The Takeaway–Penn State–Minnesota
Most people thought that the Lions would head into The Barn and get smoked. For the most part there wasn’t much reason to think otherwise; Penn State is young, unproven and hasn’t played a really good team on the road. Minnesota on the other hand is on a 5 game winning streak and has an amazing amount of depth and age. Playing the Gophers for the first game of the Big Ten season is no small task, playing well in The Barn isn’t easy, and elevating your play to that of a talented team is even harder. The Lions did all of these thing and gave themselves a chance to pull off a pretty big upset. For the most part they did everything they needed to do to win, the mistakes they made just came at bad points in the game. So you can’t fault the effort the youth of this team showed up at inopportune times. All in all there is quite a lot to be pleased with this games so lets take a walk down positive lane. Mainly….because being disappointed sucks.
Stats: FG–48% 3pt–50% FT–69%
People are going to step up–Maybe it is the first Big Ten game excitement but several players hit their shots and gave the team a chance to win. Notables include Andrew Jones with 12 points and David Jackson with 11 points. Combined they were 10-15 and had 10 rebounds. Jeff Brooks also had 9 points and did a good job moving the ball to the open man rather than reverting to the “old Jeff” and shooting whenever he could draw a line from the ball to the basket. Looking at the numbers you really couldn’t have asked for that much more, maybe a few less turnovers a higher FT % but all in all the Lions did about as good as you could expect.
It’s not that easy though…
Gotta play smart— Sometimes that means slowing down the game, several times during the game the Lions would run down the court and get caught up in the idea of transition offense that when nothing was there they would shoot anyway. Bill Edwards is a talented player and will be a much better player as the season goes on but he is still growing and has a growing basketball IQ. It’s the sort of thing that will come with playing but tonight it hurt him he went 2-8 and really could have taken 2-3 less shots.
All in all there is a lot of positives to take from this game, a loss always hurts, but going against the odds and showing growth, maturity, and skill is an impressive feat for this team and a good sign for the future, if not this season then next. Come out to the BJC this weekend and give the Lions the boost over Wisconsin.