his backup, freshman Maurice Searight, had the flu.
Searight refused to comment.
“It”s pretty tough,” Queen said. “He should be ready” for Sunday”s Indiana game.
“It”s tough for Queen,” Young said. “He had to chase Crispin around through 15 screens on every possession. To stay in there and go through that for 40 minutes is incredibly tough and is going to wear on anyone.”
Queen finished that game with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting. More importantly, he finished with three turnovers.