Penn State Basketball

Penn State looking to break out of shooting slump at Wisconsin

Penn State’s Josh Reaves goes in for a basket over Minnesota defenders this month at the Bryce Jordan Center. Reaves has faulted the Nittany Lions’ defense, saying the team “didn’t move with a purpose” in a loss to Purdue.
Penn State’s Josh Reaves goes in for a basket over Minnesota defenders this month at the Bryce Jordan Center. Reaves has faulted the Nittany Lions’ defense, saying the team “didn’t move with a purpose” in a loss to Purdue. adrey@centredaily.com

Penn State coach Patrick Chambers has often said his team’s defense needs to spark its offense.

When the Nittany Lions get stops, they can get out and run, leading to transition opportunities and more efficient offensive performances.

But after Penn State’s loss to Purdue on Saturday, Chambers is more concerned with seeing his team start to put the ball in the basket.

“You can only get so many stops,” Chambers said at the team’s media availability Monday.

Penn State has shot below 40 percent from the field in its last three games, including a 31.3 percent effort in the loss to the Boilermakers and a 30.4 percent day in a win over Minnesota. In between, the Nittany Lions shot 38.3 percent from the field in a loss to Indiana. In all three games, the Nittany Lions came out cold, shooting below 33 percent.

Penn State (11-9, 3-4 Big Ten) will look to get back on track offensively at No. 15 Wisconsin (16-3, 5-1) at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Chambers said his team isn’t moving enough on the offensive end.

“We were stagnant,” Chambers said. “We went back and clipped up Michigan State and we clipped up Michigan and we clipped up Rutgers. We’re just standing around too much and that’s not what the offense is supposed to do.”

While Chambers didn’t point to his team’s defense as part of the problem against Purdue, Penn State guard Josh Reaves did.

“When we start getting stagnant, it’s because our defense isn’t really where we need it to be,” Reaves said. “Watching film, we didn’t move with a purpose. We were just moving, but we weren’t doing it with a purpose.”

The Nittany Lions didn’t attack like they have throughout the season, either.

They finished 4 for 6 from the free-throw line — well below their average of 20.7 free-throw attempts going into the game against Purdue.

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