The Takeaway–Penn State–Purdue
First of all, if I had a dollar for every time Chris Kramer pump faked I would be at least 10 to 15 dollars richer. This game went a lot like the first game between Penn State and Wisconsin. Penn State sat in a 9 to 13 point hole for most all of the game and every time they would get the lead down to 5 or so, Purdue/Wisconsin would hit a shot to end any momentum the Lions were building.
The big difference between this game and the Wisconsin game was that Penn State finally made a run to get them back into a position; it came about as late in the game as you could get, but I guess when it comes to only having 3 Big Ten wins, you can’t really be too picky about when your comebacks happen.
The first half of the game was so close to turning into a Purdue blow out but in good Penn State basketball fashion, the Lions kept making enough shots here and there that they kept the game just in reach. If there was a telling sign of how lucky they were to be still in the game, Talor Battle was the only Penn State player to score up until the 9:06 mark in the first half. Chris Babb had two free throws, but outside of that, no one was hitting any shots. So in short; to be only down eight at the break was a minor miracle.
Besides looking at the box score, the basic difference between Purdue’s offense and Penn State’s offense was Purdue’s ability to find the open shot through well executed ball movement around the perimeter. It wasn’t their amazing ability to shoot the ball as much as it was their ability to find the open shot. Penn State worked a lot more offense running off of screens, and doing things that look suspiciously like standing around.
Chris Babb played another solid game, and while he was 4-10 from the behind the arc, he continued to show that his shot is starting fall on a more consistent basis, going 8-15 over the past two games. Babb would be well served to gain the ability to beat his man off of the dribble, but as of right now, his improved shooting is a welcome sight.
Jeff Brooks also put up nice numbers for the second straight game scoring 12 points on 5-8 shooting while grabbing 7 rebounds. Although Brooks’ development may seem too little too late, his confidence going into the offseason could go along way to his production next year.
On a less positive note, for the second straight game Penn State got no real production off the bench; that being said, Tim Frazier did a good job running the offense after Battle was taken out of the game. While people will point to the turnover at the end of the game as Frazier’s fault and inability to run the point, the team would have never gotten in that position if it hadn’t been for his ability to run the offense.
On the whole Penn State played a Top 10 team pretty well. It’s pretty admirable the amount of effort they have put out every game even though they have little to play for. They’re going to need to figure out their bench scoring and offensive flow to make the change from a team that has lost 12 games by 8 points or less to a team that is playing in the NCAAs.
Gotta give my brother a shout out for playing at halftime.