Two of the Big Ten's more offensively challenged programs squared off in Mackey Arena on Sunday and the result was, not shockingly, a low-scoring game. Penn State shot just 26 percent from the field in a 60-42 loss to Purdue, falling to 0-4 in conference play and 8-8 overall. The Nittany Lions, who are now averaging under 50 points per game in Big Ten play, had just 15 field goals and 14 turnovers.
Patrick Chambers' team shot 26 percent from the field in Sunday's loss at Purdue.
Top performers: Freshman forward Brandon Taylor led Penn State with 11 points, including a 50-foot bomb before the first-half buzzer, but did not score in the second half. D.J. Newbill had nine points, all in the second half, as well as six rebounds and four assists. Ross Travis grabbed 11 rebounds for Penn State.
Guard Ronnie Johnson led the Boilermakers (8-8, 2-2) with 13 points. D.J. Byrd and A.J. Hammons had 12 points apiece. Hammons, the 7-foot freshman, added 10 rebounds.
What went right: For about the first 30 minutes of the game, Penn State hung around, even as it watched shots rim out, on the strength of gritty defense and decent protection of the basketball. Travis led a strong effort on the glass for a team that hadn't done good rebounding work against Northwestern. Patrick Chambers got his deep reserves, including Akosa Maduegbunam, Patrick Ackerman and walk-ons Kevin Montminy and Kevin Onyeaka, plenty of playing time, giving the starters some much-needed rest.
What went wrong: Penn State continued to miss layups and baby hooks and other shots that could have made a big difference in the game or even halted the losing streak altogether. The Nittany Lions got to the foul line just 12 times and made just three 3-point shots, all from Taylor. Late in the game, Penn State's defense fell apart, allowing the Boilermakers to build a comfortable lead and cruise to just their eighth win of the season.
Statworthy: Purdue shot 45 percent from the field and just 48 percent (10-of-21) from the free-throw line. … The Nittany Lions got a combined seven points from big men Sasa Borovnjak, Jon Graham and Ackerman. … Newbill and Jermaine Marshall had seven of Penn State's eight assists.
Summary: After their most embarrassing loss of Chambers' tenure, the Nittany Lions showed up at Mackey with some fight in them. But, as has been the case so often this season, they couldn't supplement that fight with scoring. Newbill's mid-range game sputtered, the Nittany Lions didn't get Taylor many touches after he made some early shots and Hammons effectively shut down what hasn't been a prolific Penn State inside game. Chambers can't like the way his defense collapsed late in the game (against what was not exactly a prolific Purdue offense) but the overall effort was better for the Nittany Lions on Sunday. That will have to be solace enough.
Up next: Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center to host Michigan State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.