You all can make your own opinions about the information laid out on this post. This is simply a possession-by-possession offensive breakdown of PSU’s 65-54 loss to Michigan State. The entry pass count is obviously how many times PSU threw an entry pass into the paint to somebody posted up with their back to the basket. The center touches count is how many times Andrew Jones or Andrew Ott touch the ball on each possession.
Editor’s Note: If you don’t want to spend the time reading this novel, you should just scroll down to the end and read the final counts.
Possession #1 – 7 passes around the perimeter leads to a badly missed 3 from Babb. Nobody posted up once to call for the ball. Entry Pass Count – 0. Center Touches – 0. Shot Clock Usage – :28 seconds
Possession #2 – Jeff Brooks receives the first pass and drives into the lane. His penetration forces Derrick Nix to help, leaving Andrew Jones open on the low block. Brooks sees it and passes the ball. Jones fumbles the pass out of bounds for an unforced turnover. Poor execution on both players’ account. EPC – 0. CT – 1. SCU – :09.
Possession #3 – Ball screens and dribble handoffs for 20 seconds. Nobody posts up once. Battle is left with the ball 30 feet from the hoop. His forced drive marked the first time the ball crossed the 3 point line. He doesn’t even make it past the foul line before he loses the ball. Turnover #2. EPC – 0. CT – 1. SCU – :28.
Possession #4 – Miscommunication on MSU’s part leaves Chris Babb with the ball at the wing and an open baseline. Good recognition by Babb to drive and draw the foul. He made 1 of 2 at the line. EPC – 0. CT -1. SCU – :14.
Possession #5 – Another questionable switch by MSU leaves Kalin Lucas on Jeff Brooks. Brooks actually posts up, which leads to the first entry pass by PSU. Good recognition by the team on the mismatch, but Brooks misses the shot because of good help defense by Nix. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :21.
Possession #6 (Transition) – Battle, probably bored from the last 5 possessions, forces a 2 on 3 break. He gets caught underneath after he drives it all the way to the hoop, but right when it looks like he’s about to pull it back out, he makes a crafty spin move and puts up a reverse lay up. He misses, but David Jackson grabs the offensive board and lays it back in. Good job by Brooks and DJ crashing the boards. Poor job by MSU getting back and boxing out.
Possession #7 (Transition) – A mishandled MSU pass leads to a steal by Chris Babb, who recognizes Battle running down the court. Battle makes a pretty over the shoulder catch and slams it home.
Possession #8 – After some more Battle/Babb/Jackson exchanges around the perimeter, Brooks attempts to post up again. However, he does so roughly 10 feet away from the hoop and ends up receiving the pass about 17 feet away on the wing (not an entry pass). Brooks aggressively (or recklessly, depending on your perspective) drives the baseline against Durrell Summers. Summers knocks the ball out of bounds with 14 seconds on the shot clock, a blessing considering Brooks was going absolutely nowhere with the ball. The inbounds play was pass the ball back to Brooks, who’s 30 feet away from the hoop. Brooks catches the ball and motions for Battle to come get the ball. This exchange somehow takes 5 seconds. Talor Battle now has the ball 30 feet away with 9 seconds left on the shot clock. He looks to the coaching staff for direction, another 3 seconds wasted. After realizing he is on his own, he calls David Jackson out for a screen, but DJ slips and Battle feeds him the ball out of the double team. DJ has the rock near the top of the key about 22 feet away with less than :03 on the shot clock (which is audibly known by the student section). He has enough room to put up the shot, but he somehow thinks he can make another pass to Ott underneath. Shot clock violation. Turnover #3. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :35 seconds.
Possession #9 – Brooks drives this time from the corner on Draymond Green, a much better match-up. He gets into the lane and makes a nice kickout pass to David Jackson, who nails the 3. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :09.
Possession #10 – Battle forces a three early in the possession off a ball screen from Jackson. Poor shot selection from Talor, as he airballed the shot. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :08.
Possession #11 – Battle’s not in, but nothing really changes. Ott (or anybody else for that matter) never posts up. Frazier tries to split a double team and penetrate twice, but MSU plays good defense. Possession ends in a fall-away 24 footer from Babb. Clank. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :29.
Possession #12 – Battle beats Summers on a drive off the bounce and forces a foul. On the reset, PSU runs the same inbounds ‘play’ aka throw the ball into the backcourt. Mike Kebler, the defensive star apparently, nearly forces the easy turnover but doesn’t. Frazier and Battle are on the floor together this time, but again, nothing changes. Only 2 passes occur throughout this 25 second possession. Frazier to Battle back to Frazier. Frazier tries to penetrate again and force something, but he travels. Turnover #4. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :27.
Possession #13 – A foul as Battle brings the ball up leads to another opportunity for PSU to run an inbounds play. Once again, PSU is forced to throw the ball out to Frazier near halfcourt. After a few more perimeter passes, Frazier beats his man off the dribble (pretty easily in fact), but has no one to pass to. He misses a tough 8 foot runner in the lane. EPC – 1. CT – 1. SCU – :18.
Possession #14 – Battle forces the issue after a rebound, despite once again not having numbers. He still beats his defenders and gets to the hoop, but there’s no way he’s getting a shot up. He makes a nice dish to Jones in the paint, who gets fouled. The inbounds play goes to Brooks on the wing this time, but MSU wasn’t pressing the issue. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what MSU is doing here. They did not seem to be ready as the ball was inbounded. It took them a while for everybody to get on a man, and their confusion led to Battle being guarded by Draymond Green. After driving by Green on the break before the foul, Battle decides to pull up from 3 in Green’s face. Swish. EPC – 1. CT – 2. SCU – :14.
Possession #15 – Battle is coming off the ball, but Chris Allen is able to stay with him through some screens. Multiple exchanges around the perimeter once again. Andrew Jones gets a pass off a slip screen from Battle, about 12 feet from the hoop on the baseline. Jones makes a nice explosive move to the basket, but too bad he can’t explode vertically. He gets blocked by Raymar Morgan, and MSU gets the deflection. EPC – 1. CT – 3. SCU – :25.
Possession #16 – Not sure what the hell MSU is doing this possession, either. Summers and Allen miscommunicate right away and leave Battle wide open. Deep 3 is good. EPC – 1. CT – 3. SCU – :11.
Possession #17 – PSU tries to find Battle coming off a double screen, but it’s well-defended. After a few more exchanges around the perimeter, Battle gets a little daylight and puts up a long 2-pointer. He is fouled on the attempt. He makes 1 of 2 at the line. EPC – 1. CT – 3. SCU – :26.
Possession #18 (Transition) – Fast break with Battle going 1-on-1 with Chris Allen. Impressive defense by Allen forcing Battle to miss a tough layup without fouling. Not sure if CA got a piece of it or not.
Possession #19 – More of the same as far as exchanges around the perimeter. With 8 seconds left on the shot clock, Battle has the ball 40 feet away from the hoop. He dishes to DJ, who pretty much has to put up a contested 3. No good. EPC – 1. CT – 3. SCU – :29.
Possession #20 – I should mention this possession is coming after ED called a timeout. Andrew Jones receives a pass this time. He catches it at the top of the key and immediately passes it off. I don’t even know how else to describe this anymore. It’s more of the same, but I’ve felt like I’ve said that at least 4 times already. Actually, no. I’m going to call it ‘Ring Around the Perimeter’ or RAP, for short. I think everybody on the court touches the ball once, but the ball never crosses the 3 point line. Babb is left with the ball at the top of the key with time running down. He’s doubled and forces a pass to DJ at the elbow with 5 seconds left. Derrick Nix inexcusably fouls to bail PSU out. The inbounds goes back to halfcourt again (this is after a media timeout because of Nix’s foul). Jones gets another pass, but he’s not a threat 25 feet from the hoop. After plenty of RAP, Babb fakes out Lucas (off the ball) and drains an open 3. EPC – 1. CT – 5. SCU – :31/:18.
Possession #21 – RAP. Jones doesn’t touch the ball and sets weak screens. A little dribble penetration by Battle and a kick to DJ for yet another 3. He misses but the rebound is deflected out of bounds. Good hustle by Brooks to save it to Battle under the hoop who gets fouled. He makes both free throws. EPC – 1. CT – 5. SCU – :18.
Possession #22 – Babb gets some separation as his defender gets caught behind Jones after a screen, but he forces a three from the top of the key and misses badly. Not a good shot, considering Babb took 3 or 4 steps backwards before shooting off the dribble. EPC – 1. CT – 5. SCU – :15.
Possession #23 – RAP. Only thing different is Battle forces a drive and tries to kick it to Jones. It’s a low pass and Jones isn’t gonna do anything with it anyway, so he kicks it back out. Battle drains a 35 footer with :06 on the shot clock. Go team! EPC – 1. CT – 6. SCU – :29.
NOTE: Should I even mention at this time that Michigan State gets Durrell Summers a WIDE OPEN jumper as the shot clock expires? And they had to inbound the ball with only :07 on the shot clock.
Possession #24 – Andrew Jones gets the ball twice on this possession. Both times are out at the 3 point line. This great possession ends with an 18-foot airball off the dribble from Cam Woodyard as the shot clock expires. EPC – 1. CT – 8. SCU – :35.
Possession #25 – Frazier tries to penetrate and gets fouled after 20 seconds of RAP. He goes to the line for 1-and-1. Frazier makes the first and misses the second. EPC – 1. CT – 8. SCU – :20.
Possession #26 – RAP. Jones gets a touch out there. Frazier splits another double team and gets penetration, but MSU recovers nicely on defense. Battle has to force a contested 3 that doesn’t drop. EPC – 1. CT – 9. SCU – :32.
Possession #27 – Battle’s dramatics draw a foul on Chris Allen early in the possession. Talor makes the first at the line, but misses the 2nd. Jones makes a nice tip on the rebound, though, and PSU gets the ball again. Steve Lavin comments that PSU now has a chance for a 2 for 1 at the end of the half, but PSU RAPs it for 30 seconds. Jones is included. Tim Frazier, the pure shooter that he is, has to put up a contested 3. “Wow, a rock” was the description from Lavin. EPC – 1. CT – 10. SCU – :32.
HALFTIME: Thanks to some crazy hot shooting by Battle, PSU is down only 6. Yes, they only threw one entry pass to somebody posted up on the low block (when Brooks was posting up Lucas).
Possession #28 – Jackson off another slip screen makes a nice, aggressive drive to the hoop. He just doesn’t finish the lay up. EPC – 1. CT – 10. SCU – :09
Possession #29 – Michigan State falls asleep on defense. Jones is left open on the low block. We’ll count it as an entry pass even though he’s not posting up anybody. Battle finds him and Jones slams it home. EPC – 2. CT – 11. SCU – :07.
Possession #30 – RAP. Kalin Lucas backs off Battle, I guess respecting Battle’s driving ability (and possibly his own bum ankle), so Talor puts it up and buries another 3. EPC – 2. CT – 11. SCU – :16.
Possession #31 – Jones gets two more touches out at the top of the key (and a shot fake one time to boot! He had me fooled). Battle makes an NBA 3 with a guy in his face at the buzzer. Go team! EPC – 2. CT – 13. SCU – :32.
Possession #32 – Jones gets the ball because Battle picks up his dribble. Chris Allen cheats way too hard to help on Battle and leaves Babb wide open in the corner for a 3. EPC – 2. CT – 14. SCU – :20.
NOTE: At this time, I’m starting to feel like I’m coming across as criticizing Jones throughout this post. I just wanted to clarify that is not my intent. I’m simply informing what his ‘role’ is in this offense the coaching staff is running.
Possession #33 – Jeff Brooks wants his own possession. After a defensive rebound, Jeff brings the ball up the court himself. He then decides to not give it up to anybody and drive all the way to the hoop. His short 5 foot floater goes in and out. EPC – 2. CT – 14. SCU – :08.
Possession #34 – Jones participates in RAP. Brooks gets an open look from 3 but it’s long. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :12.
Possession #35 – RAP for 15 seconds until Kalin Lucas reaches in on Battle. On the reset, more RAP until Battle dishes while in mid shot to DJ in the corner for a clean 3. He buries it. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :18/:14.
Possession #36 – RAP until a switch has Babb guarded by Garrick Sherman. Chris makes a nice drive and kick to DJ, who dishes off to a wide open Talor Battle. MSU was chasing as soon as Babb drove. Battle’s 3 is money. At this point Talor has 24 of PSU’s 41 points and is 6-8 from 3. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :25.
Possession #37 – This possession starts with Brooks coming off a down screen and receiving the ball at the top of the key. Jeff then dribbles the ball back towards Battle like he’s going to hand it back off, but he keeps it and splits the double team with a smooth spin move. He finishes the play with a tough 8 foot fall-away bank shot. It was his usual glimpse of greatness that usually happens once a game. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :15.
Possession #38 – Brooks, now overconfident, forces a baseline drive that isn’t there. He attempts to pass it back out to Babb, but it’s low. Not really sure why Babb makes such a feeble effort to catch it, either. He most likely wasn’t ready for it, but who knows. Turnover #5 as Lucas picks up the loose ball.
Possession #39 – RAP for 25 seconds. Battle then has to decide on his own what to do. He makes the pass to Babb who puts up a contested 23 footer as the shot clock winds down. It’s long but the rebound goes out of bounds off MSU. The inbounds pass has to be tracked down by Battle 85 feet away from the hoop. More RAP for 25 seconds. Battle then penetrates and draws the defense. He kicks it out to DJ for an open 3. PSU takes the lead. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :33/:30.
Possession #40 – Battle shoots a quick 3 early in the shot clock, but the ball goes out of bounds off MSU. I must make a note that Mike Kebler has entered the game sometime before this possession. Kebler got screened by DJ before this shot, and I wouldn’t say he contested it more than Allen/Lucas or anybody else on Battle’s shots all game. It was just a quick shot by Battle (who was moving to his left when he caught and fired) and he missed. I don’t think Kebler’s defense had anything to do with it. The inbounds pass is the first time PSU executes any sort of set. Frazier catches a pass on the wing, not in the backcourt. Battle, the inbounder, comes off a nice downscreen by Ott and fires up a clean 3. Steve Lavin called it a ‘good’ look. Unfortunately, Talor misses again (progressing toward the mean?). Kebler was guarding Frazier on the shot, anyway. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :10.
Possession #41 – Tim Frazier gets a little too crazy here. He’s once again able to get right to the rim but the MSU defense collapses on him and swats his shot. The deflection goes out of bounds off Ott. Wasted possession. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :06.
Possession #42 – Andrew Ott gets called for 3 seconds. Mind-numbing turnover considering what this offense has done in the paint the entire course of this game. Turnover #6. EPC – 2. CT – 15. SCU – :12.
Possession #43 – More RAP. Although this time Frazier comes off a curl cut and receives a pass at the foul line. MSU defense is chasing. Eventually Battle ends up with the ball and drives the baseline. He’s cut off, but finds Ott, who makes a strong dribble towards the hoop. Maybe his move was too strong, or Draymond Green wrapped around his body and picked his pocket. All I know is Ott loses the ball going up and it deflects high off the backboard and back in play. Frazier corrals the loose ball but there’s only :10 on the clock. I guess he felt the need to penetrate and create on his own because he misses a wide open Chris Babb, who was calling for the ball 5 feet from him. Frazier instead drives and dishes to Talor in a bad spot underneath the hoop. Talor then tries to dribble amongst a big crowd with nowhere to go and it goes off his foot. Turnover #7. Nothing impressive by Kebler, yet. EPC – 2. CT – 16. SCU – :31.
Possession #44 – Frazier is holding the ball as the Lions try to run a set to get either Battle or Babb open coming off the ball. Ott sets a great pick of Kebler and Battle is open. It was a tough angle, but I’m not sure why Tim didn’t try to make the skip pass. Anyway, nothing happens for 20 seconds so Battle has it at the top of the key with the clock winding down. DJ starts to come out for a screen so Kebler prepares for it by taking away Battle’s right. Battle waves off DJ, and then drives to his left. The problem is the entire team is on the right side of the court. Poor spacing gives Battle nowhere to go with the rock when the D collapses. He pulls it back out and Ott tries to come out and screen. At this point, there’s just not enough time for anything to materialize, and Battle is stuck trying to heave a fadeaway 30 footer, but it’s after the shot clock buzzer. Kebler is in his grill on this ‘attempt’, which prompts praise from MSU’s bench and the broadcast team. However, I don’t see how Kebler is responsible for the outcome of this possession. Turnover #8. EPC – 2. CT – 16. SCU – :35.
NOTE: At this point, I would also like to note that I have no hate or bias towards Mike Kebler. I’m just very skeptical that a walk-on player, who has not played much at all this year, can shut down somebody as good as Talor Battle.
Possession #45 – RAP all day. Ott gets two touches. Possession ends with Battle driving 1 on 3. O’Brien calls it ‘a wild shot in the lane’. Lavin calls it a 9.8 out of 10 as far as degree of difficulty. Kebler is not even one of the 3 Spartans defending Talor’s drive. EPC – 2. CT – 18. SCU – :29.
Possession #46 – RAP. Ott gets a touch and get this. When he does, he passes it to Battle, who is posting up Kebler (about 15 feet from the hoop, not an entry pass). Just interesting to me that our center is feeding a posted up point guard. Frazier eventually gets the ball this time with the clock winding down. He penetrates and forces a wild shot that has no chance of going in, but it comes after the shot clock buzzer anyway. Turnover #9. EPC – 2. CT – 19. SCU – :35.
Possession #47 (Transition) - We’ll call this transition just because of how quick the shot is. After a block by David Jackson, Battle brings the ball up the court and immediately finds Babb open in the far corner. He’s got some daylight to put up the shot, but I don’t think Babb has earned the right to shoot whenever he wants. Then again, that might have been the best shot we could have gotten all possession. He misses. EPC – 2. CT – 19. SCU – :04.
Possession #48 - Battle races down the court after a missed free throw and uses his theatrics to draw a foul on Kebler. Another weak inbounds set results in Brooks catching it in the backcourt. Battle sets up the offense and somehow Lucas is on Brooks again. Brooks posts up, DJ feeds him, and Brooks gets an easy two points. First high-low action from PSU in the game. Too bad MSU already went on a 13-0 run. EPC – 3. CT – 19. SCU – :11.
Possession #49 – Battle forces the issue again after a miss. He penetrates and kicks to Babb, who swings it to DJ. MSU hasn’t gotten back on defense, and DJ puts up an open 3. Unfortunately, DJ’s shot is a brick. Steve Lavin called the shot ‘a grenade’. O’Brien says, “We’ve seen a bunch of those today.” EPC – 3. CT – 19. SCU – :08.
Possession #50 - Battle comes down the court and Ed calls a play. I swear, all that happens is Battle comes off a weak ball screen by DJ to advance from the wing to the top of the key. All four players are now watching Battle dribble the ball. Talor then tries a very weak attempt at a dribble weave with Babb. As Babb passes the ball back, Kebler knocks it away. Good defense by Kebler, but I think I could have deflected the incredibly weak pass. PSU inbounds the ball and Talor roams around the arc with DJ attempting some slip screens. Battle eventually drives past Kebler, who was screened, and makes a tough floater in the lane. EPC – 3. CT – 19. SCU – :30.
Possession #51 – RAP for 20 seconds. Battle then splits a double team (DJ set up for another ball screen) and gets fouled by either Kebler or Green. The inbounds set is just a lob into Andrew Jones at the wing. More RAP for 20 seconds after the reset. Babb drives and pulls up for a 15-footer from the corner. Brick. Not a good shot. EPC – 3. CT – 20. SCU – :22/:23.
Possession #52 - After some more 2 man game with Battle, Jackson slips to the basket and posts up. Battle swings it to Babb on the wing, but he doesn’t drop it in to DJ. It looks like PSU is making a concerted effort to get it inside here, but I really don’t know why Babb doesn’t make this entry pass. DJ looks to have Raymar Morgan sealed. Babb instead throws it to Drew Jones at the foul line, who has a much worse angle on the pass to DJ. He kicks it back out to Babb, who then forces a pass to Jackson, who is clearly no longer open. The refs call it off of PSU. Questionable call, but Ed doesn’t argue despite it happening right in front of his face. Turnover #10. EPC – 3. CT – 21. SCU – :17.
Possession #53 - Desperation mode. There’s two minutes left with a 12 point deficit. Battle recklessly drives into the lane and is fouled. He makes 1 of 2 at the line. EPC – 3. CT – 21. SCU – :08.
Possession #54 – Battle, after getting abused on defense by Lucas, comes right down the court and nails a pull up 3. EPC – 3. CT – 21. SCU – :04.
Possession #55 – Highberger is in. He brings the ball up the court and gets mauled from behind by Derrick Nix. Officials don’t call the foul and the ball goes out of bounds off PSU. Turnover #11. EPC – 3. CT – 21. SCU – :07.
Possession #56 - Babb misses a 3. I got tired of waiting for the ESPN360 feed, but I have to assume there were no Center Touches or Entry Passes.
- Just 3 total entry passes for the entire game from Penn State. It was really more like 2, but I was generous and counted Battle finding a wide open Andrew Jones as one. Jeff Brooks posted up twice when he was guarded by Kalin Lucas. That is the only time Penn State fed the ball to the low block.
- Just 21 touches by Andrew Ott and Andrew Jones combined, 13 of which came out past the 3 point line. They did attempt to post up throughout the game, but it was seldom. Even when they did, they never seriously called for the ball and it looked like they were just going through the motions. 56 possessions, 8 touches inside the 3 point line. We’re playing 4 on 5.
- 22 times PSU ran the shot clock to under :10. I’m not going to figure out the success rate because it’s probably half decent, considering Battle hit some ridiculous shots.
Now, for everyone wondering why I haven’t been blogging, try being motivated to do so when watching a team whose offensive gameplan is as frustrating as this. This is all we’ve seen the last month. It’s a miracle that we’re even in games. Talor Battle is phenomenal in that regard. With the same personnel coming back next year, how can we expect things to change?