Penn State 67, Purdue 64
There were many positives from last night's game at the BJC.
Rebounding and Hustle - Yes, Penn State (13-3, 2-1) outrebounded a Big Ten opponent 41-27, which is proof enough that the program has improved. This was apparent from the very beginning of the game as Penn State grabbed five consecutive offensive rebounds its first possession before Talor Battle finally converted the opportunity with a three-point play. It was a theme for the entire game.
"A lot of the rebounds were hustle plays, long rebounds, scrapping," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Battle's proven sometimes it's chasing the ball as well as getting it above the rim. Whenever there was a 50/50 play and the ball was loose, Penn State got the majority of those, and that's how you're gonna win games."
"Last year when we were freshmen, we all would've been jumping up and running around the gym after we beat the 14th ranked team in the country," Battle said. "Now we really just expect to win. We feel we can play with anybody."
Also rising are the opinions held by other conference coaches about the PSU program.
"We’re better," DeChellis said. "I’m not gonna take any credit. Our players are better, we’ve elevated our talent."
Painter, whose team dusted the Nittany Lions by 22 points in the Jordan Center last January, would agree. "They’ve made improvements," he said, "but they’ve also made improvements together, and that’s important."
So, there's a catch? It's Nittany Lion basketball, there's always a catch. For a team so heavily dependent on guard play, the team's free throw shooting is just abysmal. This team isn't nearly talented enough to be so awful at the line. We need to be winning games at the stripe, not giving them away.
I love to say that Jamelle Cornley is 6'4", but 6'2" of it is balls. He's an undersized hustler, and his passion for the game is unquestioned. At the free throw line, however, he's one hitch away from being Chuck Hayes:
Perhaps some actual, professional advice is in order?