The positive headlines might be few and far between for Penn State as it heads down the stretch of its 2010-2011 season. Sunday's 65-41 victory over Northwestern, though, will be an exception. The Nittany Lions dominated on both ends of the floor throughout and even made a little history along the way.
Talor Battle scored a game high 19 points in his Penn State record 121st career start. He also eclipsed 2,000 points for his career on a first half 3-pointer, making him only the second player in Penn State history and 22nd player in Big Then history to accomplish the feat.
Battle's supporting cast also had a nice day, though. David Jackson finished with 11 points and a game high eight rebounds. Jeff Brooks had 14 points and five rebounds in his second game back from injury and Tim Frazier filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds and thee assists.
Penn State's postseason hopes likely won't see much of a boost from this win, but it was important for the Lions to get back on track in this one. With games against ranked Wisconsin and Minnesota squads upcoming, it was good for the Lions to get this one and establish momentum heading into more likely must wins.
- Talor Battle's career accomplishments are astounding on their own, but when you consider his supporting cast through at least the last two years of his career, what he's been able to do is even more amazing. He gets his opponents' best shot every single game and still finds a way to average 20 points. When you consider what he's had to work with, his achievements are right up there with Jesse Arnelle and Joe Crispin's as the best of all time at Penn State.
- Penn State's +12 rebounding margin is solid, and something it's going to need more of to stay relevant down the stretch.
- Tim Frazier is growing into a solid young point guard. Working with four seniors certainly helps, but he grows more decisive every game and is showing the diversified skill set you like a one to have. He isn't particularly great at any one thing, but he's finding ways to score, get his teammates involved and contribute on the glass. All good signs.
Cammeron Woodyard still has a long way to go offensively, but since seeing a boost in his minutes with Brooks' injury, he's shown an ability to get to the boards. He had five rebounds off the bench Sunday and had seven against Michigan last week. If he can keep that up, he'll at least have something to offer next year's team.
- Penn State avoided double-digit turnovers for the fourth straight game, coughing the ball up only nine times on the afternoon.
- The Lions shot 48% from the field Sunday. That'll get it done most nights.
- For once, Penn State's perimeter defense was excellent, holding a team that loves to shoot the deep ball to a 2-21 performance.
- Not quite sure why Penn State's starters stayed in the game as long as they did. Fortunately for the Lions, no one got hurt, but it would have been awful to see someone go down as Penn State held a 20 point lead in the second half.
- Billy Oliver has his moments defensively, but he fouls way, way too much to be contributing as little offensively as he is. He scored four points Sunday, but also had four fouls.
- Man, was Northwestern tough to watch, especially in the first half when the Wildcats scored 15 points. I'd have put the Lions' defensive effort in the "good" category, but at some point, you have to credit the other team for playing like crap. Penn State played fairly well, but not well enough to lead by as many as 25 points in the second half as it did.
- After the game, as you'll see in the video below, Ed DeChellis told the press corps that Talor Battle turned his ankle "badly" in practice on Friday. That could have been a disaster for Penn State.
Bill Carmody speaks briefly on his team's loss.
Talor Battle talks about his achievement while Tim Fazier and Jeff Brooks talk about the game.
Ed DeCheliis addresses the press.