With 7:51 left in the second half, D.J. Newbill was able to get to the basket and finish on a lay up as his team trailed.
The drive was a typical play from the redshirt sophomore, but the fact that these were his first points of the game was far from typical.
Newbill and the Nittany Lions (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten) struggled mightily to generate offense as they fell to Purdue (8-8, 2-2 Big Ten)60-42 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Lions shot 26 percent from the field going 15-for-58 , and for the second straight game they took more shots than scored points. Penn State, now on a four-game losing skid, missed plenty of shots but was hurt most by its mental mistakes. The Lions could not finish around the rim, blowing lay up opportunities and could not take care of the ball with 14 turnovers, often coming at crucial moments.
They grabbed 14 offensive rebounds but failed to take advantage of second chance opportunities, missing two or three shots on one possession at times.
The 42-point performance is the lowest for the Lions since the 2010-2011 season when they defeated Wisconsin 36-33 in the Big Ten Tournament.
Despite such poor shooting, the Lions played the Boilermakers close for the majority of the game. Penn State went into the half trailing by just eight, but riding momentum after freshman Brandon Taylor drained a buzzer-beating shot from beyond half court that hit nothing but net.
“I thought it was Purdue beating Purdue and there was some basic fundamental things that we didn’t do well,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Those guys [Penn State] were getting long block outs. Even though our numbers were good at the half there were some rebounds that they out-scraped us for.”
The Lions kept the margin within single digits until the 11:13 mark when Purdue’s D.J. Byrd hit a 3-pointer to make it 40-28. From there the Boilermakers went on a 9-2 run capped by another trey by Byrd after a missed lay up by Newbill. Byrd finished with 12 points.
The Lions were hurt by the inside-outside combination of freshmen Ronnie Johnson and A.J. Hammond. Johnson finished with a game leading 13 points, driving to penetrate the Lions’ interior, scoring while taking contact creating and-one opportunities. Johnson also played a big part in locking down Newbill, who was held to just nine points, six below his season average.
“Newbill is a good player, [Jermaine] Marshall is a good player, but they are not point guards,” Painter said. “We wanted to try to get up to them and disrupt to the best of our ability. We wanted to make them use a lot of energy bringing the ball up the court.”
The 7-foot Hammond took advantage matched up against Penn State’s undersized big men and controlling the boards, he put together a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Taylor led the way for the Lions with 11 points but was held scoreless in the second half.
The Lions resume action at home on Wednesday against No. 2 Michigan State at 7 p.m.