Just got done watching the Penn State-Iowa basketball game and...uh...that was entertaining. Good God our defense is horrible. What did Iowa shoot tonight? Something like 99% from the field? And most of their points came from behind the arc to boot. Unbelievable.
But somehow we managed to win 65-64. 17 turnovers from Iowa didn't hurt. Some questionable calls from the officials certainly helped.
Jamelle Cornley is the blood and guts of this team. No seriously, his blood and guts are all over the floor. Can we get a cleanup in aisle five? He's playing with a bum ankle. His knee hurts like he gets a daily visit from Jeff Gillooly. When he's not on the court he soaks his elbow in a bucket of ice. Earlier this year he lost a tooth and cut his mouth against Purdue. At one point tonight the camera zoomed in on his face and I swear he had blood coming out of his eye. How do you play basketball with freaking blood coming out of your eye? Well Cornley not only played, he dropped in 22 mother F'in points and pulled down 7 rebounds.
When Iowa came out of the half on a 12-0 run Cornley strapped the team on his back and carried them. While Iowa was draining threes Mel started demanding the ball in the post and hit basket after basket to weather the storm and keep the Lions in the game.
Talor Battle came back from his first scoreless game in the Big Ten schedule with nine points and three assists. He hit a clutch three point shot with 32 seconds to go to pull Penn State within two points. After Iowa called timeout he could be seen on camera bobbing his head and singing along to Zombie Nation in the huddle on the bench. I swear that kid has ice in his veins.
I was particularly encouraged to see Jeff Brooks give 17 quality minutes. He scored four points, but hit his only shot and both of his free throw attempts. He was much more aggressive in his rebounding and defense than I've seen this year. He got two offensive rebounds and had a big blocked shot in the second half.
This win is huge for the Lions on several levels. It's their third straight home win in conference play: a first under Ed DeChellis. The Jordan Center isn't an easy win anymore even though I thought the student section was pretty sparse tonight. It looked like they only filled the front two rows of seats. Is it spring break already? I guess the bitter cold and poor weather could be to blame as well.
This win ties Penn State with Iowa and Michigan with five conference wins. The Wolverines come to Happy Valley this weekend, so there's a good chance we could get to six wins. But with games at Wisconsin and Indiana at home it may be our last chance to get a regular season win. Iowa bribed the schedule maker and gets to close out with two games against Illinois and Northwestern while Michigan just has games against us and Purdue. So it's looking like we're either going to finish 8th or 9th in the conference which means in either case we'll most likely be paired up with Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. But if we were going to have any chance at the 7 seed and a chance to play Illinois, a team we've already beaten twice this year, we had to win tonight. And that we did.
If you want a good read, check out the live blog of the game over at Black Heart Gold Pants.