This game was an anomaly to me coming in. Sacred Heart was slightly better than Lafayette, but they were another club that we should destroy. However, it’s the last game before the players get their 3 or 4 day Christmas break. As a fellow college student myself, I kind of know the feeling of just trying to get by when a break is on the horizon. It’s one of my weaknesses as a student. The players, however, were not allowed to go home after finishing finals. They had to be the only ones other than townies and other athletes, cheerleaders, etc in State College. And State College is a very depressing town when the PSU students are not there. The players had to be bored out of their minds. So I was expecting a pretty lethargic effort out there and was kind of curious how this game would go.
Then all of a sudden, it was 24-5 PSU. Battle and Pringle were having a field day. PSU was doing whatever they wanted. They cruised into halftime with a 44-28 lead (a SH bench player got hot and kept SH from being down by 20+). Everyone thought this was going to be another cupcake rout. I did, Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi did, and of course, the players did as well. They put themselves in a position to get some of the newer guys some more run going into halftime. Andrew Ott could knock off some more rust and Babb and Woodyard could get some more confidence heading into the Big Ten slate.
But the aggressiveness was completely gone in the second half. Players were clearly going through the motions. PSU led 58-39 with 12 minutes remaining. As Mark Brennan put it…
Twas two nights before Christmas and things seemed just fine, as Penn State led Sacred Heart, 58-39. With 12 minutes to go, those Lions of Ed’s, had visions of sugar-plumbs stuck in their heads.
And the wheels came off. The starters were sluggish, and quite frankly, deserved to be benched. But that never happened (Battle finished with 37 minutes). All of a sudden, PSU was looking at just a 3 point lead with 50 seconds left. Talor Battle finally had enough, converting an And-1 at that point, extending PSU’s lead to 6. Two more free throws added to the final score.
Battle had 20 points at halftime, finished with 25 on 13 shots. Jamelle had 13 and 9.
But what did we learn from this game? Absolutely nothing. What did we gain from this game? Absolutely nothing. Did the team get better as a result of this game? Absolutely not. How is this game going to prepare us for the Big Ten schedule? Who the hell knows. So the question is, why was this game scheduled anyway?