Pat Chambers won’t be able to find many positives out of this game. Penn State was favored in tonights matchup against the Northwestern Wildcats, but were dominated in every facet of the game. A game that ended in a 16 point loss for the Nittany Lions, their third straight loss to open conference play.
With 12 minutes to go in the first half, D.J. Newbill made a layup to put Penn State up 12-8, their biggest lead of the game. Northwestern would then go on a 13-0 run, capped by a Sobolewski three. They would never relinquish their lead, a lead that would grow to as many as 23 points. D.J. Newbill was the lone “bright” spot for PSU, finishing with 20 points on the night. He was Penn State’s only aggressive player on the night, driving to the basket every chance he got. While he didn’t finish very often, he got himself to the line 9 times, making 8. The rest of the team shot 9 free throws combined, as many as Newbill did by himself.
The stats paint an even uglier picture for Penn State. Other than hitting on 9 three-pointers, the Wildcats struggled tonight, leaving the door open for PSU. Unfortunately, the Lions shot only 31.6% from the field, including a 3-15 showing from behind the arc. This was caused by a lot of isolation play, instead of setting up teammates for good shots. As a result, Penn State only had 7 assists on the night as a team. Northwestern was able to limit mistakes, only committing 6 turnovers and 16 fouls on the night. The 16 fouls is a very low number for a B1G game, especially one called by Ted Valentine. The Wildcats only shot 45% from the field, but Penn State still could not keep up with them.
- Again Penn State could not find a third scorer, laying all of the pressure on Newbill and Jermaine Marshall’s shoulders. Depth continues to be a huge issue for this team
- In my preview, I said Brandon Taylor needed to step up and stay out of foul trouble. Well, he committed a foul 15 seconds into the game, and had four on the game. At least his only bucket came from inside the paint, a place where I think he needs to have a larger presence.
- Another key point in my preview was staying in front of Alex Olah. I said if they didn’t he could get his career high in rebounds. He came one rebound shy of his career high.
- Some of the calls by Ted Valentine were a little perplexing, including a whistle that came 5 seconds after the play, with Valentine about 40 feet from the action. However, the referees can’t be blamed for Penn State’s problem getting to the line, as that has been an issue all season
- Ross Travis left the game with what looked like an ankle injury. I had a good view of him and he seemed pretty frustrated and had it wrapped with a lot of ice. He needed help to walk back into the locker room. Hopefully he’s alright. As much as he struggles shooting the ball, he is the only consistent rebounder on this team right now.
Penn State goes to West Lafayette on Sunday to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue has struggled this season, but it is never easy to win a game in Mackey Arena. The Nittany Lions look for their first B1G win at 12:00 on the BTN.
Follow VBR Staff Writer Scott Anderson on Twitter for the latest on PSU basketball