The college basketball season is a rollercoaster ride. There’s always plenty of ups and downs. This was certainly a downturn for PSU. And Minnesota played probably as well as you could possibly ever play, winning 79-59. There was a whole lot of bad yesterday and not too much good, but at least one of our bad days was in a game we had a minimal chance of winning anyways.
The one thing that was troubling was our defensive woes reared its ugly head. We played well for all of the first 5 minutes or so of the game. Then it just went downhill. It’s really too painful to go into detail, but PSU couldn’t stop anything. Open layups, cutters, backdoors…Minnesota got whatever they wanted. They finished the game 9-9 from 3, while Blake Hoffarber didn’t even attempt one. PSU tried to cut into MN’s early 10 point lead with some threes, but they would be completely unable to do so due to their uncanny ability to allow an open layup only seconds later.
It was an ugly game. However, obviously Minnesota is a much-better squad than I anticipated. That was clearly not the same team that played 3 or 4 days ago against Iowa. And while PSU made it very easy for them, 9-9 from 3 is just one of those days where the other team couldn’t miss. Minnesota finished 30-48 from the field (62%).
While Minnesota couldn’t miss, PSU couldn’t make. Stanley Pringle had an off day like I said was forthcoming in the preview. He’s just been shooting far too well for it to continue. He had some great open looks early, he just bricked them. He also picked up 2 fouls in the first half and sat out quite a bit. He only played 24 minutes and finished with just 7 points on 8 shots. Talor Battle played well, which was encouraging against such a great defender like Nolen. Battle’s final stats aren’t too great (19 points on 17 shots), but many of those came in desperation time. He blew by Nolen on at least one occasion, and he was able to beat his man off the bounce and get to the rim almost whenever he wanted. He created many opportunities for his teammates, finishing with 9 assists. That would undoubtedly be higher if certain guys could make shots or hold onto the ball. Jamelle had another frustrating game. Quite frankly, I wish we had the sophomore/freshmen version of him because this senior guy keeps thinking he’s guard. I mean, we know you’re only 6’3″ but you’re our only low post presence offensively. So stay on the low block, thanks. He finished with 10 points (11 shots) 6 boards, and 5 pretty ugly turnovers. So the big 3 combined for 36 points on 36 shots. That’s not going to get it done for us. I’m going to keep a tracker for the rest of the season on if we win or lose games when the Big 3 don’t score say…45 points. I’ll get caught up from the rest of the season and post it in the next few days.
With Pringle’s early foul trouble, Chris Babb got some valuable PT. He hit two big threes to keep PSU in the game early. He once again looked like he could become a player, but why he doesn’t play more just doesn’t make any sense. He can play 20 minutes against Minnesota but 5 against Hartford? He looks like he can help the team, put him on the floor.
You know who can’t help the team anymore? David Jackson. He has taken ‘sophomore slump’ to a whole new level. His statline at the Barn the last two years…
He deserves a seat right next to the trainers until he can show in practice that he deserves some PT again. Brooks and Babb get all his minutes until then. Neither one of those 2 have been spectacular, but DJ has become a complete liability. He’s so weak with the basketball. Nothing was worse than watching him brick a follow up layup after a TB miss from point blank range. It’s a shame how awful he’s been playing compared to what he was doing last year.
Andrew Ott had an amazing sequence where he made an impressive catch off a high skip pass against the press. He then did a good job passing it off then crashing the boards. He got an offensive rebound, made the putback, got fouled, and hit the foul shot. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but with how uncompetitive the rest of the game was in the second half, maybe he should’ve gotten more than 6 minutes?
Nothing irritates me more when Danny Morrissey bricks a wide open look. That’s why you’re in there, D-Mo. He needs to get his jumper back before he deserves more minutes, as well. Get Babb and Woodyard some time, they are the future.
Gotta love the Big Ten this year. We get to rebound from this with a game against Michigan State on Wednesday…