Nick Colella’s three-point shot spun around the rim for what felt like an eternity before falling helplessly into the hands of a Purdue defender with less than three minutes to play.
The attempt — which would have cut Nittany Lions’ deficit to two after playing catch-up much of the second half — summed up a lackluster finish to a game in which no Penn State player proved capable of taking over the game.
Throughout its woeful Big Ten season, Penn State has been unsuccessfully searching for a way to answer its opponents at crucial points of games, and this trend remained true in the Lions’ 58-49 loss to the Boilermakers on Tuesday night. D.J. Newbill led the Lions’ attack in the second frame, scoring 15 of the team’s 24 points, but many of these points were ultimately too little, too late for the struggling squad.
Coach Patrick Chambers said Newbill’s 17-point, seven-assist outing was commendable, but there’s only so much the makeshift point guard can do.
“He’s getting there,” Chambers said. “He had a couple tough turnovers to start the second half. Again, he’s doing his best impersonation of [injured guard] Tim [Frazier], and he’s trying to lead this team.”
However, the redshirt sophomore was unable to lead the comeback as the Lions shot just 28.6 percent in the second half with none of Newbill’s teammates finishing on a high note offensively.
Chambers said having the Lions’ second-leading scorer Jermaine Marshall — who made one of his seven shots in the second half and finished with just seven points — step up could have been a difference maker as well.
“[If] Jermaine has an average game, who knows?” Chambers said. “We might be sitting here with a win. But, that’s not the case and that’s why this game is great.”
When asked what a consistent closer — as Frazier was prior to his season-ending injury in November — would do for a team struggling to close out opponents such as his, Chambers put it quite simply.
“We wouldn’t be 0-10,” Chambers said, “if we had another option, a third or fourth option.”