It was a stereotypical Penn State basketball road performance: Get down early, claw your way back just enough before halftime to keep the fans interested in the second half before the bottom completely falls out. The end result was a 66-46 defeat to an Ohio State team that out-rebounded and especially out-shot a flat PSU squad (47% from the floor, including 8-for-18 on 3-pointers compared to PSU's paltry 37% from the floor and 3-for-23 from downtown...woof). Brandon Taylor was the lone Nittany Lion to reach double figures with 11 points while Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop (22 points), Jae'Sean Tate (15 points), and Mark Loving (11 points) were a deadly-shooting trio for the Buckeyes.
Four Factors Analysis
|Penn State||67||0.69 (nice)||34.7%||16.7%||16.5%||8.5%|
No surprise here, one look at the traditional stat lines and you would guess that Ohio State dominated the eFG% and FT Rate categories. Turnovers were the one category PSU actually fared better in, committing only 11 to OSU's 15. One can only imagine how much uglier this game could've been had OSU also won the turnover battle, but that's not something I would recommend, since it would cause one's head to explode.
Player of the Game - Brandon Taylor (11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block)
Despite his double-figure scoring performance, Brandon only had two points at the half and his hotter-shooting second half was not reciprocated by any of his teammates. Nonetheless, he was one of the more efficient players out there on the floor tonight so he is getting due recognition in this spot.
- Get well soon, Shep's foot - In what was perhaps a sign of things to come tonight, Shep Garner was forced to leave the game early on after a freak accident where he step awkwardly on Julian Moore's foot while shuffling around on the defensive end. While Shep did return, he was clearly not the same, as his mobility appeared a little more limited and his shot was way off. One can only hope that his foot heals quickly enough for the SH3P of old to return.
- Josh Reaves' return can't come soon enough - No, Reaves would not have been the difference between winning and losing tonight, but he always seems good for creating at least a couple of momentum-shifting plays with a steal and/or fast-break dunk when this team finds itself in a lull. Not to mention, he is one of the more talented players on the roster.
- The cavalry is coming - If nothing else, nights like these are where you just remind yourself that we're less than 10 months away from seeing the likes of Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens (and perhaps Joe Hampton and Nazeer Bostick) rocking PSU uniforms in a game that counts in the standings.
Penn State will play Michigan at New York's Madison Square Garden at Noon ET this Saturday, part of a hoops-hockey doubleheader with the Wolverines. Here's to hoping they can reciprocate some of the old 2009 NIT magic.