Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Long stretches of dire play handicapped a valiant Penn State comeback.
Despite their best efforts late in the second half, Penn State couldn't muster enough of a comeback to dig themselves out of the massive hole they'd dug for the duration of the game. It took a 20 point Boston College lead with just over five minutes left to play to wake up a stagnant Nittany Lion attack--the team had 39 measly points at that juncture--but an offensive outburst from Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill fueled by an effective PSU full-court press proved to be too little too late.
It was a dismal showing for much of the game, and it was evident that Tim Frazier's season-long absence will be more of problem than the win against Bucknell may have previously indicated. Sloppy turnovers plagued Penn State all night (13 TOs compared to only six assists) and the shooting woes continued, creating a cocktail of suck that drowned any semblance of good vibes from Friday's win. The comeback was encouraging, and it underlined the #ATTITUDE that this team undeniably possesses (BC coach Steve Donahue agreed), but in order for this team to even be competitive once the clock strikes B1G, they will have to find a way to bottle the lightning that they have only found in small spurts this season.
Give BC their due for their performance; they kept Penn State off the offensive glass, forcing the Lions to make their shots count--something this team is still figuring out how to do. The Eagles did their research on Brandon Taylor as well, taking away the pick-and-pop and forcing the talented freshman into foul trouble at the other end.
BC freshman guard Olivier Hanlan had a Frazier-esque line of 22 points (15-19 FT), five boards, and four assists, and Joe Rahon went 3-5 from deep, leading the output in an 8-18 team effort from three. PSU's poor defensive rotations led to open shot after open shot for the Eagles, and to their credit they took advantage. And in the end, they had enough left in the tank to recover from a period of lackadaisical play and stave off Penn State's comeback.
This was a frustrating game to watch, and although BC is a major-conference team, they can hardly be considered a quality outfit, having lost to Bryant University prior to their visit to the BJC. Penn State has had to deal with their worst-case scenario in losing Frazier, and expecting this team to be anything more than a work in progress at this stage in the season is unrealistic. It's going to be a long season, so temper your expectations, #BuckleUp, and try to enjoy the ride. It'll be a bumpy one.
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