January 20, 2011

Purdue Beats Penn State On a Last-Second Shot. Yeah, This One Hurts a Little...

Look, there's no sugar-coating this one: It hurts about as much as any football loss. I had goosebumps seeing the camerman lift his camera above the Penn State huddle right after DJ Jackson hit the go-ahead trey with 18 seconds left that gave PSU a rare lead in a game which Purdue held a double-digit advantage for most of the first half and a slim lead for most of the second half. I began to prematurely envision about just how awesome this win would look with a touch of video editing wizardry courtesy of the Big Ten Network's "The Journey" crew. It was then however, that another thought crossed my mind, preventing me from getting too excited: Purdue has the ball with the shot clock turned off. Surely enough, JaJuan Johnson got wide open after Jeff Brooks got screened to death, hitting a game-winner that I knew was good the moment it left his hands.

Taking a quick look at the box score, you may ask yourself: How does a team out-shoot an opponent (52% to 44%), own a 26-14 rebounding advantage, hit of all of their free throws (8-for-8) yet lose in such a heartbreaking fashion (aside from a last-second defensive breakdown)? Turnovers, dude..13 of them for Penn State compared to Purdue's paltry three. If PSU does a better job of taking care of the ball or manages to force a few more turnovers out of the Boilermakers, this one may very well have been a victory for the Fighting DeChellises.

Much like Ohio State, losing to Purdue is not a resume-killer for PSU's NCAA Tournament dreams but it sure as hell means there's less margin for error from here on out. The team gets a well-deserved week-long break after running through the gauntlet of five straight games against Top 25 opponents. After the break though, looms an absolute must-win game at home against bottom-feeder Iowa.

And one more thing before I pass out: Can we please take it easy on the FIRE ED remarks? Don't get me wrong, I still believe he needs to be canned barring anything short of an NCAA Tournament bid, and he possibly could've drawn up a better play for the final 3.4 seconds than just heaving the ball down the court, but let's put the vitriol away in an invisible jar for the next week, mmmkay? Remember, it wasn't too long ago that most PSU hoops fans were calling for the team to lose their first seven Big Ten games before facing Iowa.

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  1. You have to hope these last two losses on make the team hungrier for a big win but Battle and the gang better crush Iowa first.

  2. Exactly, William. If Penn State has proven anything, it's that you can't take anybody lightly in the Big Ten or you could get beat on any given night. Time for the team to rest up before hopefully crushing Iowa next Wednesday.