After the effort the Nittany Lions put forth on Friday against LSU, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect a flat outing in this game. Yet, it was quite the opposite. The same defense that suffocated LSU all game long came back for seconds against Oregon State, in a game that was a lot more lopsided than the score indicated.
The first half was somewhat close, with Oregon State taking an early 7-2 lead. The Lions chipped away little by little, turning the five-point deficit into a 12-point lead by the time the first half ended.
The second half was more of the same. The Lions used the first 10 minutes of the second half to open up a 20-point lead. With 8 minutes left in the game, the lead had expanded to 26 points, and the Nittany Lions started to play keep away ball to run out the clock. A flurry of fouls near the end allowed the Beavers to score on some free throws, but other than that, this game was well out of hand well before the buzzer beat.
Four Factors Analysis
If you need time for your offense to come along, you need shutdown defense to make up for it. Well, for the second game in a row, the Lions held their opponent to under 40 percent eFG%, forcing LSU to 37.7 percent last night, and now Oregon State to 35.5 percent. It’s unrealistic to expect the Lions to hold everyone under 40% eFG rate, but it does mean that last night was not a fluke.
More importantly, Penn State did not turn the ball over at the alarming rate they had been in previous games, and, unsurprisingly, look at what that does to the scoreboard! The free-throw rate is a bit of a mirage given all the opportunities the Beavers got when the game was well out of hand, but the Lions do need to figure out a way to foul less moving forward, as this may cost them against a different team.
Player of the Game
Jalen Pickett is coming along nicely, but the nod goes to Seth Lundy today, his 13 points leading the team, to go along with seven rebounds.
Holy smokes they’re slow - The Nittany Lions are playing at a slower pace than Wisconsin, yes, that Wisconsin, which is good for 349th in the country! 349th, out of 358 teams. They are this close to being the slowest paced team in the country.
Yes, but... - One may look at this Oregon State team and say they’re just a bad team that Penn State should have handled regardless, but Penn State rarely beats teams they should so soundly as to leave no doubt, and it was nice to see regardless.
Offense is quietly becoming efficient - The offense’s adjusted efficiency has risen to 79th in the country, to go along with an 82nd ranked defensive efficiency. As these players continue to play together and get used to each other, expect a lot of close games in their future.
Penn State returns home to take on Miami (FL) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Game is on Wednesday, December 1st, and tipoff is at 9:15 on the ESPN family of networks.