Penn State got pantsed on Hawk Hill Saturday, just a little bit before the football team followed suit. I didn't watch the basketball game, but I don't think I missed anything that I didn't see in Connecticut. This team can flat-out brick some jump shots, and I fear it's going to be a far too common theme when this team is not in the Bryce Jordan Center.
In a game that didn't look so lopsided on paper, Penn State got down 22-0 after the first 8 and a half minutes. They missed their first 16 shots. They finished the first half down 33-10, while shooting just 4-38 from the field! I can't find a first half box score to come up with some efficiency numbers, but I do know that's a 13.5% eFG%. That's the lowest I've ever seen in one half. That nearly cuts last year's Maryland game percentage in half.
Looking at the numbers, this game seems to follow the pattern set forth at the Hall of Fame Tipoff. Penn State settled for way too many threes, shot way too poorly (allowing 12 of their shots to be swatted!), and never got themselves some foul shots. They did, however, win the rebounding battle (rebounding margin is meaningless when your opponent misses 52 shots compared to your 29) and forced more turnovers.
Ross Travis had himself a nice game statistically with 10 points (5-9 from the floor), 6 boards in 28 minutes. He also accounted for 4 of the 7 free throw attempts, but he missed all of them. Tim Frazier really struggled from the floor, missing all 12 of his shots in the first half. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come for him, and we can just put this in the 'bad game' column. Billy Oliver was the leading scorer with his 4 threes, but when you keep hoisting them, they'll eventually fall. Also, I would love to hear any opinions on the near brawl that apparently occurred in the second half.
While we have said all preseason long that we knew this team was going to struggle, we're now hit with the reality of witnessing how bad this basketball team can be. Chambers is going to have his hands full dealing with the fragile pysche of such a young team on the road. I don't think we'll see it snowball that badly again, but it sure isn't going to be pretty. Any road win is going to be monumental for this team (that South Florida game is going to be a season highlight come March, IMO).
I'm not sure what PSU can do to fix their woes on offense. They obviously have to start making jump shots (because for the most part, they've been good, open looks), but there's no evidence saying this team can against upper competition. They need Trey Lewis to find his swagger sooner than later on offense, Ross Travis or Jon Graham to accelerate their post-game development, and find a winger who can attack the rim off the bounce. Jermaine seems to be the only one who has the attack mentality, but I don't know if he has the quickness or handle to do so consistently against better teams. If only DJ Newbill was eligible...
Looking ahead, PSU faces another road test, but the good news is it's their best remaining chance to get a win away from home. There will be more on the Boston College Eagles and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge later this week.