Penn State - 51
Northwestern - 53
Wow. Just wow. Earlier in the year we hang 85 points on the Wildcats and beat them by almost 30 points. Now we lose to the same team by two. And no, I don't beleive the injury to Brandon Hassell was the difference. I think what we see here is evidence of a team that has given up on their season. But don't just listen to me. Here's what head coach Ed DeChellis had to say after the game.
So there you have it. They just didn't come ready to play. If you can't find the motivation to break an eight game winning streak, well then you deserve to lose to Northwestern. So this team is done for the year. Unfortunately this blog isn't and I'm not looking forward to covering the rest of this train wreck. But I'm a believer that you stick with your team through the good and bad. The bad times just make the good times that much sweeter.
As Ed said himself, the first half was a disaster. Turnovers and bad shots led to easy baskets for the Wildcats who took a 37-27 lead into the half. Geary Claxton showed signs of breaking out of his slump with 12 first half points but he got no help from his teammates. Even Cornley was held scoreless in the first half.
In the second half the Lions did manage to turn up the defense. They held Northwestern to 16 second half points and made a rally to come back. Twice they were within one point in the last three minutes. With the score at 49-48 Craig Moore hit a 30 foot desperation three that hurt bad giving the Wildcats a four point lead with little time left. Mike Walker came right back and hit a three of his own to get the game back to one point at 52-51. Then disaster struck.
On an inbounds play with a chance to take their first lead of the second half, Danny Morrissey turned over the ball. He was forced to foul Jeff Ryan who made one of two free throws to make the score 53-51. The Lions had one last chance to tie the game. Claxton took a six foot jump shot with the defense collapsing on him but the shot rimmed out.
Does it matter? At this point we couldn't beat St. Cathrine's School of the Blind unless we tricked one of their kids to shoot at our basket. But for the record, our next three games are Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. So it looks like this losing streak is going into double digits.