This game was the complete opposite of Thursday night's game against Canisius. Penn State battled from start to finish against a Louisana-Monroe team that likes to slow the game down and control it the same way Penn State does. The result was low-scoring game that was often as ugly as the score indicated.
Shep Garner was a non-factor for much of the game, playing only 7 minutes in the first half due to committing two personal fouls early. Penn State was fortunate to close the first half with a one-point lead without their best player on the floor for much of the half. Without him the team seemed out of sorts. When Garner did turn his game on, however, it was the key to securing the win late in the game.
Neither team was getting much done offensively, and Jordan Dickerson continued his dominant performance defensively with 7 blocks to go with 6 points. 18 turnovers by Louisiana-Monroe allowed the Nittany Lions to keep the game close until Penn State was finally able to grab control of the game late.
The Lions cleaned up their turnover issues in this game, committing only 8 this time around. In the first half they only had one, but ULM's pressure in the second half resulted in 7 turnovers by the Lions.
Four Factors Analysis
Even with Dickerson being a force down low, Louisiana-Monroe was still able to outrebound Penn State 47-31, with an 18-11 advantge on the offensive glass. This led to 18 second-chance points for ULM. Penn State only committed 8 turnovers to ULM's 18, and some of these came at the most inoportune times for both teams. These two factors combined to become the biggest reason the game stayed closed in its entirety.
The game pace was slow, as Pat Chambers has preferred this season, but up until the final minutes of the game the pace actually favored ULM,
Player of the Game - Josh Reaves
With Garner out for most of the first half, Reaves picked up a lot of the slack to keep the game within reach. His defensive tenacity and 7 first half points went a long way in keeping this game close. You can see that the game is starting to slow down for Reaves, and it's only going to get better from here.
- Fatigue was evident for both teams. Many of the mistakes and fouls committed by both teams seemed to be more of an issue with playing
- Free throws are still a concern. It wasn't as bad as previous games, but the team is still missing key free throws that could help put teams out games. Worse yet, it may mean the difference between winning and losing.
- Get some rest. Penn State gets 7 days to rest and recharge before the final stretch of non-conference games.
Penn State gets the week off before heading to the Palestra to face Drexel next Saturday. More on the Dragons this week.