Penn State traveled last night to Philadelphia to take on those pesky Penn Quakers at the cathedral of basketball, the Palestra. Penn came into the season picked 2nd in the Ivy League behind Cornell, who went undefeated in the Ivy League last year and returned 4 of their starters. The Quakers, however, are significantly improved from last year and expected to be Cornell’s main competition. Penn came into the game with a 1-2 record, having already faced explosive UNC (and only lost by 15!).
So this was expected to be PSU’s first real test. Yes, they’re an Ivy League team, but it was PSU’s first road game, even if the UPenn students weren’t there because of thanksgiving break. Blue-jerseyed PSU ball clubs usually are significantly worse than the white-jerseyed PSU clubs. So the vegas line on this game was just 2 points. I was kinda worried with the low line and had those ever-so-frequent doubts creep in that last night could be that devastating loss that put us into the ‘all hope is lost’ category.
But boy, did they erase all doubts of mind quickly. 7-0. 14-4. 22-4. 29-11. 49-24 at halftime (UNC was only up 48-33 at half). Stanley Pringle just went off (hahaha) in the first half for 18 points with 4 threes and 7-9 from the field. They made another dedicated effort to set the offense up with a lot of involvement from the paint. They ran a lot of sets that got Cornley into great position, and once again, he missed a lot of shots that he shouldn’t have. Dick Jerardi said on the PSU broadcast that we could’ve been up 35 if we made all the easy shots we missed. Regardless, it’s always impressive to come out strong on the road, especially for the first time. Battle and Pringle is one filthy backcourt.
We got complacent in the second half and let a 63-39 lead dwindle down to 71-61, but that really is human nature like Pringle and Coach DeChellis said in their post game interviews. While yea, you would like to see the team finish these games the way they started, you have to take into account the absurd amount of minutes Cornley, Pringle, and Battle have played to start the season. They’re all averaging 30+ a game, and we’ve won all 5 of our games by double digits. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So understandably, the guards got tired, were slow on rotations, and Penn hit a few threes in the second half to cut the lead down. Apparently the officiating was really poor in the 2nd half as well.
- Battle : 40 minutes, 24 points (11-16 from the foul line), 3 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover
- Pringle : 39 minutes, 25 points (5-7 from 3), 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
- Cornley : 36 minutes, 16 points (6-15 from the field), 9 rebounds, 2 assists
So the team gets a rest for the next few days in Philly, then they will return to the Palestra on Friday and Saturday for the championship round of the Philly Hoop Group Classic. We have a huge showdown with the high-flying Rhode Island Rams on Friday night.