Michigan lost at Penn State on Tuesday, 75-69, for the first time since 2013. In both instances, Michigan had a top-10 team and the Nittany Lions were at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Making matters worse, Beilein was ejected on Tuesday and watched the second half from the locker room. It is believed to be only the second ejection of his 43-year coaching career and his first technical foul since the 2016-17 season.
As the first half buzzer sounded, Michigan trailed 40-27, and Beilein argued with the referees, presumably regarding a non-foul on the final possession. The 66-year-old coach was hit with successive technical fouls and, as a result, ejected from the game.
In turn, Penn State was awarded four free throws to start the second half, making three to push its lead to 16. Michigan's top assistant, Saddi Washington, replaced Beilein in the second half. Washington was the interim head coach during Michigan’s three games in Spain in August, when Beilein was sidelined after heart surgery.
Despite the adversity, Michigan hung around, getting as close as four points. Charles Matthews led the comeback effort with 24 points. Jordan Poole added 17. But Lamar Stevens' 26 points and 11 rebounds were too much to overcome. Myles Dread added 17 points, making five 3s, for the victors.
It was a stunning loss for the sixth-ranked Wolverines, who fell to 22-3 and 11-3 in the Big Ten. For Penn State (9-15), it was just its second conference win of the season. It was no surprise, then, that fans rushed the floor, just as had been the case in Michigan's previous two losses this season.
Michigan had won eight straight against the Nittany Lions, last losing in 2013 when the when the Wolverines brought their fourth-ranked squad to State College late in the season and handed Penn State its first Big Ten win. Michigan reached the national championship that season.
Michigan is now in a virtual three-way tie atop the Big Ten with Purdue and Michigan State, both of whom also have three league losses.
Michigan fought uphill throughout Tuesday's game. Penn State made more 3s in the first four minutes (two) than it made in the entire first matchup -- a 68-55 Michigan win on Jan. 3 -- and led 12-7 early. Stevens' and-one made it 17-9. Matthews kept Michigan close early (he had nine points in the first half), though a Josh Reaves 3 gave Penn State a 20-14 edge with 11:29 left in the half.
Stevens' floater pushed the margin to nine with five minutes left. He scored 15 points in the half. Myles Dread's transition 3 gave him 10 points and Penn State a 36-25 lead at the 2:00 mark. Rasir Bolton's layup at the buzzer made it 40-27 at the break.
A couple of minutes into the second half, Michigan made its push.
Isaiah Livers hit a 3 and followed it up with two free throws. Zavier Simpson made two free throws. Jon Teske completed an and-one. Matthews elevated for a midrange jumper to cap a 12-2 run and suddenly the margin was just five, 52-47 with 12:02 left. Penn State called timeout.
The game turned physical -- there were plenty of whistles, though perhaps not enough from Michigan's perspective -- and a Matthews free throw with 8:21 left cut the margin to four, the closest it had been since midway through the first half. But Dread's fifth three, from the left corner, pushed it to seven, and Jordan Poole couldn't answer.
The sparse crowd took advantage of the unfolding upset and got loud as Michigan called timeout after a tip-in increased the margin to nine.
Matthews answered with a 3, but Stevens responded with another basket at the 4:26 mark. The margin didn't get closer than eight until Matthews' bucket with 44 seconds left made it 69-63. He committed his fifth foul on the ensuing inbounds and was disqualified.
Simpson's 3 cut the deficit to four, but Michigan followed it up with its 12th turnover (the Wolverines finished with just nine assists). A Poole 3 again cut it to four, but time was running out and Penn State was making enough free throws.
Stevens finished 9-of-23 from the field. Penn State grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
Tuesday was a homecoming of sorts for Eli Brooks, the lone Pennsylvania native on the roster. Approximately 40 family members and friends came to support him. Brooks played eight minutes and scored two points.
Michigan will host No. 24 Maryland (19-6, 10-4) on Saturday.