It was your typical Thanksgiving Eve-type of atmosphere at the Bryce Jordan Center: Sparse crowd (I'd estimate around 2,500) that only gets excited when free Subway six-inches are offered or OMFG ROSS TRAVIS 40 FOOT ALLEY-OOP FROM TIM FRAZIER type of plays happen. The game also featured the typical sacrificial Thanksgiving Eve turkey in the form of Youngstown State, who succumbed to PSU to the tune of an 82-71 final score. In addition, everybody in attendance was a winner, earning free Big Macs as a result of PSU breaking the 70-point barrier*
To YSU's credit, they fought back from a 21-point deficit late in the first half (which came on the heels of very hot 3-point shooting by PSU and uncharacteristically cold 3-point shooting by the Penguins) to whittle PSU's lead to as little as nine about midway through the second half. Fortunately, PSU was able to come up with some timely shots and lucked out on a few open YSU looks that rimmed out to ensure that the game only got semi-interesting, at best. Tim Frazier once again put together a double-double performance with 26 points and 11 assists. Frazier even earned 3 of those 26 points with a Talor Battle-esque deep three-pointer. Trey Lewis (12 points, 3/5 3-point FG's) and Cammeron Woodyard (10 points, 2/2 3-point FG's) also pitched in double digits for the Nittany Lions. Erstwhile, Billy Oliver (9 points) and Jermaine Marshall (8 points) flirted with double digits and also pitched in a pair of 3-pointers, each.
As others have noted on Twitter: This team is still very much a work in progress. While they tried to drive to the basket as often as possible, they were often forced to settle for long range shots, which they were knocking down plenty of. Let's face it, though: An 11-for-22 performance form behind arc is not something that's going to be repeated on a regular basis. This is where post players such as Sasa Borovnjak and Jon Graham become critical, as they can help ease the pressure off the guards and small forwards as far as inside scoring is concerned. Thus far, they haven't quite been able to do so, and improving on that will be the key moving forward.
Eric will have some tempo-free stats and other assorted basketball geekery for you sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of your Thanksgiving Eve and have a pleasant Turkey Day.
* Oh, the irony of a sports team promoting free artery-clogging items...