EVANSTON, Ill. – Despite holding Northwestern to a season-low 31.7 FG%, the Penn State men’s basketball team dropped a 68-63 road game at Northwestern Sunday afternoon.
Junior Nick Kern Jr. was 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points and seven rebounds. Senior Ace Baldwin Jr. led the Nittany Lions with 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Junior Zach Hicks rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Zach Hicks drilled a triple for the game’s first basket as the Nittany Lions got out to a 7-2 lead just under three minutes into the game.
- Northwestern knotted the score at 7-7 a minute and a half later before taking a 16-12 lead at the 10:35 mark.
- A Nick Kern Jr. layup with 10:19 left in the first half sparked a 10-2 Penn State run over the next four minutes as the Nittany Lions pulled ahead 22-18 with 6:42 left on the first-half clock.
- The Wildcats answered with an 11-3 stretch behind a 7-for-7 showing from the free throw line in the next 4:58. A pair of Ace Baldwin Jr. free throws ended the term as the Wildcats took a slim 29-27 lead into the break.
- Neither team led by more than three points through the first six minutes of the second half until Northwestern used an 8-1 stretch from 13:51 to 11:01 to force a Penn State timeout and take a 48-40 lead.
- The Nittany Lion defense fueled a 13-6 stretch over the next 6:35 that pulled Penn State back within one at 54-53 with 4:08 to play. Penn State didn’t allow a Wildcat field goal for over five minutes during the run.
- A Ryan Langborg triple at the 3:47 mark broke Penn State’s streak. The Nittany Lions went cold as Northwestern used a 7-0 streak to pull ahead 61-53 with 39 seconds to play.
- Baldwin Jr. and Hicks both drilled triples and Kern Jr. added four points in the final 30 seconds, but the Wildcats closed the game from the free throw line to earn the 68-63 win.
- Penn State saw its three-game win streak come to an end. The Nittany Lions now sit 12-12 overall and 6-7 in conference play.
- The Penn State defense held the Wildcats to a season-low 31.7 FG%, but Northwestern was 81.5 percent (22-27) from the free throw line.
- The Nittany Lions recorded a season-best 10 blocks, including five from Qudus Wahab.
- Ace Baldwin Jr. collected his 250th career steal in this afternoon’s contest at Northwestern. Baldwin Jr. is the only active Division I player to have amassed 1,000+ points, 500+ assists and 250+ steals. The senior finished with 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals Sunday.
- Zach Hicks recorded his third consecutive double-digit scoring effort with 14 against the Wildcats. Hicks added five rebounds, two assists, and a block to his final line.
- Nick Kern Jr. posted 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block against Northwestern. Kern Jr. exceeded his scoring output from the previous three games combined (13 pts), tying his season-best scoring mark with 18 points on Sunday.
- The Nittany Lions return home Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. to take on Michigan State inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
The 2023-24 Penn State men’s basketball season is presented by Highmark Health.