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Spring Grove grad Eli Brooks scores 12 points, but his Michigan team falls to Penn State

STAFF AND WIRE REPORT
  • Penn State earned a 72-63 victory over Michigan on Wednesday in men's basketball.
  • Spring Grove grad Eli Brooks scored 12 points in a losing cause for Michigan.
  • It was Penn State's first road win in the Big Ten Conference this season.
Michigan guard Eli Brooks shoots against Penn State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In a game of significant interest in York County, Eli Brooks scored in double digits, but his Michigan Wolverines suffered a costly Big Ten home loss to Penn State on Wednesday night, 72-63.

Brooks, a Spring Grove High School graduate, finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal for Michigan. He finished 4 for 12 from the field and 1 for 5 from 3-point range.

That wasn't enough, however, to prevent Penn State from grabbing its first Big Ten road win of the season.

Lamar Stevens started scoring right away for PSU. Then Curtis Jones arrived in the second half and helped Penn State hold on the win.

Chambers doesn't like layoff: Now coach Patrick Chambers wishes his team could play again soon.

“I'm almost disappointed that we have a week off here,” Chambers said. “I think we're starting to play our best basketball heading into February, and now we have some time off."

HEISER: Spring Grove High grad Eli Brooks overcomes struggles to thrive for Michigan

The Nittany Lions don't play again until the middle of next week, but that gives them a little extra time to enjoy their latest victory. Stevens scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half, and Penn State was in control for most of the game.

Penn State guard Izaiah Brockington (12) shoots over Michigan guard Eli Brooks (55) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Jones and Jones: Curtis Jones scored 18 points — all in the second half — and Myreon Jones added 16 for the Nittany Lions, who handed Michigan its third straight loss. Penn State led by nine at halftime and extended its advantage into double digits soon after that.

Zavier Simpson led Michigan with 18 points, but the Wolverines (11-7, 2-5 Big Ten) made just three of their first 21 shots from the field in the second half.

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“They played good defense," Brooks said. "We just didn't knock down shots.”

Consecutive wins vs. Wolverines: Penn State (14-5, 4-4) also beat Michigan last season. This is the first time the Nittany Lions have won consecutive games over the Wolverines since 2008 and 2009. Penn State also snapped a seven-game losing streak at Crisler Center.

“I thought it was a whole team win,” Stevens said. “I got off to a good start, but I felt like everybody contributed.”

It was an impressive performance by the Nittany Lions on the road. They have recovered nicely from a three-game losing streak in the middle of the month, posting wins over Ohio State and Michigan.

“That’s big because in the Big Ten there haven’t been many road wins, so for us, we try to come in — we call them road kills — and try to steal as many as we can," Curtis Jones said.

Cold stretch doomed Michigan: The Wolverines were 10 of 16 from the field at one point, but they endured a 6-for-34 stretch after that and couldn't seem to stem the tide. Most of Michigan's problems lately have come on the road, but this was an ugly loss at home. Coach Juwan Howard was asked afterward if he was concerned about things snowballing.

“I got that under control,” Howard said. “You can trust me on that one. There's not going to be any doubt in that locker room. We will not lose trust in one another. There is a lot of season to be played.”

Second-half man: Curtis Jones did not attempt a shot in the first half and played just 2:37. Then in the second, he went 7 of 9 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Jones, in his first season after transferring from Oklahoma State, equaled his season high in scoring.

“I talked to Curtis before I put him in, and I said, ‘These moments are made for seniors. It's your time,'” Chambers said. “He really stepped up in a big way."

Michigan used only seven players. Simpson played all 40 minutes and had six assists to go along with his team-leading scoring total, but he also had six turnovers and shot 8 of 23 from the field. Brooks played 36 minutes.

Up next: The Nittany Lions host Indiana next Wednesday night. The Wolverines host No. 21 Illinois on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.