Penn State was out of sorts at the first media timeout.
The Nittany Lions misfired on four 3-pointers over their first four possessions. They came up empty on their lone drive to the rim. And they committed their first turnover when Devin Foster made a pass to D.J. Newbill beyond the arc as the shot clock ran out just before the stop in play.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Penn State was still out of sorts and took its first timeout. It was a theme that continued inside Value City Arena on Wednesday where the Nittany Lions never found their rhythm and lost 75-55 to No. 23 Ohio State.
Penn State missed its first eight shots, went scoreless for nearly seven minutes to start the game and trailed by double digits for the final 25-plus minutes.
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The Nittany Lions (15-10, 3-9) shot 32.2 percent from the field and suffered their largest loss of the season. Newbill scored a team-high 16 points and Brandon Taylor finished with 11.
“I thought we took some really good shots in that first four minutes and they didn’t fall,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “And for the first time, I saw us get deflated. I haven’t seen that all year. In the nonconference, it happened but we battled back, we fought back. Even in this Big Ten season, it’s happened and we fought back and give Ohio State a lot of credit, they wouldn’t let us back.”
Penn State swept Ohio State (19-6, 8-4) last season, beating the Buckeyes 71-70 in overtime in Columbus and 65-63 at the Bryce Jordan Center. But the Nittany Lions never threatened to pull the upset Wednesday night as Ohio State’s Sam Thompson scored a career-high 22 points and D’Angelo Russell finished with 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
“I thought Sam Thompson was terrific and that’s what seniors do,” Chambers said. “And he was on that team last year, I’m sure he had a little bit of extra oomph to play against us, especially here. ... But I definitely think missing shots early really threw us off kilter and we didn’t really, you know, we didn’t play very hard tonight, which is unfortunate.”
Penn State was 0 for 8 from the field and trailed 12-0 before Julian Moore got the Nittany Lions on the board with 13 minutes left in the half.
Ohio State’s Kam Williams knocked down a jumper to push his team ahead 15-5, becoming the seventh Ohio State player to score in the first nine minutes.
Twelve minutes into the game, Shep Garner was the lone Penn State starter to score. Newbill’s first bucket came with 6:27 left in the half. He was limited to 5 of 13 shooting.
“They played really hard and they took us out of a lot of things,” Chambers said. “They made D.J. Newbill’s life very uncomfortable for most of the game.”
The Nittany Lions shot 29.6 percent from the field and committed nine turnovers in the first half. They trailed Ohio State 37-23 at the break and trailed by as many as 22 points.
Penn State had lost one other game by double digits this season, a 17-point setback to then-No. 4 Wisconsin in the conference opener.
The Nittany Lions host No. 19 Maryland at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The Terrapins beat Penn State 64-58 last week.
“We got to pick ourselves back up and we got a heck of a challenge on Saturday,” Chambers said. “And we’ll go back to work tomorrow and work on the things that we didn’t do well tonight.”
Notes: Penn State finished with 15 turnovers and seven assists. ... Garner was third on the team with nine points on 3 for 11 shooting. ... PSU shot 6 for 17 from beyond the arc. ... Ohio State’s Anthony Lee did not play due to a left groin injury. He was the Buckeyes’ starting center the previous five games. ... Ohio State’s Marc Loving, the team’s second-leading scorer, did not play for the third straight game due to an undisclosed disciplinary reason. ... Thompson’s previous career-high was 20 points against Iona in the 2013 NCAA tournament.