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Penn State Falls in Iowa

Final - 3.7.2009 1 2 OT 2OT Total
Penn St. Nittany Lions 24 32 8 3 67
Iowa Hawkeyes 24 32 8 11 75

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It was a valiant effort by our cardiac kids. They trailed by nine points with 2:23 to go in regulation. I was just about to turn it off but decided not to. I'm a masochist who believes you have to suffer through the bad games if you want to truly enjoy the good ones. I started getting that tingly feeling inside when Talor Battle rattled off 11 straight points. Then David Jackson poked a ball loose and Stanley Pringle raced the length of the court for a layup and drew a foul. And before we knew it we were back in the game and going to overtime.

But ultimately a double overtime game after an emotional game less than two days earlier was too much, and Penn State just ran out of gas. Much like this recap.

The Good

I'm so impressed with the way this team closes out their games. How many times have they overcome deficits late in the game to pull out a win? When they get inside of five minutes they make every possession count and do what they need to do to get back in the game and win. If they could just play with that level of focus and intensity for 40 minutes they would be unstoppable.

Penn State shot 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Most of that was Talor Battle who shot 9-of-11.

The Bad

In a game that went into two overtimes, the bench only played a combined 62 minutes. By comparison, the starters played a total of 198 minutes. Is anyone surprised we ran out of gas at the end? All they could do is pass it around and throw up desperation threes.

Speaking of which, Talor Battle has seriously lost his outside touch. He only made one of eight attempts, and some of those attempts made you scratch your head. It's almost like he was getting so tired he didn't want to exert the effort to drive to the net or even run the offense.

Jake Kelly killed us. The guy was running a 102 fever and lit us up for 22 points. We couldn't stop him. Of course he was also extremely lucky banking in two three pointers. When crap like that is going down on the road it's always an uphill battle.

The Ugly

The Iowa fans crying and bellyaching after every little whistle that didn't go their way. There was a string where Penn State was getting a lot of calls, but they were good calls. Shut up.

What was with Ed not calling a timeout with ten seconds to go in regulation? Instead the let Battle take the inbound pass and dribble up the court where he threw up an uneccessary three point shot from way too deep. Why didn't he drive the lane like he did against Illinois on Thursday night? Maybe he was too tired to finish, but he could have drawn the defense and probably found Jones wide open underneath or something.

Ed did the same thing last week. I'm not talking about the drive where Battle made the game winning shot. I'm talking about the possession before that. Down by one inside of 30 seconds Ed opted to run the offense instead of using his timeout. The result was a careless turnover by Battle that nearly cost us the game. Use your damn timeouts and draw up a play, Ed. You don't get to carry them over to the next game.

On to the Big Ten Tournament

So we went into Saturday with a chance for a #2 seed in the conference tournament. Instead we end up with the #6 seed and a dreaded rematch with Indiana. Yay tie breaker rules! Here's a game where we have nothing to gain. Just playing the Hoosiers is going to drag down our RPI. Lose and we are probably looking at the NIT. Beating them will do nothing except drain our weary legs so we're nice and soft for Purdue in the next round. We may up playing both Indiana teams in Indianapolis. Talk about a lousy draw.

But I don't feel good about playing Indiana. Beating the same team three times in one season is difficult. Last year we choked against an inferior Illinois team we beat twice in the regular season. And the Hoosiers are showing signs of putting things together. They played us tough in the Jordan Center last week and they gave Michigan State a run for their money after that. Right now our team just seems completely beaten down and running on empty. Indiana has nothing to play for so they'll be loose and aggressive. I don't have a good feeling about this game at all.