Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Tamed by No. 18 Michigan Wolverines

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2011

TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 17:  The mascot for the Penn State Nittany Lions performs during their game against the Temple Owls in the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Penn State dropped its first Big Ten contest of the year, losing by 18 to No. 18 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The loss drops PSU to last in the conference, having now an 8-6 overall record and an 0-1 record in the conference.

The margin of loss (18) ties for Penn State's second-worst of the year, which was an 18-point loss to St. Joseph's.  Their worst loss was to No. 3 Kentucky in November.

This loss to Michigan was mostly expected, as the Wolverines have been impressive thus far this season. Still, the result hurts the Nittany Lions because it puts them behind in the conference and, given Penn State's lack of depth, will probably mean they will be playing catch up for the rest of the regular season.

In the game, the Nittany Lions started out slowly, scoring only five points in the first seven minutes. The Wolverines built a 12 point lead going into halftime and never left any doubt.

Michigan's Tim Hardaway, Jr. led all scorers with 26 points.

Tim Frazier put up 20 points for Penn State, which was one of their few bright spots.  PSU turned the ball over 13 times, which was more than twice the number of assists they collected.

The Nittany Lions play again on New Year's Day against Northwestern, a team that lost its conference opener as well, falling to Ohio State, 87-54.