For the first twenty minutes of the game yesterday, it looked like the Lions were fighting through another post-finals hangover. They were going through the motions, keeping an over-matched MSM's team in the game. They did manage to lead at the break, 28-25, but they couldn't put away the Mountaineers early after building 8-point leads on two different occasions. Coach Chambers was forced to call timeout on two different occasions to let his team know they weren't playing hard.
But something clicked over the break and Penn State came out firing in the second half. They opened up on a 15-3 run to bust the game open, and they never looked back. A ten point lead became twenty and then thirty before the final horn blew. The Nittany Lions came away with a much-needed feel-good win, 72-43. They outscored the Mountaineers 44-18 in the second half.
I was hoping to see a complete game from the Nits, and that's what we got. Penn State held an advantage in all of the four factors. The Nittany Lions upped the intensity in the second half as they scored 1.5 PPP and grabbed 55.6% of their offense rebounding chances, while holding MSM to 0.6 PPP and forcing turnovers on 37.9% of their possessions.
Individually, it was great to see the veterans carry the load. Tim Frazier, Sasa Borovnjak, Jermaine Marshall, Cammeron Woodyard, and Billy Oliver all scored in double-figures and combined for 62 of the 72 PSU points. Borovnjak had another perfect night from the floor (5-5) to increase his season FG% to 62%. Billy had his most efficient night of the year, scoring a season-high 13 points on just 5 shots. His 2.6 points per shot mark last night was significantly higher than his season average of 1.0. Woodyard had a great shooting night himself, even if most of his points were on clean up duty (all 4 of his rebounds were offensive). Frazier led to the team with 15 points and 8 assists, but I was pleased the most he had just one turnover. He had been averaging 5 per contest in the last 4 games.
I was hoping to see a big game from Trey Lewis, and while he only finished with 5 points, he didn't disappoint. He played 18 strong minutes and looked healthy. Ross Travis was also active in his 14 minutes with 5 points and 5 rebounds, but he did pick up 4 fouls in that time. Matt Glover didn't score, but he did lead the team in rebounding with 6.
Looking ahead, Penn State has a not-so-bad Cornell club coming to the BJC on Wednesday before the Big Ten season starts after Christmas.