January 13, 2010

PSU Loses To Illinois, Blows Another Second-Half Lead

I would declare this season "deader than a whale in space" for the Fighting DeChellises, but that's what the loss to Michigan was all about. Last night's painful loss simply makes Illinois the sick bastard humping the whale carcass, leading to a whole new level of abuse for PSU fans that would even make Daniel Johns cringe.

Like most of PSU's eight losses this year (now perfectly matching the total number of wins that match the despair carpet in the living room), this was another instance of blowing a second half lead. PSU led 48-40 with 8:40 to play in the game but gradually choked it away via a hodgepodge of Illinois's dynamic scoring duo of Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale getting hot and poor shot selection on offense. Oh, and free-throwing shooting was quintessential PSU (see: shitty, also see: 5-for-9). Ultimately, the choke-job was completed when McCamey hit the go-ahead shot with 1:16 still remaining and the following transpired:

1:16 53-54 Demetri McCamey made Two Point Jumper.
1:02 Penn State 30 Second Timeout.
0:49 Talor Battle missed Three Point Jumper. 53-54
0:49 Chris Babb Offensive Rebound. 53-54
0:46 53-54 Foul on Demetri McCamey
0:27 Talor Battle missed Three Point Jumper. 53-54
0:27 53-54 Mike Davis Defensive Rebound.
0:19 Foul on Talor Battle 53-54
0:19 Illinois 30 Second Timeout.
0:17 Foul on Tim Frazier 53-54
0:17 53-54 Mike Tisdale missed Free Throw.
0:17 Chris Babb Defensive Rebound. 53-54
0:05 Talor Battle missed Two Point Jumper. 53-54
0:05 53-54 Mike Tisdale Block.
0:03 Penn State Offensive Rebound. 53-54
0:03 Penn State Full Timeout.
0:00 Talor Battle missed Three Point Jumper. 53-54
0:00 End of the 2nd Half.
0:00 End Game
That's correct, FOUR golden chances to erase a one-point defecit in 1:16 and not a single goddamn point to show for it. Even more frustrating is the fact that the shots were all taken by Battle and mainly consisted of jacking up threes when all PSU needed was a basket. The blocked shot by Tisdale in the waning seconds was worse than it reads: Battle attempted to drive for a layup, earning a triple-teaming of Illini defenders in the process. Instead of kicking the ball out to a wide-open teammate, Battle attempted to re-create his game-winning heroics from the previous contest and paid dearly for it.

Chris Babb stepped up nicely with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) but once again, Battle failed to put on one of his man-crushing performances simultaneously along with Babb. Battle was held to nine points on a dismal 4-for-19 shooting (1-for-10 in the second half) and the majority of his shots seemed forced. It also doesn't help that Battle nowadays commands the attention of the opposing teams best defenders to the point where he's routinely double-teamed. This is where he needs to start trusting his teammates more and not try and score on three defenders at once all by himself.

I didn't catch the first half of this game admittedly, but from what I've read, it seems that Ott and Frazier started in place of Brooks and Jones. It looks like Ed DeChellis was trying to send a message to the latter two players but as usual, that message fell on deaf ears as Jones contributed a double-zero (no points or rebounds) and Brooks pitched in a pedestrian five points and two boards. Edwards and Frazier showed some flashes of brilliance, but not enough to make one think they've turned a new leaf yet.

As for their faint hopes of an NIT berth, PSU will need to - Oh, f**k it, who am I kidding? Forget about ANY type of postseason with this team. Unless one of our post players not named Andrew Ott decides to actually step up and Battle stops forcing up so many terrible-looking shots and starts trusting in his teammates again, these guys are going to struggle to win more than 3-4 games in conference. Hell, would any of you be surprised if PSU found a way to lose to Iowa in this weekend's slumber party pillow-fight for sole possession of dead last in the Big Ten? Exactly, my thoughts...

This is easily the most frustrating basketball season I've followed in quite a while. This isn't a team that is horribly overmatched talent-wise against most teams they face (like many PSU teams were in the past) but rather one that just can't close out a game. This is a PSU team that could just as easily be 3-1 in the Big Ten right now instead of 0-4. I blame Jerry Dunn's severed zombie head (pictured, below).

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  1. I feel for you it's gonna be a long season covering this team.

  2. At this point, I'm hoping there's a Cael Sanderson out there in the college hoops coaching universe ready to swoop in and take this program to greater heights.