Another game against a top-20 team resulted in another uneven loss for Penn State on Saturday, as No. 14 Ohio State couldn't pull too far away but was never in any real danger in a 65-51 defeat of the Nittany Lions in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Buckeyes got just 11 points from Deshaun Thomas, nearly nine fewer than his Big Ten-leading season average, but had solid games from their role players and held Penn State (8-12, 0-8 Big Ten), which lost its eighth straight game, without a field goal for an 11-minute stretch in the first half while building a double-digit lead it would not relinquish.
Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill hit their season averages but got little offensive support in Saturday's loss to Ohio State.
Top performers: Once again, Penn State got solid offensive games from guards Jermaine Marshall (16 points on 4-of-11 shooting) and D.J. Newbill (15 points on 5-of-9 shooting) but very little from anyone else. Newbill had six assists and just one turnover.
Sam Thompson led the Buckeyes (15-4, 5-2) with 16 points, going 6-of-7 from the field. Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 11 points each for Ohio State.
What went right: Penn State took excellent care of the basketball, committing a season-low four turnovers. Once again, the Nittany Lions got open looks from different parts of the floor with decent ball movement. Defensively, they did a strong job on Thomas and kept the Buckeyes off-balance with some different looks.
What went wrong: The Nittany Lions simply cannot score enough to keep pace with the Big Ten's better teams, and Saturday was no exception. Penn State had 30 missed field goals but came up with only two offensive rebounds. Role players Brandon Taylor (three points on 1-of-8 shooting, all threes) and Ross Travis (zero points and one rebound in 22 minutes) were of almost no help to Newbill and Marshall. Penn State missed nine of its 22 free-throw attempts, including the front end of a 1-and-1.
Statworthy: Forward Jon Graham had a team-high six rebounds and two blocked shots in 13 minutes off the bench. … Penn State hasn't beaten the Buckeyes since 2004, going 0-18 in that span. … Newbill and Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft combined for 11 assists, 10 rebounds and just two turnovers. Both played 39 minutes.
Quotable: "I don't know if there's a team in the Big Ten that plays harder." -- Ohio State coach Thad Matta, on Penn State
"We missed a couple shots we usually make. Some of it was (Ohio State) playing good defense, some was missing shots we usually make." -- D.J. Newbill, on Penn State's 17-of-47 (36 percent) performance from the field
"We're getting better. You might not see it, but I see it. We're playing against the best teams in the country." -- Penn State coach Patrick Chambers
Summary: Ohio State went five minutes without a point early in the second half and still held a double-digit advantage during that time. That tells you all you need to know about a Penn State offense that, with the exception of a solid second half against Michigan State, has ranged from bad to just plain terrible in conference play. Newbill and Marshall cannot do it alone and, though their teammates are getting open looks, no one is knocking them down. Penn State needs Travis and Taylor to step up and, more importantly, for the entire team to play the same kind of defense it showed in flashes Saturday for prolonged stretches. Iowa is not in the same league as Ohio State or Indiana but the road has not been kind to the Nittany Lions this season.
Up next: The Nittany Lions will visit Iowa at 8 p.m. Thursday.