Make it three straight losses in a row for Pat Chambers' team, as Penn State couldn't hang onto the ball in a 66-59 loss against the Duquesne Dukes at Consol Energy Center. Coming into the game, Chambers stated that they couldn't afford to turn it over more than 15 times against the Dukes' pressure defense. Well, the Lions gave up their possession 23 times at a dreadful 33.3% TO%. You're not going to beat anybody if you give up the ball on a third of your possessions.
It was another maddening game as many of those 23 turnovers were of the unforced variety. Everyone who played except Pat Ackerman turned the ball over at least once. Jermaine Marshall and Billy Oliver led the team with 4 give-a-ways, while Tim Frazier and Matt Glover had three a piece. This team is never going to shoot well enough to overcome that many lost possessions.
I wasn't impressed by Duquesne, and I think they'll struggle in the Atlantic-10. They've got some athletic guards, but they lack size and an inside presence. Defensively, the numbers are pretty good for Penn State, but they had a lot of trouble staying in front of Duquesne's guards, leading to penetration and kick outs. They also had some trouble keeping their hands off Duquesne as they racked 21 fouls. The Dukes missed their fair share of good looks and were pretty sloppy with the ball at times, as well.
Luckily this team has a week off for finals to step away from basketball for a few days. Their last two times out have been discouraging after looking so good against Ole Miss.
Penn State controlled the boards, as expected, but that didn't make a difference because all their 2nd chances couldn't make for the lost possessions. They outscored Duquesne in 2nd chance points (14-7), but the Dukes scored 22 points off turnovers to PSU's 10.
Tim Frazier bounced back from his 0-fer performance Wednesday to pace the Nits with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. He had to play all 40 minutes. Trey Lewis returned from his ankle injury, but he was still limited in his minutes (and it didn't help he picked up 2 fouls in 2 first half minutes). I think the circumstances called for Tim to play the full 40, but I don't expect that to be consistent throughout the year. Chambers has been adamant about getting Tim some rest throughout the game.
Jermaine Marshall scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, but he had some of the more frustrating turnovers of the game. Once Jermaine can put it together, he's going to be really good, but he continues to force the issue when it's not there. Billy Oliver actually got some inside buckets and tallied 9 points, but PSU continues to need more from the captain. Ross Travis started the game, but he only played 9 minutes with 4 points and 2 rebounds. Cam Woodyard also scored 9 points, but he missed an open 3 with under 30 seconds left that would've cut the Dukes' lead down to 1.
Looking ahead, Penn State needs to recuperate this week and get ready to finish off the non-conference schedule. They need to win the next two games at home against Mt. St. Mary's and Cornell to avoid entering the Big Ten schedule without any kind of momentum.