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Penn State Gets Pwned

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Final - 2.5.2009 1 2 Total
Penn St. Nittany Lions 31 20 51
Michigan Wolverines 29 42 71

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Well that sucked. What we saw last night was basically the inverse of the first meeting between these two teams. In that game Michigan couldn't buy a basket at a Longaberger party and Manny Harris was a complete non-factor. In this game it was Penn State that couldn't score in a women's prison with a fist full of pardons.

Michigan did a great job of shutting down Talor Battle in particular. They challenged him wherever he got the ball and forced him to give it up. After a while it was obvious he was getting frustrated and tried to recreate his superman routine from East Lansing. But last night the shots were not falling. So then he tried to break them down with the dribble, but the defense would just collapse on him and he couldn't finish. It really was a superb defensive effort by Michigan.

This loss hurt, but not all is lost. If you told me that Penn State would end their Michigan road trip 1-1 I would have taken it. But I would have figured we would lose at East Lansing and win in Ann Arbor. Our tournament hopes aren't dead yet, but the margin for error just got a little slimmer.

The Good

After a pretty uninspiring first half Penn State made a nice little run to take a two point lead to the lockerroom. Too bad the clock ran out. With another five minutes we may have been able to extend the lead. But the half killed the momentum there, and Michigan came out with a run of their own to start the second half.

Jamelle Cornley had another dominating performance scoring 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He even hit 3-of-4 three pointers. This was despite drawing the double team every single time he got the ball in the paint. Michigan was determined to shut him down right away and they still couldn't do it.

The guards were rebounding well. Pringle and Battle pulled down a combined 15 boards.

The Bad

Andrew Jones and Jeff Brooks combined for just three rebounds in 42 minutes of play. These guys have to step up in that category. It's not like Michigan was shooting lights out. The opportunities were there.

With the exception of a nice bounce pass on the break from Morrissey to Battle, the passing in this game was terrible. Too many entry passes to the post were forced and deflected away by the defenders. One pass from Morrissey hit a defender right in the gut. There weren't too many turnovers in this game, but the ones we had were ugly and stupid.

The backcourt combination of Battle and Pringle combined for just 16 points on 6-of-29 shooting. Battle looked really gassed from the beginning, with a lot of his shots clanking the front of the rim. In fact, he almost had an airball on a free throw attempt.

The Ugly

Perhaps looking ahead to another game against Wisconsin in three days, Ed gave the starters a lot of rest in the first half and played Woodyard, Jackson, and Ott a considerable amount. And man, did they look bad.

Jackson almost seems to have some kind of Chuck Knoblach complex where he can't shoot a layup. He gets the ball under the basket and he keeps pump faking. Then, he either travels or he misses the layup horribly.

Woodyard came off the bench firing up a shot every time someone passed to him. They were poor shots that weren't even close to going in.

Toward the end of the game the student section started singing Zombie Nation, and on the end of the riff they chanted "We own Penn State." Cute, but considering the beatdown Penn State gave the Wolverines in the first game this season to go with the football game last fall, I found it to be a little trite. Now I fully expect to hear "We Own Penn State" chants whenever we trail on the road at any school in any sport.

And of course, free throw shooting. Another game, another 54% free throw shooting performance. And it really wasn't that good either. Penn State made their last five free throws when the game was already put away to make it look that respectable. Before then they shot just 1-of-6.