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Buzzer Beaten

It's hard to question guts after this one.

When the time came, down nine points at times in the second half of Penn State's 66-64 loss to Minnesota at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday, Penn State's players made plays.  Tim Frazier  tied the ball up for, and Penn State got the ball on the alternate possesion with about 20 seconds left in regulation.  On the ensuing play Jeff Brooks saved a turnover, and found Talor Battle for the tying basketball with about 10 seconds left. 

Penn State made, tough, gutty plays down the stretch...but Minnesota made one more.

The Gophers' Lawerence Westbrook nailed a buzzer beating field goal, sending Penn State to it's 11th consecutive Big Ten loss, and worst conference start ever.

But this loss wasn't a result of lack of talent, nor was it the result of lack of heart.  It was the result of the other team making a play.  Tip your cap to Minnesota, and move on.  The Nittany Lions now have a week to prepare for Michigan State, and in case you've forgotten, Penn State beat Sparty and Co. last year on Super Bowl Sunday after having a week to prepare... 

The Good

Attendance for the day was listed at 10,291.  There almost certainly were not that many fans in attendance, but for the most part, people made their way to the game on a day when 14 inches of snow in the State College area presented them with a perfectly acceptable reason not to.  So kudos to the fans.   But even more credit is due to the snow removal crews on campus who had at least the East portion clear and passable by mid-morning.  This is the second time in four months that a Minnesota visit to Penn State has been preceded by a  freakish snowstorm, the first being the football Homecoming weekend snow storm in mid-October(!?!?) that closed many of the grass lots near Beaver Stadium.  Admirably, Penn State fans have found ways to get to the games anyway, so We Are, etc.

David Jackson has, no doubt, emerged as the second best player on the team.  His 18 points and six rebounds kept the Lions in the game as it threatened to slip away from them at several points in the second half.  Perhaps most notably, though, was his 8-8 effort at the free throw line.  On a day when the rest of the team shot 5-11 from the stripe, Jackson kept things from being a total embarrassment in that department.

Tim Frazier had an efficient seven points, two assists, and two rebounds in about 20 minutes if floor time.  He also caused a crucial tied ball in the final seconds to give Penn State a chance to tie the game before the LawerencevWestbrook bomb.  With Bill Edwards missing, it was good to see Frazier, a fellow freshman, step up for Penn State.

The Bad

I've never been one to complain about officials.  But the tight officiating in the second half led to an unnecessary stalling of the action, and made it very difficult for Penn State to make up and ground on the Gophers.  It was almost like a tennis match.  Penn State didn't hold serve on enough offensive possessions, and Minnesota was able to milk the lead by shooting a lot of free throws on calls that probably shouldn't have been made.

The free throw shooting outside of DJ Jackson was deplorable.  Battle seems to get worse at shooting free throws as the season goes along, hitting only 3-7 today.  65% doesn't cut it no matter who you're playing, and the fact that Penn State so consistently struggles with free throws should be one of the most disappointing aspects of this team for the coaching staff

The Ugly

Losing on a buzzer beater is deflating period.  Losing on a buzzer beater when you're 0-11 is the stuff meltdowns are made of.  The long terms phychological impacts of this loss will likely carry through to the end of the season, especially the longer the Nits go without winning.  

The throw back uniforms.  Begin debate.