As the clock ticked down on Tuesday night, and it became increasingly evident that Penn State Basketball was going to pull the upset over Michigan, I had one line stuck in my head. All I could hear was ESPN’s Chris Fowler’s line from the night Penn State beat Ohio State in 2016.
“Penn State will get their signature win.”
When comparing Tuesday night’s win against the Nittany Lions upset over the Buckeyes in 2016, there is no comparison. This is a comparison of two different sports nonetheless, but that whiteout victory catapulted Penn State football into relevance, while Tuesday night’s win was just a nice moment for the basketball program.
In what is a lost season, beating Michigan is a bright spot, but is it just that, or more? There have been so many moments where the youth of Penn State has shown, with that being evident as the close losses continued to pile up.
This victory feels like a coming of age for the Nittany Lions – a moment of maturation for Pat Chambers’ team. Will this victory be enough to salvage Chambers’ job? Who knows. But it could serve as a catalyst for the growth of this Penn State team, whether Chambers is leading the charge next season or not.
Lamar Stevens is the unquestioned leader of this team, but far too often this season he has been shouldering too much of the load. Young shooters Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton have had their moments, but much of the season has been Stevens or bust.
Tuesday night, we saw those young guys take a step forward. If anything, that game was a coming of age moment for Dread and Bolton and should serve Penn State fans confidence for when those two are the faces of the program.
If that is what the Nittany Lions get out of this season, then that will have to do. There will be no postseason play beyond the Big Ten tournament, but if the talented group of freshman can show growth, then this season can be looked at as a tad better than a complete failure.
When throwing around the term “signature win,” this game won’t be looked at as such in terms of launching the program back into relevance. But, it can be looked at as a “signature win” in being a big step forward in the growth and development of this program. No one knows whether that will, or ever be the case.
Only time will tell.
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