Last night was another great win for Ed DeChellis and the Penn State Nittany Lions. After falling to Rhode Island and Temple earlier this season and watching teams like Michigan and Minnesota pull off major upsets I must admit I was feeling a little bit uneasy about going into Big Ten play. But Penn State came through last night with a 67-64 win over the Boilermakers who most people predicted to win the conference. Here are a few of my random thoughts on the game.
The Boilermakers were playing without Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer, but it was still a difficult win. Penn State shot themselves in the foot too many times with turnovers, poor shot selection, and missed free throws. But they made up for it by dominating the rebounds and getting themselves more possessions to work with.
Andrew Jones was the star on the boards pulling in a game high 11. Eight of those were offensive rebounds. He's not a huge scorer, but if he can maintain that kind of rebound production and provide some interior defense we'll be more than ok.
Good God our offense looks terrible at times. They just kind of dribble around handing it off outside the circle while everyone stands around. Then when they get down to about ten seconds on the shot clock either Pringle or Battle take their man one on one and throw up a shot or dump it off to a teammate who has a guy in his face. Once in a while someone will decide to break this routine by throwing up a quick shot that really isn't there. It's maddening to watch long stretches where we struggle just to get a good shot while we're giving up uncontested layups on the other end.
David Jackson just doesn't seem right this year. He has lost his confidence and aggressiveness. Last night he uncharacteristically bricked his two free throw attempts. He isn't mixing it up going after rebounds in the paint. And beside all of that he just doesn't look right, almost like he's lost a lot of weight and feels tired. Maybe he's getting over the flu or something.
I thought Jeff Brooks looked pretty good in the early part of the game. He got the start but then he disappeared and only played 14 minutes. I don't recall seeing him at all in the second half. What's up with that?
Danny Morrissey played his best game of the season finishing with ten points and four rebounds. He also played pretty good defense and took a key charge late in the game.
As I keep watching these games it's exciting to see this team get better, but I'm starting to get concerned about next year. Ed isn't getting any playing time for Chris Babb and Cammeron Woodyard. And I already mentioned Jeff Brooks only playing 14 minutes. Next year we lose Pringle, Cornley, and Morrissey. Last night those guys combined for 38 points and 14 rebounds. Pringle and Cornley played 37 minutes each while Morrissey played 24. What is Ed doing to develop the younger talent?
But those are things we can worry about next year. For this year I'm just going to enjoy this team. We've got another tough game coming up on Sunday when Penn State travels to Minnesota. Then we come home next week to face Michigan State next Wednesday. If we can win one of these two games Cinderella can go and start picking out her party dress.