WE WON. WE WON A BASKETBALL GAME. IN THE BIG TEN. WE ARE SO FAR OUTCHEA RIGHT NOW.
Penn State hoops has done an excellent jobs finding ways to lose this season, especially in Big Ten play. Up by 20 with eight minutes left against Princeton? Find a way to lose. Up at the half against Indiana? Find a way to lose. Have Purdue and Minnesota seemingly down and out? Find a way to lose.
Down 51-47 with two and a half minutes left against Nebraska? FIND. A. WAY. TO. WIN.
Penn State closed the game out on an 11-3 run. D.J. Newbill yamming on the hopes and dreams of the entire state of Nebraska. John Johnson hit a three with a guy in a face that only someone with massive balls could hit. Sure, Penn State seemingly tried to find a way to lose with a turnover on an inbounds pass with 11 seconds left and a two point lead, but it didn't matter. Penn State stole the ball and forced a jump ball. Tim Frazier canned two free throws. Game. 58-54.
The win moves Penn State to 10-10 on the season. More importantly, the win gave the Nittany Lions their first B1G win of the season, bumping the record up to 1-6.
Four Factors Analysis
Just from a numerical standpoint, these have been the kinds of games Penn State has lost all season. The Nittany Lions got crushed on the board, and Nebraska had a better eFG%. This was, quite possibly, Penn State's worst offensive showing this season. The Nittany Lions aren't supposed to win games like this. We have all bought into this belief that Penn State can't win games where it loses the battle on the glass and shoots a lower percentage from the field. However, the Nittany Lions defense -- in a game where Ross Travis barely played -- won this game. It forced turnovers and looked as good, if not better, than it has all season. This is weird. I love it.
Player of the Game
This is difficult. Frazier had 11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. Newbill led all scorers with 16 points. Johnson's 10 first half points kept the team in the game, and he hit arguably the biggest shot of the game with his Flipp-tastic three. Really, if you gave it to any of those three, I wouldn't have an issue. Hell, if you wanted to be that guy that says "GENO THORPE CAME IN AND PLAYED TOUGH DEFENSE WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE," I wouldn't hate you. Hey, on that note...
- The Young Guns -- Graham Woodward started the game, and while he didn't score, he grabbed two rebounds and didn't look completely lost on defense. He did all the usual Woodward "tough, effort, blah blah blah" things that we expect from him. As for Thorpe, he played in the final minute as an offense-for-defense sub with B-Titty and was a menace on defense. While I question what Pat Chambers does with Thorpe and Woodward sometimes -- mostly with their inconsistent playing time -- it worked tonight.
- Lost Travis? -- Ross Travis didn't start, and he played in four minutes. There's no word on whether or not it was because of an injury, whether he's in Chambers' doghouse or if he is cooking meth with a former student of his in an RV for some guy named Gus. But if keeping Travis on the bench equals wins, then I'm all for it.
- The BJC Sucks and People Need to Go to Games -- The BJC sucks. And people need to go to games. Although I'm willing to give a minor pass for today, because ebola sounds more pleasant than a showdown between two Big Ten teams with a combined 1-9 conference record.
- Free Bieber -- Free Bieber.
The Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on 17th ranked Ohio State on Wednesday. The wheels on Ohio State are coming off, as the team is 1-4 in its last five games. Aaron Craft is going to give Tim Frazier all the HEART and TOUGHNESS and GRIT that we've come to expect from him, and Penn State doesn't have anyone other than Travis (and maybe B-Titty) who can guard LaQuinton Ross. Also, I'm probably naming my first child LaQuinton, regardless of their gender. Go State. Beat the Buckeyes.