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Posted on Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

Penn State upsets Michigan basketball team, 55-51, to snap Wolverines' 2-game winning streak

By Michael Rothstein

The Michigan basketball players sat in front of their lockers, shoulders slumped, heads down, disappointment obvious, frustration palpable.

Penn State entered Crisler Arena on Saturday as the worst team in the Big Ten, a team guaranteed to finish under .500 for the year, one that before Wednesday hadn’t won in 2010. And yet here the Wolverines were, minutes off a 55-51 loss to the Nittany Lions, stunned.

Any momentum Michigan (13-13 overall, 6-8 Big Ten) had from winning back-to-back road games at Minnesota and Iowa - gone. Confidence - shattered. The season - considering Michigan has to play three of the Big Ten’s top teams in the final four games of the regular season - could finish below .500.


Michigan's DeShawn Sims, right, tries to rip the ball from Penn State's Tim Frazier, left, who looks to the official hoping for a jump ball call in second-half action of the Wolverines' 55-51 loss to Penn State on Saturday. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Meanwhile, it put Michigan’s season back into a funk.

“Very irritating,” junior guard Manny Harris said. “We are all disappointed, still fight like we’ve been doing, but it’s a very disappointing loss.”

Saturday, though, was the epitome of Michigan’s season. The Nittany Lions scored just four points in the last 7 minutes, 53 seconds and won.

The Wolverines couldn’t do anything right. Michigan shot 21.4 percent from the 3-point line - lowlighted by a 1-of-12 performance in the second half that erased the positive feelings of two straight games shooting over 50 percent from the 3-point line.

Sophomore guards Stu Douglass, Zack Novak and Laval Lucas-Perry combined to shoot 2-of-17 from the 3-point line.

As has Michigan’s theme this season, the defense returned to the woes of December and early January, when Michigan couldn’t stop anyone. The Nittany Lions (10-16, 2-12) had five straight layups in the first half, most of which were open by Big Ten standards.

In every way, this was a meltdown for a Michigan team fighting to try and salvage a year.

In many ways, Saturday was a step back. Senior forward DeShawn Sims, who has had a good Big Ten season, was limited to 10 points. Michigan received only one point from its bench.

And much like the beginning of the year, the Wolverines needed Harris to bail them out. The junior guard scored Michigan’s last seven points and cut the Penn State lead to two, 53-51, with 4:07 left for the last of his 20 points.

But then Michigan didn’t score the rest of the way.

“When we haven’t shot well, we are a distracted team and that’s what happens,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Now you’re thinking about the missed shot and not thinking about getting the loose ball. They really care, but you’ve got to let it roll off you and move on to the next play.”

Moving on to the next play might be the least of the Wolverines’ worries. Michigan’s locker room had the same feel to it after the team had lost to Michigan State, 57-56, on a missed buzzer beater by Sims.

After beating Iowa, the Wolverines were then blown out of their next two games against Northwestern and Wisconsin.

And Michigan was put in this position again by Penn State junior guard Talor Battle, who had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He also had the assist on the game-clinching bucket, when almost every Michigan player collapsed on him as he drove the lane.

One of the best point guards in the conference, he found forward Jeff Brooks on the right baseline and he made the contested 15-footer to set up the final margin.

“Everybody at Michigan thought I was going to shoot the ball,” Battle said. “I was relentless. I continued, they cut me off one way and drove down the middle and got my man beat and I seen DeShawn step up, and I didn’t want to take a running shot.”

When he found Brooks and he made the shot, it sent the fans in Crisler Arena heading for the exit. It left Beilein frustrated, lamenting how what could have been a six-point win in his estimation fell into a four-point loss.

In reality, though, none of this is surprising. This is what Michigan is this season - an inconsistent team unable to string together more than two good performances and wins in a row. A team that was supposed to shoot well but hasn’t.

A team that plays well on defense. Sometimes.

And in every way, Michigan’s loss to Penn State summed up how the Wolverines have gone this year.

“This is a perfect example, isn’t it? Perfect example,” Beilein said. We just have to continue to work at it, and you know it is just great fertilizer for the future.”

Box score | Big Ten standings

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 10:14 p.m.

Continuing the thought from KelseyHayes... What happened was Bill Martin. It appears to be part of a strategy to de-emphasize and lower the expectations for the 2 major men's athletic sports. The strategy worked. Both sports are now less than average. Bottom half, and even bottom half of the bottom half, of the Big Ten.


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

This team is terrible- just terrible! Any words to the contrary are simply foolish. They are mentally weak, woefully inconsistent and not worthy of ANY tournament appearance. I know the University is very high on John Beilein, but the characteristics of a top program- solid recruiting, mental toughness and the creation of a real home court advantage, are still missing three years later. A quick glance at and's top recruits for next year reveal that NONE of them are considering Michigan. Home court losses to Northwestern and Penn State? Are you KIDDING me? Michigan basketball is right there with Michigan football. Both programs are just sort of stagnant and average. What the heck hapened?


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

I was puzzled as to why there was such a rush to give JB a contract extension through the year 2015. Manny Harris and Sims will be gone next season, and with the current players and new recruits coming in, don't expect M to be a contender in anything. Whether Jb wins or lose, go or stay, he will be set for life. Harris owes it to himself to look out his best interest and leave after this season ends. If you think his NBA stock went down this year from last, if he sticks around for next year it will go down even further. The MBA scouts no what Manny's potentials are so he will get drafted. Manny, get out of here. I think its interesting that Amaker may go to the big dance this year. Good luck Tommy!


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

LLP and Manny - two reasons that we are so inconsistent. If Sims is doubled, we have nothing. Does anyone wonder why LLP didn't play at AZ? Harris, he believes he is so great, reminds me of "The Judge". He'll NEVER play in the NBA.


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

Once again, four minutes left, down 2, in the bonus! Nobody drives the lane! JB has failed to coach these kids at the most crucial times! How can we recruit so many guards and none of them can break down a defense? Talor Battle made our guards look silly! The thought that "Michigan" is not a basketball school is crap! It used to be and needs to be again! Lookup "M" overall record against other bigten schools and we hold hold the edge in most! Bring Michigan Pride back to Hoops! This is ridiculous! Dick Vitale was on point when he stated "we should be able to get the crem de la should want to wear that uniform". Class of 89 LS&A


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

A small blip on the way to tournament glory......Ha ha ha ha. I want some of that which you must be smoking.

Jon Saalberg

Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 8:18 a.m.

At least they're better than the football team...


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : midnight

Yes MSU lost to Northwestern and Penn State...... But they did NOT lose to everybody else in the league... Remember they won the Big Ten championship last year. Michigan basketball is a joke at least Tommy got them in the N.I.T!!


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 11:13 p.m.

JB / Ellerbee same result.This West Virgina pipeline has certainly been a bust. The lack of talent, toughness, heart, and desire on this team make much like Ellerbee's teams. Time for a change and I do NOT mean an extension. It is time to bring in a staff that understands what Michigan has to offer young men in terms of education and tradition and bring in Fab Five II.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 10:49 p.m.

Beaten at home by the worst team in the Big Ten. Horrible loss. Can we forfeit the last 4 games? The remaining games only prolong the agony of this horribly mediocre inconsistent season. I can't watch another performance like this one.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

It is absolutely crystal clear that JB will be fired after next year. anybody who says different doesn't understand college basketball or basket ball recruiting. Without Manny and Sims this team won't finish in the middle of the MAC. For the polly-annish fans out there sorry, it is inevitable.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 9:34 p.m.

Losses to Norhwestern and PSU at home. Isn't that exactly what happened to Michigan State exactly one year ago? WOE.....


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 9:31 p.m.

Tough loss, but anyone could see this was a difficult matchup for UM. Last week, when MSU beat Penn State on the road by 11, several UM posters laughed it up about MSU "only" beating PSU by 11. That was odd since PSU had played lots of teams pretty tough. Now I guess UM fans have a better understanding.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 9:15 p.m.

This team is a joke... They probably could not even compete in the MAC. Come on JB recruit toughness and not slow guards that can't hit the ocean. If Manny was smart he would bolt because this offense is a joke.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Lack of focus on the offensive end, lack of on the floor leadership to get the offense into good shots, There defense is fine, but once again way to many three point shots and overall just bad shot selection. They take 3's when there is no one to rebound, no inside outside game. I question why the coach does not force the team to run some set plays to get the ball inside when its obvious the team is in a scoring drought. Makes no sense at all!! All the players need to play with a higher basketball IQ...but also the coaches need to step up!!! They have lost way to many games like this!!!

robert brinker

Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

OMG!!! What will happen next year when the leaders will be STU DOUGLAS and LUCAS PERRY!! TOMMY AMAKER was so close YUK


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

Argh, this was the very definition of a BAD LOSS. Michigan seemed to relax too much after winning two road games. Somehow we have to maintain focus for this type of game. Must give PSU much of the credit -- I think that they played MSU very tough last week.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:21 p.m.

Scrabble Tournament. Ha Ha. I like that. The best team in the country? Ha-Ha. This means we're condemned to the rest of the winter eating boogers.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:11 p.m.

Ugh! Losing to PSU at home is awful, especially when needing a run to end the season. I hate to say it, but with today's loss, I don't even know if we're NIT worthy. PSU at home? If we can't beat them at home, winning the B10 tourney is tough to even consider. Disappointing loss for sure.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:09 p.m.

Another heartbreaking loss, but U-M can still make the tournament. The Scrabble tournament being held in Bug Tussle, Tennessee.


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 8:01 p.m.

What's new. So much inconsistancy. This team is horrible. Good luck next season when you're only offense is gone.