PSU survived a dreadful first half (How on earth were we up 7?), put together probably the best 15 minutes of basketball I have ever seen PSU play in league play, and went on to blowout UM 73-58 last night. It was 72-46 with less than 4 minutes to play.
I’m not a UM hater like most PSU fans, but this game was fun. The football streak got all the headlines the last few years. Of course, no one knew (other than myself) PSU had lost 11 straight against UM before last season’s 69-61 victory at the BJC. But UM was terrible last season, and while it was a relief to finally beat them, I still wanted that satisfying beating of the Wolverines. I certainly got more than that last night against a UM team that was ranked 4 days ago.
Although the first 10 minutes certainly didn’t start out that way. Just a mere 3 minutes into the game, PSU had turned the ball over on their only 3 possessions, while UM had already grabbed 3 offensive rebounds. Why UM crapped the bed those first 10 minutes is beyond me. They had so many clean looks and straight up bricked them all. Maybe it was the tightness of the rim, but PSU put that hypothesis to rest when they nailed 7 of 10 from 3 at the same basket in the 2nd half. Those early UM bricks won PSU the game, because even if they only hit like 3 or 4 more of their 16 3pt attempts in the 1st half (they only made 2 for a futile 12.5%), PSU would’ve been facing a double digit deficit early in the game.
There were few bright spots in the first half, but Jamelle Cornley certainly was the brightest. UM couldn’t stop him all night. PSU worked the ball well through UM’s 1-3-1 zone to eventually get Jamelle in position to do work on the low block. He was the reason why PSU was winning at the half and why our offense looked so smooth in the second. His unstoppable presence drew double-teams and led to plenty of inside-out action by PSU later in the game. PSU led at the half 29-22 as Cornley had 11 points on 5-6 shooting at the break.
The rout was on as soon as the second half started. Jamelle came out and made his first 3 shots to start the half, culminating in a double-pump slam on a fast break (JC finished with a double-double – 17 points (8-10) and 11 rebounds). PSU scored 8 points in 2 minutes before Beilein had to call TO. At that point the score was 37-24. Michigan never threatened again. PSU extended their lead to 53-30 with 12 minutes to go through a 3 point barrage by Battle, Pringle, and D-Mo – they all got clean look after clean look and buried them. PSU finished 7-10 from 3 in the second half. Hopefully this will jumpstart D-Mo’s 3pt%. His 3-4 performance last night has raised his season average to 34% (up from 32% entering the game). He’s made 9-20 (45%) his last 5 games. He’s also looked fine logging 28 minutes the last two games – his knee isn’t hampering him at all it seems.
Andrew Ott was probably the biggest highlight of the night. He has far exceeded my expectations for what he could bring to the table. He might not have all the physical skills, but the guy has a brain. He knows how to play the game. In just 10 minutes of playing time, Ott logged 8 points (4-4 from the field) 1 rebound and 2 assists. While UM is incredibly small which could be attributed to Ott’s success, you can’t take away anything from Ott’s performance. I haven’t seen a PSU post player pass as well as he has shown in just a few a games.
Some random factoids…
- PSU’s bench outscored UM’s 21-18.
- PSU shot 58% from the field, 52% from 3, and 38% from the foul line. Andrew Ott and D-Mo went 0-5 combined from the charity stripe.
- Jeff Brooks had a ridiculous one handed offensive rebound and putback, torturing me once again with what he could become.
- DJ Jackson had a nice drop-step in the first half, but he missed 2 open jumpers though. Beilein had PG David Merritt guard him at one point. DJ has to play better so he commands at least some sort of attention from the opposition.
- Talor Battle wasn’t 100%. It was pretty clear when I was at the game. I found out later that he told the BTN he wasn’t 100%. That still didn’t stop him from putting up 15 points and 6 assists.
- Manny Harris is the second national top 50 scorer PSU has shut down. He only scored 4 points in 26 minutes (average was 18.9 PPG coming in). Dionte Christmas was the other. Christmas only scored 2 points in 27 minutes against the Lions, but at least his team won the game.
- Jamelle now has 1,345 points for his career, which is 10th currently all-time at PSU.