Penn State toughness is to be tested against Indiana

Micah Shrewsberry recognized the difference immediately after Penn State’s defeat at Palestra. The Nittany Lions, six points down Sunday night at No. 1 Purdue, lost their lead and consequently lost their leadership immediately in the second half.

A repeat of Penn State’s evaporated lead against Iowa at the Bryce Jordan Center seven days ago and losing to Clemson in November, circumstances drew Shrewsberry’s wrath.

So he called it out.

“It’s something we need to tackle as a team. We have to get better,” Shrewsberry said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened. I talk in the dressing room about how we need to come out, how we need to play, how we need to do things with energy. Sometimes I sugarcoat it and dance around it, but we have to get better.

“We need seniors to play like seniors… I thought that would make a big difference in the game. Zach (Edey) was a problem. But their newcomer played like seniors. I thought our seniors were like freshmen.”

Penn State second half lapsed

The message was transparent and signaled his dissatisfaction with performance gaps against opponents Penn State has faced and at times led this season.

And Shrewsberry’s message focused mostly on his disappointment at the effort. When asked if he was playing in Philadelphia and what it meant for the program, he said his Penn State team didn’t play with the same toughness or fight they did in building their 37-31 lead over the Boilermakers.

Leading that mistake was a group of players that Penn State counted on as the foundation of this year’s team. A responsibility shared among the likes of veterans, including Myles Dread, Andrew Funk, Seth Lundyand Camren WynterShrewsberry insisted in the aftermath of the game that the immaterial elders needed to be brought to justice quickly to emerge from that group.

“Only more mature, doing what we ask of them in certain moments”, Shrewsberry said Monday. “Different games, different moments require different things. Sometimes it’s scoring, sometimes defending, sometimes leading and sometimes attitude. A senior brings that with him.

“As a freshman, when you look at the magnitude of college basketball, you want to play. As a sophomore you want to start, as a junior you want to be a conference. As a senior you want to win and you will do anything to win. That’s number one and it should be number one in these guys’ minds.”

Next Steps

The Penn State seniors get a shot at Wednesday’s BJC (7 p.m. BTN) against Indiana.

Shrewsberry pointed to a Hoosier team similarly mired in defeat Trayce Jackson Davis, Jalen Hood-Schifinoand Mueller Kopp as Portions of an Indiana roster who will cause Penn State problems with their physicality.

“Their defensive presence makes them one of the more physical, active defensive teams. And they’re going to make it difficult for us, they’re going to challenge us,” Shrewsberry said. “So this will be a good test for us. We need to recover, we need to find our boast. We have to find our toughness because we will need it.”