A tough, tough loss for Indiana. Verdell Jones III was very emotional afterwards, waving his arms all over the place in frustration before Crean grabbed him and helped him regather himself.
Meanwhile, Nick Williams collapsed to the court Craig Ehlo-style and sat crouched there for a few moments before Crean grabbed and hugged him, as well.
What an effort by the Hoosiers and from their end, this one has to hurt more than any other this year.
Penn State gets the win, which is really all that matters. But I suppose the players can now go celebrate the rest of State Patty's Day, because they played like they were drunk through much of the evening.
They'll have a few days to nurse their hangovers, with Illinois coming in for a 9 p.m. tip on ESPN Thursday night. We'll be here for their home finale, where the Nits look to sweep the Hoosiers.
Until next time, this is Matt Fortuna signing off from the BJC. Enjoy the night responsibly, folks.
As IU prepares to inbound, PSU calls a timeout, its second to last.
Roth forces a 3, it's off the rim and headed out of bounds before Battle tries to save it ahead to Morrissey. Battle is whistled for being on the line.
PSU chooses not to foul for whatever reason, and Roth is forced to jack up another wild 3 that hits only the front end of the rim as PSU escapes with the victory.
Cornley will now address the crowd...
The senior thanks all the fans, tenured and new, for their support and reminds them that there is still "One more game" left in the BJC.
DJ with nice defense on Pritchard as he knocks the ball out of bounds. Crean doesn't like what he sees out of the inbounds and uses his last timeout with 16.2 left in the game and 12 on the 35, down three.
Battle dribbles around seemingly aimlessly for 30 seconds or so, then makes a beautiful spin move in the paint and finds Cornley, who double-clutches and jams it home before letting out a huge yell underneath the basket as this crowd is rockin'.
Who would have thought Iowa and Indiana would be the two most exciting home games of the season for PSU?
Battle fouls Jones on the other end, but he misses the front end of a 1-and-1. The loose ball rolls out, is ruled off Indy but then overturned as the Hoosiers get the ball back.
Crean calls a timeout with 39.6 to go and his team down three.
Battle hits just one of two out of the break, as Indy hangs on to a two-point lead.
Dumes is long on a 3 on the next possession, but a Prtichard offensive rebound keeps the Hoosiers going.
Pringle then intercepts a Verdell Jones pass and hits Battle on the 2-on-1 fastbreak to tie the game at 57, and this crowd is on its feet.
That same crowd now can't believe Cornley was called for a blocking foul on Verdell Jones, who now goes to the line with just over two minutes to play in a tight game.
Jones bricks the first, but get a friendly roll on the second to give IU the one-point lead.
"Stand Up!" now being shouted from Nittany Nation, and this time it actually works, as even the alumni are out of their seats.
They are all rewarded, as Cornley hits a baby-hook in the paint to give the Lions a one-point lead.
Battle then comes up with a steal, and Ed calss a quick timeout as "Woo-Hoo!" blasts over the loudspeakers.
1:23 to go,
PSU 59, IU 58
Indy does everything right defensively out of the timeout, working the PSU shotclock all the way down to one before a tough foul call on Williams as DJ takes a fadeaway jumper.
DJ knocks down one, and Battle is fouled on PSU's next trip down. Six for the Hoosiers.
Williams picks up a foul, and PSU will be shooting after the break.
3:44 to go,
IU 57, PSU 54
These Hoosiers are a resilient bunch, as Verdell Jones III drops in a pair of buckets to cut the lead to one. Pritchard appears to be holding on the next possession, but for whatever reason can't believe he is called for his fourth foul, bringing us to the under-8 timeout.
During the break, the PA announcer asks everyone to remain in their seats following the game to listen to a special address from a senior. Hmmm....wonder who that could be?
Out of the stoppage, Cornley's baseline fadeaway doesn't fall, and DJ fouls Dumes, PSU's seventh foul.
Dumes hits both to put IU up one, but DJ responds with a lay-in as PSU re-takes the lead.
Did I say PSU was winning? Dumes has other ideas, knocking down a three to put IU up two. WOW!
Cornley is alllll over Williams in the paint, but the IU frosh hits the tough shot to put his team up four and prompt DeChellis to call a timeout.
Penn State's NCAA hopes hanging in the balance here.
5:17 to go,
IU 57, PSU 53
Pringle is whistled for a foul, and no, you're not going crazy. He sandwiches the break with a pair of fouls and is now replaced by Morrissey, who was replaced by Babb during the break, since the Virginia Beach native has four fouls.
Dumes, who after a hot start was forced to sit because of foul trouble, gets back into the scoring column with a trey and just like that it's a one-point game again.
Andrew Jones fouls Pritchard, who made a nice turnaround. It looked like there was contact from up here, but Jones cannot believe the call as he jumps and down, much like the IU bench, though for far different reasons.
The Hoosiers now find themselves in front by a point after Pritchard nails the pair of FTs.
Battle only helps IU on the next possession as he jacks up a long 3 with a hand in his face.
And the captain makes me eat my own words, as he then hits a quick, open 3 on the next possession to put PSU out in front.
A few seconds later and Andrew Jones comes up with a big block. Battle pushes, overthrows Morrissey near the PSU bench but the senior saves it to Babb, who hits the open 3 as the crowd gets on its feet. Crean calls a timeout and "Sandstorm" blasts through the crowd, followed by "We Are..." chants.
PSU 51, IU 46
A Tijan Jobe lay-in can't drown out the Let's Go P-S-U chants, and Cornley puts in an overthrown Talor Battle pass before hitting the deck.
Pringle is whistled for another reach, as he puts his hands over his head in frustration at the call.
11:35 to go,
PSU 45, IU 41
The Lions can't get this crowd into it, but free pizza surely can, along with the Kiss Cam and "Call on Me" blaring in the background.
One lucky couple went 2-for-2, as the camera caught them eating their free pizza before they noticed they were on the screen and proceeded to lock lips.
The scoreboard then shows a kid sullenly get rejected by a girl clad in Penn State green on this State Patty's day. Guess she didn't celebrate hard enough, as she put a towel over her head when shown.
The back-and-forth between each team's Jones ends with a Cornley lay-up to put PSU up two. Danny Morrissey then picks up a loose ball and hits Battle for the lay-in on a 3-on-1 fastbreak, prompting a Tom Crean timeout and the first playing of Zombie Nation on the night, led, of course, by the grey and green-clad PSU QB.
13:18 to go,
PSU 43, IU 39
Well, at least this will be more entertaining than the NJIT game...
Andrew Jones and Taber exchange baskets to open up the second half before Battle knocks down a 3 to give PSU some breathing room.
But Indy answers quickly, with Pritchard putting in a pretty backdoor feed from Verdell Jones III for the two.
Jones II then fouls Morrissey on a 3 on the other end, but the senior can only manage to hit the last of his 3 FT attempts.
Pritchard and Andrew Jones exchange buckets, but again it's the other Jones, Verdell, making a nice play on the Hoosier side to silence any Lion rally. PSU up a point.
Pringle gets called for a handcheck, and this arena is silent at the under-16 timeout.
PSU 37, IU 36
Here's a quick look at some first half stats.
Field goals 10-25 40.0% 11-26 42.3%
3-point FGs 4-9 44.4% 3-11 27.3%
Free throws 4-5 80.0% 4-10 40.0%
Reb (O-D) 14 (4-10) 17 (6-11)
Turnovers 5 6
Right now, Penn State is just playing like its trying to get to Thursday's rematch with Illinois in one piece, and it's showing.
I can't say I really blame the team (I still say five of us on press row can give this group of Hoosiers a fairly competitive contest), but if the Nits were to somehow drop this contest, you can kiss all NCAA hopes alive unless they win the Big Ten tournament. Senior night or not, a loss to Indiana is inexcusable. Plain and simple.
Meanwhile, Daryll Clark, sporting a very flashy gold cross medallion, takes a seat right behind Nittany Nation and receives a warm welcome from some giddy fans.
Back with the second half in a bit
Pringle hits both free throws out of the break, but Matt Roth drains a 3 in front of the Nits' bench to cut the deficit to just one.
Will Leiner is waiting at the scorer's table to come in, but Battle is doing everythin to make DeChellis second-guess that decision, as the sophomore finishes a nice baseline drive with a reverse lay-in to put PSU up three.
Roth drains a 3 in front of the Nits' bench again, this one tying the game at 24. Jones takes a seat next to Leiner near the table.
Cornley can't connect on a turnaround baby-hook, but Brooks tips it twice, with the second one going in to put PSU up two.
Williams takes a solid three or four steps to the basket and lays it in for the Hoosiers to tie the game, drawing a raucous response from the crowd that thought (and correctly, I might add) that he should have been whistled for a travel.
Morrissey his one of two free throws on the other end as Leiner and Jones replace Battle and Cornley.
Malik Story gets whistled for a loose ball foul underneath his basket, as Pringle steps to the line with 26.2 ticks left to try to extend the one-point lead.
But he misses a pair, as the Lions are now just 4-for-10 from the stripe on the night.
I know we always said this could come back to haunt them one game, I just don't thin anyone imagined it would be against this crop of Hoosiers.
Indy holds for one, and Leiner fouls Verdel Jones right before he goes by him, and the Indy guard hits a pair to put IU up one.
But Pringle more than makes up for the missed pair of FTs by driving and hitting a pretty lay-up right before the horn, giving PSU the one-point lead at the break.
Halftime at the Jordan Center,
PSU 29, IU 28
Jeff Brooks in for Cornley out of the break. Who said DeChellis doesn't use his bench enough? That's now 11 different players to see action in the first 12:18 of tonight's contest.
D.J. runs into traffic on the baseline and gets called for the charge. He is immediately replaced by Cornley, whose break lasted the length of the timeout plus 11 seconds.
It's obviously been a rough year for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers, but you've gotta admire his intensity here in one of his team's final games of a tumultuous season. The Nits have been making sure everyone gets their respect here on Senior Night and have yet to get comfortable on the court yet, so I don't expect Indy to keep it close this much longer. Yet it says a lot that this Hoosier team hasn't played dead in the closing weeks.
Woodyard misses a 3 in front of the Indy bench, and he and Babb are replaced by Pringle and Morrissey. "We Want Will!" chants come from Nittany Nation, and he shows them his thanks from the bench.
Battle spins right around Moore to the paint, and the Hoosier guard is left with no choice but to immediately grab the PSU captain to stop him from an easy two.
Battle recovers from his previous trip to the charity stripe and hits the first, but is unable to connect on the second. No worries, as Brooks grabs the offensive rebound and hits the cutting point guard for the easy lay-in to put PSU back on top.
Pritchard turns the ball over and then gets called for a foul, his third already. The multi-faceted Cornley can't connect from the 3-point line on the ensuing possession, and Jones answers with a breakaway lay-in to put Indy up a point.
And just when the nerves started to build up inside the BJC, Pringle calms the home fans' anxiety with a 3 to put the Nits up 2. He grabs a rebound on the ensuing Indy miss and is fouled near the midcourt line. With that, it's the under-4 timeout.
3:50, first half,
PSU 20, Indy 18
Chris Babb and D.J. Jackson replace Ott and Morrissey out of the break, and Battle opens things up by missing a pair of free throws. He comes up with a quick steal however, but D.J. is unable to hit the 3.
Babb's long 3 with a hand in his face is all the way ... and all the way out. D.J. picks up a foul on the loose ball, and Cammeron Woodyard comes in for Pringle.
Verdell Jones with the tip-in. Did I say Jones? I was fooled by the PA announcer. D.J. actually hit the ball into the wrong basket while going up for the rebound, and Indy now finds itself up two.
Daniel Moore picks up the foul for Indy, and we head to the under-8 timeout.
7:42, first half,
IU 16, PSU 14
Morrissey's nice up and under won't fall, and Ott is unable to corral the rebound. Dumes answers with a 3 for his eighth points of the game and we have a tie ballgame.
Jones misses a 3 for IU, and the loose ball gets tapped all the way to the backcourt, where Battle does his best to impress the NFL combine scouts, running what looked like a 40-yard dash all the way to the other end of the court and trying to knock it off a Hoosier player. The whistle goes Indy's way, however.
Under-12 timeout at the 11:18 mark,
PSU 12, IU 12
PSU wins the tip and Leiner comes out running the offense on the first possession, which ends with a Pringle miss from the FT line.
Dumes drops a 3 for the first points of the game, but Pringle answers on the next possession with a trey of his own. Leiner had the ball first and looked ready to shoot, getting the crowd anxious, but he made the smart extra pass and found the open Pringle.
Cornley hits a tough baseline fadeaway on the next possession to put the Nits up a deuce.
Leiner follows on the next possession with a nice move as he gets to the rim for the lay-in, prompting the home PA announcer to scream his name for the first time this season. The crowd and the PSU bench get to their feet, and during a whistle on the following Indy possession he acknowledges Nittany Nation's support.
Morrissey hits a wide-open, deep three to put PSU in double digits, and Leiner finds Jones on the next possession and he knocks down the J from the elbow. Two points, two assists now for the Coplay, Pa., native.
Ott and Battle get ready to check in as we reach the under-16 timeout.
14:15, first half,
PSU 12, IU 9
For the first time this season, the scoreboard showed the "There is No Name on My Jersey" pump-up video shown before every home football game right before the starting lineups. This one, of course, featured basketball highlights.
Really classy move by Ed DeChellis to start Will Leiner on Senior Night. I know that's tradition, but I was skeptical as to whether DeChellis would follow it with the former walk-on.
As for the full lineups:
Verdell Jones III
Hey folks, Matt Fortuna coming to you LIVE from the BJC on State Patty's Day, where the Nits host the hapless Hoosiers on Senior Night.
The ceremonies are just underway, with all of the senior managers walking out with their families and greeting Ed DeChellis.
Not fair. I managed my high school team my senior year and since my little brother was a junior on the team, our coach didn't give me a bouquet of flowers to hand my mother before hand. Ouch.
Will Leiner was the first of the players to be introduced, receiving a video tribute and a nice ovation from the crowd appreciative of the hard work of a three-and-a-half year walk-on.
Stanley Pringle and Danny Morrissey followed, right before the beautiful finale, which featured a very emotional Jamelle Cornley, who was walked out by his parents and two other family members.
Cornley was crying like a baby, as he hugged his mother for an extended period of time while the green-clad crowd rose to its feet and gave thanks to the heart and soul of the Penn State basketball program.
In the aisles leading to the locker room are boxes containing props much like the Talor Battle ones that were waved around during the Michigan game featuring the heads of all the senior players.
The Accenture World Match Play Championships is playing down to the final four right now and Tiger Woods is nowhere to be seen after his loss to Tim Clark on Thursday.
But does anyone care the World's No. 1 isn't there?
Every year this is one of the tournaments I circle on my calendar and make sure I don't miss, no matter who's around come the weekend. This year's field is just as good as any, Tiger or not.
Ernie Els is playing like his old self, and his matchup with Stewart Cink is tight moving into the back nine. With the "Big Easy" playing at this level he may be a tough out as the weekend progresses.
Justin Leonard is showing his own resurgence and keeps plugging along against up-and-comer Ross Fisher. Another great match with no end in sight, as both men are playing very well.
Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U. S. Open winner, has a lead over Rory McIlroy and could be making an early season statement in the desert. If Ogilvy can find his form from a few years ago, he may be unbeatable in this one.
And last, but certainly not least, is Paul Casey. The Englishman has been on fire this week, annihilating everyone that's getting in his way. He's 5-up at the turn on Sean O'Hair, as O'Hair cannot generate any momentum against Casey.
So my predictions? Simple.
Els is gonna come back and take out Cink, no doubt about it. You can love Cink, but the "Big Easy" is back in top form.
Leonard will hold on and take out Fisher, and proceed onto the semifinals.
Ogilvy is on his way to the finals, maybe even the title, so my apologies to McIlroy in this one.
Taking Casey as he is now 6-up on hole 11 isn't really going out on a limb, so I'm taking him to win the whole thing. Casey over Ogilvy in what will be a great 36-hole match.
Casey wins the Accenture Match Play Championships, 3-and-2. Book it.
Well my battery is dying thanks to the good people at Rec Hall, who don't have every power outlet working. I guess this is it for the Live Blog. The score is 17-11 Lewis with a timeout on the court. We'll be sure to fill you in later tonight or tomorrow about what happened. This is Tom Kinslow signing out.
Lewis is still hanging tough despite being down two sets to none. Lewis leads 10-6.
Lewis looks much better in this set. I'm not sure if it's the Lions trying to coast through this third set or what.
Now there's a debate on the court between Edgardo and the two refs about a point. Somehow Edgardo persuaded them otherwise and the call was reversed. The Lions trail 11-15.
Unbelievable play by Will Price to keep play alive for Penn State and push the lead to 22-17. Price made an amazing dig, the set by Del Valle and Sunder finished the job. These are the types of plays Penn State has made all night. It's not that Lewis is playing bad -- they aren't. Penn State is just on its game tonight and when Penn State comes to play, you need to play above and beyond to stop them and the Flyers can't do that tonight.
So I'm pretty sure Max Holt is feeling alright. He's a bad, bad man and just delivered his sixth kill of the night right through the heart of Lewis' defense. The Lions lead 26-22.
Penn State inches closer to victory as Lewis misses a golden opportunity for a point. The Lions lead 29-23.
Naturally Penn State finishes the job and win the set 30-23 headed into the intermission.
Penn State has rallied to take a 12-11 lead and Lewis had called a timeout. Penn State is starting to run more crisp offensive sets and when Penn State runs it to perfection, there aren't many teams that can stop the Lions. The Flyers clearly aren't one of those teams.
The Lions are rolling now as Lewis' wheels are starting to fall off. Price hits a beautiful service ace that grazes the line and extends the Lions' advantage.
So as the Nittany Lion threw a t-shirt into the crowd for this female student. This older gentleman in a grandpa sweater rose up and snatched it. Chivalry is dead....and that man killed it.
Ryan Sweitzer has taken over for Penn State. Sweitz now has eight kills, the most of any Lion and Lewis calls its final timeout down 20-15.
Some first set stats:
Del Valle: 6 digs. Lewis: 5 digs
Holt and Price lead the Lions with five kills a piece
Sweitzer and Goas are both hitting 1.000
Penn State hit .545 in the first set while Lewis hit .306.
Drew Pickering led Lewis with seven kills in the first set.
So we almost just got killed with a volleyball up here in the press box, which is almost impossible. We're not sure, but we think it may have went right off of Sweitzer's face up here.
Sweitzer's mad. REAL mad. He destroyed that kill into the floor to put Penn State up 5-4.
Lewis is on a 4-0 run and have taken a 8-4 lead as Pavlik calls a timeout.
All the bounces are going Penn State's way, a miscommunication goes over Edgardo's head but onto Lewis' end for a point. When you're hot you're hot....
Holt serves again, still showing no signs of limitations. Penn State still leads 23-13.
Edgardo getting a little tricky for the people -- a behind the back kill extends the Lions' lead.
An amazing volley from both teams, with Del Valle flashing the skills with another amazing dig but Lewis walks away with the point.
Stauffer comes in as the Lions lead 26-17 to serve but the Flyers continue to rally. However, Max Holt and Joe Sunder will have none of that and extend the lead to 28-17.
Del Valle continues to amaze the crowd with his performance tonight. Dennis is on his game tonight (then again, when doesn't he?)
Lewis continues to fight and extends it to set point three. 29-21 Penn State.
Will Price finishes the set off with a kill and the Lions take the first set 30-21.
Del Valle with another amazing dig leading to another Penn State point. The Lions are still rolling and lead 15-9.
A linesman interfered with a Lions block and forced a replay -- which Penn State won, keep all well with the Universe.
Lewis looks annoyed and lost out there. A Lews player tried to set it and the ball bounced backward and out of play. The Flyers just stood around shaking their heads.
Penn State is still steamrolling and lead 20-10 as the Flyers take their final time out as the Lions lead 20-10.
Lewis starts off the match with a service error leading to our first look at Max Holt, who is in the lineup after missing Wednesday's match with a leg injury.
The serve was quite strong but Penn State couldn't capitalize on the ensuing volley.
Holt records his first kill of the night to put Penn State up 6-4 and has shown no ill affects of the injury which is a great sign for Penn State.
Great dig by Will Price that led to a big kill by Sweitzer. Penn State is making some plays but they look a little sluggish out of the gate.
"They look like they're stuck in cement."- Michael Oplinger.
Amazing dig by Sweitzer followed by a block by Goas and Lipsitz leading to a Penn State point that's met with approval by the Lion Faithful.
Bad, bad man Dennis Del Valle gives the crowd two amazing digs leading to a Sunder kill, a 13-7 Lions lead and a timeout from Lewis. The Lions are firing on all cylinders tonight.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. This is Tom Kinslow coming to you live once again from the press box above Rec Hall where your Nittany Lions are set to take on No. 10 Lewis in a big match for Penn State.
We'll be back at the start of the match to give you all of our insights.
Now I'm not going to lie, my confidence in Penn State has been shaken after last weekend. The Lions had major issues against Loyola-Chicago, especially when it came to blocking and it led to their downfall.
The good thing is, is that Penn State knows these issues were exposed and seem really motivated to get the job done during this tough stretch.
As Mike said, Max Holt's presence is key. The Lions were able to get by Saint Francis (Pa.) without him because well...it's Saint Francis. If Holt can go, and go at 100%, the Lions will be hard to stop.
If Holt is limited or cannot go (if he doesn't, it'll be a major shock) the Lions will need big games from senior Jon Sherrick, freshman Joe Sunder and junior Max Lipsitz to help fill the void.
What to Look For: How Max Holt performs with his leg injury.
Player of the Match: Joe Sunder. Sunder had a big match on Wednesday and he'll be a big factor if Penn State is to win.
Score: Penn State 3-1 (30-26, 27-30, 30-25, 30-26)
That sound you may have heard four months ago was the collective inhale of the New Jersey Devils' fan base. Martin Brodeur was hurt. Our franchise player went to the IR with a torn biceps tendon in his elbow. It was over. Forget the playoffs, we thought. I was about ready to curl up in a ball in the corner.
Then, probably by selling his soul to the Devil himself, longtime backup Scott Clemmensen emerged from mediocrity, going 25-13-1 with a 2.39 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Somehow, someway, we are in first place.
And now, after months of waiting, Brodeur made his return to the ice. We were uncertain how it would go. Brodeur would be rusty. Head coach Brent Sutter said he might split time between Brodeur and Clemmensen, and Brodeur wasn't happy about that,
But Clemmensen went to the minors, and Brodeur stepped on the ice tonight for his first game back.
How did it go?
Marty turned aside all 24 shots the Avalanche put on net, and the Devils won 4-0. It was an incredible feeling, having Marty back out there.
If he can keep this up, and he should, the Devils are looking good in the playoffs. Some may say he's still rusty. However, you could just say he's very well rested. He should also position himself atop the all-time wins list by the end of the season. This could very well be the Spring of Brodeur.
1:51 to go 2nd half: Penn State 59, Northwestern 48
The Lady Lions are pulling away thanks to 11 points from mashea Williams on her senior night. The highlight of the run came when Williams took a rebound and drove the length of the floor before faking a layup and finding an open Renee Womack for an easy layup.
I'm heading down to the floor for postgame and press conference.
Should be a nice win for the Lady Lions to send the seniors off with. I'll check back in here if the Wildcats pull a miracle. Otherwise, check the Collegian tomorrow for recap and analysis.
With what looks like a win, the Lady Lions could be on pace for the 7 seed when the conference tournament begins next Thursday.
4: 53 to go 2nd half Penn State 50, Northwestern 42
The lady Lions have opened up an eight point lead with just under five minutes to play. Mashea Williams has nine points on her senior night and a couple of steals that led teh Lady Lions on the fast break.
Grant now has 20.
7:39 to go 2nd half: Penn State 41, Northwestern 38
The lady Lions have jumped out to a three point lead, highlighted by a Mashea Williams layup on a cross-court feed from Tyra Grant.
But despite the advantage, the Lady Lions may be facing a tough stretch as Janessa Wolff just picked up her fourth foul. Wolff has been the only Lady Lion to consistently shut down Jaeschke.
O'Rourke is in the game, but is still scoreless. Grant has 17 points very quietly.
After two Jaeschke free throws the Wildcats have now cut the lead to just one.
11:01 to go 2nd half: Penn State 35, Northwestern 34
The two teams have swapped leads several times in the second half and as we enter the second TV timeout of the half, the Lady Lions leading by one.
Janessa Wolff has essentially shut down Jaeschke, and Mashea Williams has come out running in the second half with four quick points, to total seven on the night.
O'Rourke is still scoreless, while Grant leads all Lady Lions with 11.
15:28 to go 2nd half: Penn State 27, Northwestern 27
The Lady Lions came out strong in the second half and have evened the game with just under 16 minutes to play. Kristin Cartwright now has ten points for the Wildcats, while her counterpart for the Lady Lions, Brianne O'Rourke is scoreless on her senior night.
Jaeschke is back in the game after teh timeout and so too is Wolff for the Lady Lions, who has been given the task of guarding the 6-5 Center, and has handled it well since the opening minutes.
HALF: northwestern 22, Penn State 19
Zhaque Gray broke an eight minute scoreless drought for Penn State with a 15-foot jumper. But despite the drought, the Lady Lions still only trail by 3 at the break, as they closed on a 4-0 run.
Amy Jaeschke has cooled down a bit, and she heads into the intermission with eight points. Grant leads all Lady Lion scorers with eight of her own.
3:52 to go 1st half: Northwestern 20, Penn State 15
The Lady Lions have continued their sloppy play with the ball, and the Wildcats have finally started converting. They scored on back to back posessions and drew fouls on each of them as well, jumping out to a 5-point lead. The Lady Lions have struggled getting into their halfcourt offense, and when they do, they haven't fared much better, shooting under 26 percent and 0 for 6 from beyond the arc.
7:30 to go 1st half: Penn State 15, Northwestern
The Lady Lions rattled off 8 in a row, capped off by an and-1 from Tyra Grant. to take a 15-13 lead.
The Lady Lions have contained Jaeschke ever since Washington inserted janessa Wolff into the game. Wolff has two points, but is controlling the 13-point scorer on defense.
If not for a pair of missed layups PSU could be in front by more, as the Lady Lions have not capitalized on 11 Northwestern turnovers.
11:02 to go 1st half: Northwestern 13, Penn State 7
The Lady Lions are struggling offensively, with several bad turnovers early on. But teh defense has kept them in the game, with the score 13-7 in the opening minutes.
But, Penn State must find a way to stop Jaeschke if they want to win the game, as teh sophomore forward already has six points and three boards.
On her senior night O'Rourke is scoreless so far and has an airball, but has made several impressive passes that her teammates couldn't finish on.
15:50 to go 1st half: Northwestern 7, Penn State 6
After an emotional pregame ceremony, Washington opted to start all three seniors, and it paid off right away as Rashida Mark scored the opening two points for the Lady Lions.
But the Wildcats followed Mark's deuce with a 7-0 run of their own -- four points coming from Jaeschke who should present problems for the Lady Lions down low.
PSU, however has responded with four straight points in this matchup that could be a possible preview of the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
It's the final Lady Lions home game of the season, and thus, it is also the final Lady Lions live blog of the season. Hey folks, it's AJ Cassavell, here to bring you all the action live on senior night here at the BJC, where the Penn State Lady Lions host Northwestern.
The Lady Lions suffered a devastating blow earlier today when they found out that an MRI on Megan Quinn's knee revealed a torn ACL, her second ACL tear in three seasons. Quinn, a junior who has contributed off the bench, specifically from behind the arc, will miss the remainder of the season.
But nonetheless, the 10-16 Lady Lions will take the floor tonight against Northwestern in what will be the final home game for seniors Brianne O'Rourke, Mashea Williams and Rashida Mark. O'Rourke has been the Lady Lions' floor general for a couple seasons now and head coach Coquese Washington called her one of the most competitive players she has ever coached.
The Lady Lions are led by junior guard Tyra Grant, who is averaging 19.8 points per game. Defensively, the Lady Lions will have to deal with Northwestern's post presence, sophomore Amy Jaeschke. The pregame festivities are underway. Here are the projected starting lineups:
PSU: O'Rourke, Williams, Grant, Evelyn Lewis, Julia Trogele
As we reported last night and today, senior Max Holt did not play in last night's match against Saint Francis (Pa.) with what was called a leg injury.
Now where that injury is on the leg is another thing. Coach Mark Pavlik said leg, junior Max Lipsitz said the groin area (ouch) and senior Jon Sherrick said it was Holt's hip that kept him out of action.
Despite this injury, whatever it may be, Pavlik said he expected Holt to be ready to go this weekend as the Lions take on No. 10 Lewis in what could be a tough match for the Lions.
Penn State will need Holt in the lineup, but if for some reason he is not able to go, expect Sherrick to fill that role once again.
We will try to get you an update on Holt's condition as soon as possible.
This season, the wrestling team has been forced to endure many injuries to its starting lineup. Depth has been a problem. But help is on the way, and the Nittany Lions like what they see in recruit Ed Ruth.
Ruth competed at the 171-pound weight class this season for Blair Academy (N.J.), one of the top wrestling prep schools in the country. Mark Perry, who attended Blair, told me about the benefits about going to Blair a couple weeks ago:
"I was thinking about it a couple weeks ago, we won the state tournament as a team. At the time, I never even realized we won the state tournament as a team. It meant nothing. We would win by 180 points and have 13 guys in the finals. It was just like, some kids like, you watch Friday Night Lights or something and it's football and this is their whole life. At Blair, it's just preparation for the next level. There was no satisfaction from winning a national championship. I think the biggest satisfaction in high school was being part of a national championship team all around, just being with that group that's united."
On the preparation Blair gives wrestlers:
"It's the training, as far as, they train in the morning, they do weight training, but the thing is its high intensity and a lot of times in a lot of rooms, the preparation for college that they have at Blair is going to be better than they have in college. For instance, the reason I made such a big jump was I had, there was three of us that were national champions and 11 of us who were All-Americans. So I was working out with NCAA champions and All-Americans every day. Instead of working with some kid who isn't running cross country this year, so he's going to wrestle. I wrestled kids who were focused and were going to Blair to be a national champion in college -- they're not going to be a state champ. They're going to be an Olympic champion."
Now, Perry described how he is positive that Ruth will be ready for collegiate wrestling next season:
"He'll probably be ready next year -- he's definitely a kid that could have an immediate impact. He actually lost to Quentin [Wright] in the state semis like 11-9 or something.
"And he'll be ready if he went there. He'll make such a big jump. He was already that good last year going there. And it's proven, he's done very well."
Here's an interview with Ed Ruth that Flowrestling did after his prep title victory by fall this season:
After nearly 11 hours on the road and only three hours or so of sleep afterward, your three men's basketball writers are back in town to continue following Penn State's run to the NCAA tournament.
Apparently, we weren't the only ones feeling the lingering effects from a late night in Columbus. With his team off from practice today, Chris Babb was set to come in for the day's final massage. Unfortunately for him (and myself, who was scheduled to interview him) the freshman's car ran out of gas and he was about 45 minutes late. He was still nice enough to give me some time, however, and you can read about how he's dealing with his increased role in the coming days.
As for Ohio...
The trip wasn't the most entertaining ride of my life, but it had its high points.
One was actually when we passed by Clearfield and stopped for lunch at a KFC. Nearby were your typical neighborhood conveniences --- McDonald's, gas stations --- and a giant adult video store. The highlight, however, was the giant billboard planted in front of it with a sketch of a nervous looking young girl that read: "Pornography Pollutes."
We arrived in Columbus around 5 p.m. and had a little bit of time to kill, so we walked around and checked out the Horseshoe and Ohio State's other athletic venues. The place is completely different from State College, which is basically a college with a town. Columbus, meanwhile, is a huge town that gathers around its Buckeyes, which are almost like a pro sports franchise out there. You almost forget that the place was an actual college campus where students, cough, learn. There were just so many different athletic facilities and it was all spread out. I know it's a big city and we didn't have the time to see it all, but there wasn't a classroom or dorm in sight.
Inside Value City Arena, the fans were great, but I'd say a strong majority were locals and their kids, not students. (Although the students filled out each section behind the baskets.) As one member of the PSU basketball program who shall remain unnamed said to me, "It was a wine-and-cheese crowd." The stadium also had a very annoying DJ come out during commercial breaks, but I believe Brown touched on that more than enough last night.
Biggggg thanks to the family and friends of Jamelle Cornley, all of whom were nothing but helpful as I pestered them throughout the night about the senior's last game home. His parents, Hank and Dorcella, were especially accommodating. I ran into Jamelle's mother in the parking lot before the game and she couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming.
I sat behind them for about the first 10 minutes of the game, but when the seats began to fill up I found myself moving all over the place, from the aisles to the tunnels and even almost getting run over by the Ohio State marching band in the process.
After interviewing Jamelle's aunt, Pamela, I almost slipped off a step in the corner aisle of the section and nearly bumped into someone. As I turned around to apologize, I realized I had been back-to-back with Erin Andrews for God-knows how long.
Cornley's section and the nearby Bucks' student section had a nice back-and-forth going all game. I can't exactly print what the students were saying, but Jamelle's family and friends took it all in good fun and weren't afraid to dish some of it back.
One thing both sides could agree on was the once-again awful officiating by Ed Hightower. I had heard rumors that he wasn't very fond of the elder Cornley back in his playing days at Illinois State, and Hank was quick to mention to me that he was T'd up a number of times by Hightower back in the day.
But Thad Matta's reaction to Hightower was the best, as the Bucks' coach was asked in the postgame press conference about the video review surrounding B.J. Mullens being fouled with just under six minutes to go in the game.
Matta simply threw his arms up, wondering out loud himself and saying the reporter had to ask someone else if he wanted a clarification on that situation.
The ride home was uneventful, except for reaching the highest point of I-80 east of the Mississippi --- at 4:01 a.m., as Mink properly noted. If that wasn't enough, approximately two minutes later, Ashley Simpson's "Pieces of Me" came on the radio, providing a confession session from the three of us that the song was, well, not that bad.
We arrived back to the Collegian office around 5 a.m. to drop off the car, and even got to read our stories that we wrote only hours earlier since the publishers were dropping off today's paper as we left.
All in all, the trip was good and well worth it, although my body may disagree with that statement today. It won't be the last journey, that's for sure. We'll be in Indianapolis over Spring Break to cover the Big Ten tournament, and, should the Lions reach their first NCAA tournament in eight years, we'll hope to be on the run again to keep you covered.
Well, most of my predicted upsets didn't come to pass, but that doesn't mean the first day of action at the Accenture Match Play Championships wasn't full of surprises. Tiger Woods won handily, but most of the big names struggled to advance.
Two number one seeds fell. Padraig Harrington, as was predicted in this blog, fell to Pat Perez, which actually isn't surprising considering how those players have performed this season. However, Sergio Garcia lost to little-known Charles Schwartzel, in a shocker.
Besides Perez, my only other correct upset picks were Boo Weekley over Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan over Mike Weir. Not a great day for me, though Angel Cabrera nearly helped me achieve my goal of 50% correct by taking Phil Mickelson to extra holes.
The other big upsets were 15 seed Davis Love over 2 seed Henrik Stenson, and 14 seed Matthew Goggin disposed of 3 seed Kenny Perry.
The rash of upsets (can you imagine if two No. 1 seeds lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament) is a good illustration of both the volatility of match play, as well as the parity in professional golf.
Now I know that parity is an overused buzz word, but in golf its real. Is Davis Love beating Henrik Stenson that big of an upset? Not really, but Stenson was a 2-seed and Love was a 15-seed. Cabrera vs. Mickelson was a 2-15 matchup too, but I don't think the 2007 U.S. Open winner is the golf equivalent of Central Connecticut State.
The match play format also brings out upsets. On any given day, any player that can qualify for the Match Play Championships can beat anyone. In match play, blowup holes aren't as harmful, as scoring is hole-by-hole. A bad stretch of holes is easily overcome with a string of birdies.
Tomorrow's intriguing matchups:
1 Tiger Woods vs. 8 Tim Clark (Got to love watching Tiger).
4 Ernie Els vs. 5 Steve Stricker (Two pretty big names).
2 Phil Mickelson vs. 7 Zach Johnson (Showdown between Green Jacket Winners).
15 Davis Love III vs. 7 Justin Leonard (Love is one of the best players in the history of this event, and Leonard is a great match play player too.)
3 Lee Westwood vs. 6 Stewart Cink (This one reminds me of the Ryder Cup).
Lipsitz delivers another kill to push it to match point.
Price hammers home a kill and ends the match 3-0.
I'm pretty sure Jon Sherrick is the Ric Flair of volleyball. After every kill, without fail, Sherrick gives a big "Woo!". I tip my cap to you sir.
The Lions still hold a narrow 24-23 lead.
Now Penn State seems to have broken it open. The Lions lead 28-23 and victory seems all but assured, yet Saint Francis feels compelled to call a meaningless timeout aas the Lion breakdances near the cheerleaders.
Saint Francis has now taken a 17-16 lead, firing up the Red Storm. Again, I can't stress how important it is for Penn State to put Saint Francis away now.
Max Lipsitz is now taking over for Penn State on the offensive side of the ball but Penn State still trails 20-19.
The Lions have now tied the set at 21 all with Sweitzer back to serve.
Penn State immediately takes advantage with a big Sherrick kill to give Penn State the lead and Saint Francis calls a timeout trailing by one.
We inquired about Holt's injury during the intermission but were told they aren't allowed to comment on "injuries" and that we'll have to ask following the match.
Max Lipsitz unleashed what could possibly be the most hilarious serve I've seen all season. It went under the net and into the scorers table. The Lions still lead 5-2.
The Lions continue to roll and lead 7-3. They must know that LOST comes on in an hour and want to find out what happens to John Locke (don't ruin it for me).
Saint Francis has crawled back into the set and now trail 11-9. Penn State can't take its foot off the gas pedal seeing as they have two matches this weekend to look forward to.
The set is now tied at 15 and Pavlik calls a timeout to settle his team.
The Lions are slowly starting to wind down as they lead 27-17.
Jon Sherrick has filled in nicely as Holt's replacement, doing a captain's job and picking up the slack. Penn State really hasn't skipped a beat without arguably its best player.
Sherrick fires home another kill and pushes it to set point.
Penn State hammers a block home and win the second set 30-19 and we head to the intermission.
The home cooking has served the Lions well as Penn State is on cruise control in this set and in the match in general. The Lions lead 21-14 and there's not much Saint Francis can do to avoid the inevitable.
Saint Francis takes a timeout and Penn State leads 24-15.
Some notes from the first set. Goas, Lipsitz and Sherrick all hit 1.000 as the Lions hit .571 for the set. Meanwhile, Saint Francis hit .065.
It's close early on in the first set as the set is tied at six.
Joe Sunder continues to lead the Lions with another kill to put the Lions up 10-8.
The blocking for Penn State has been at a high level tonight. The Lions had four blocks in the first set and continue to shut down the Red Storm attack at the net.
Penn State starts to open up a wider lead as the Lions lead 15-11.
Errors are the story of the match for Saint Francis. They had nine attack errors, five service errors and three blocking errors in the first set and it's spilling over into the second set and Penn State leads 19-13.as Saint Francis calls a timeout.
This has been a pretty uneventful set so far. The Lions lead 22-14 and they're just picking their spots and taking aim and there's not really much the Red Storm can do to stop it.
The crowd is REALLY dead tonight. The free t-shirts come out and still no reaction from the fans. Usually that's the bread and butter of crowd noise at Rec Hall.
The Lions are about to put this set to rest as they lead 27-16.
Edgardo decided it was time to pull out the patented kill off the fake set and pushes it to set point as Jay Stauffer comes in to relieve Sherrick.
The Lions finish off the set with a blocking error by the Red Storm and win 30-19.
The Lions continue to roll through this first set with the same ease we saw in the Lions previous midweek match against Juniata. The Lions lead 12-5.
I must say, Rec Hall is quite dead tonight. It's almost so quiet I can hear individual conversations in the stands and I've understood every word Dennis Del Valle has said. Well, he's so loud normally that isn't a problem, so I hear him more clearly than usual.
Also, Max Holt is missing from the Nittany Lion's wardrobe tonight. Along with the famous Lion suit, the Lion normally wears Holt's #17 jersey, which has been substituted for a #1 tonight.
Another timeout from Saint Francis as Penn State leads 18-8. The Lions have not skipped a beat without Holt tonight.
Penn State off to a quick start without its heavy hitter Holt. The Lions lead 4-1 early.
Also, as a note, Will Price took Holt's place as the first one to serve for the Lions.
Joe Sunder has stepped up big time for the Lions early with a couple of vicious kills and blocks and has helped Penn State jump out to an 8-2 lead early as Saint Francis calls a timeout. Good, crisp offense from the Lions so far. When the Lions run their offense like this, there aren't many teams in the nation that can stop them.
Dennis Del Valle
Holt is obviously not in the lineup. He seemed fine from up here but there has to be something wrong for coach Mark Pavlik to sit him.
On a more hilarious note, I believe Sunder just hit his would-be valentine (See the Ohio State live blog) with the t-shirt. He's made someone's day.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. This is Tom Kinslow coming to you live once again from the press box above Rec Hall where your Nittany Lions are set to take on Saint Francis in a rare mid-week match.
Not many people in the stands tonight as the sweet sounds of Lil Wayne pump through the PA system. The fans are all probably out enjoying the warm weather (41 degrees at this reporter's last check).
However, senior middle hitter Max Holt is in warmups sitting on the bench and did not take part in the team's pregame warmups. Mike and I both believe he will not play tonight, for what reason we're not sure. We'll be sure to look into it after the match.
It's about 20 minutes to game time and we'll be back then to give you our insights.
Don't let the title of this post alarm you, I am not going to channel Dick Vitale in this post, but I am going to make some picks for tomorrow's Accenture Match Play Championships, which like the NCAA tournament, features a field of 64, including this one guy named Tiger that a lot of people are excited to watch tomorrow.
I won't pick all of the matches, just the ones I think will be compelling tomorrow. While I am excited to see Tiger return to action, there's no way he's losing to Aussie Brandon Jones, and I don't think it will even be an exciting match.
However, that doesn't mean there won't be some good matchups tomorrow. Here are my picks for upsets:
12 Hunter Mahan over 5 Mike Weir. Got to have a 12-5 upset.
11 Rory Sabbatini over 6 Miguel Angel Jimenez. I know that Jimenez plays on the Euro tour and Sabbatini doesn't, so I see Sabbatini play more often, but it seems like we haven't heard much from Jimenez lately, and Sabbatini has had a solid '09 campaign.
13 Soren Hansen over 4 Ernie Els. Hansen's a solid player, and Els hasn't been the same since his knee injury.
15 Angel Cabrera over 2 Phil Mickelson. How's this for a 2-15 matchup? I know I club Lefty a lot, but I think this is a good pick. Which Mickelson will show up tomorrow? The one who shot 62 on Saturday at Riviera, or the one who almost blew a four shot lead on Sunday? With a tough matchup with Cabrera, Lefty's good side better come out.
13 Boo Weekley over 4 Justin Rose. I didn't really appreciate Weekley's antics or his shameless attempt to come off as a Good Ol' Boy at the Ryder Cup, but the man knows how to beat Europeans in Match Play.
11 Aaron Baddeley over 6 Paul Casey. I don't want to discount Casey because he plays in Europe most of the time, but I think this will be a good match to watch.
16 Pat Perez over 1 Padraig Harrington. In this tourney, a 16 over a 1 is possible, and this is my candidate for it happening. Perez is playing well this season, and if you've been watching the past few weeks, Harrington just hasn't been himself. He better hope he's found his game before tomorrow.
10 Andres Romero over 7 Justin Leonard. Golf geeks won't think that picking last year's Rookie of the Year over Leonard is much of an upset, but to the average viewer it is. I also think 15 seed Davis Love will give 2 seed Henrik Stenson a good match too.
I'll be posting again tomorrow. We'll see how well I do, I went out on a limb with some of these picks, and if I get half of them right, I will be ecstatic.
PSU now shows a full court press, but OSU has little trouble advancing the ball. A foul on Cornley sends Turner to the line for a 1-and-1. Turner sinks both and the lead is 11.
Both Pringle and Morrissey miss 3-pointers and things aren't looking good for the Lions. Pringle picks up his third foul, and Mullens now has a 1-and-1 opportunity. He makes the first and misses the second, but OSU grabs the offensive board. That's just a huge play.
3 points for Diebler. Good night.
Pringle banks in a runner but this one appears out of reach. The clocks rolls under a minute Madsen delivers the dagger from deep. 72-57 Buckeyes.
Jones scores and Battle fouls Hill with 39 seconds left. Hill makes 1-of-2 and Pringle air balls a 3 at the other end. That'll do it folks.
OHIO STATE 73, PENN STATE 59
Let's set things up here:
Ohio State 59, Penn State 52
3:53 to play
Penn State has 7 fouls, Ohio State 6
Penn State has 2 timeouts left, Ohio State 4
Possession arrow favors the Buckeyes
Evan Turner is at the line for a 1-and-1. The first bounces around and falls in, and the second is also good. 60-52 Bucks.
Penn State saves time now as Morrissey rolls the ball up the floor to Battle. Evan Turner picks up his fourth foul, which also sends Battle to the line for 1-and-1. He misses the front end but OSU deflects the rebound out of bounds. The amount of missed 1-and-1 opportunities this year is staggering.
Simmons drains a 3 for Ohio State, and Lions are in trouble now down 12. Battle with a nice skip pass to Pringle, and Pringle hits the open 3.
3:06 second half
Ohio State 64, Penn State 55
Danny Morrissey finally stops the bleeding as he drills a fade-away 3 from the corner to end about a 5-minute scoreless streak.
3:53 second half
Ohio State 59, Penn State 52
Mullens misses a turnaround hook shot out of the timeout and the ball is deflected out off of the Buckeyes. Morrissey squares up and gets a good look from beyond the arc but comes up empty. Penn State's last points came at the 9:04 mark when Morrissey hit a 3.
And the great Ed Hightower strikes again and calls a shooting foul on Battle. Battle is not pleased to say the least. Now the referees are discussing it, and probably cluing in Hightower as to what actually happened. Now apparently they're reviewing this.
This is just awful. It's still apparently a shooting foul, as for the 900th time Hightower holds up 2 fingers.
Mullens steps to the line and hits both. The Buckeyes can sound Mr. Hightower a thank you basket later.
Battle launches a 3 and misses everything. He really needs to regain his composure after that foul. 2 more for Mullens and the lead is up to 10. 11-0 OSU run.
4:26 second half
Ohio State 59, Penn State 59
The sounds of "Hang On Sloopy" fill the arena now as Ohio State is on a 7-0 run. Penn State really needs to collect itself on offense again and get a bucket here out of the timeout.
Instead Battle turns it over after some solid ball movement and Ohio State patiently brings it up the court. Cornley is called for a push and we have a media timeout now.
6:31 second half
Ohio State 55, Penn State 49
Mullens with a terrific follow for 2 as the more-than-a-foot-shorter Talor Battle didn't stanad much of a chance.
Jeramie Simmons hits a wide open 3 from the corner and Ohio State re-takes hte lead at 48-46. The arena is rocking once again.
But Morrissey quiets the crowd as he replaces Pringle and hits a 3 of his own from the corner. The lead goes back to the Lions.
And Simmons answers right back for 3. 51-49 Buckeyes as we go back and forth.
Cornley drives and falls hard as he draws a foul on Madsen. 2 shots for Jamelle, and he misses the first with "air ball" chants still filling the arena. The second is short. PSU simply can't afford to leave points at the line.... or not box-out on defense as Turner picks up an easy offensive board and scores.
Penn State really needs to settle down now as Battle misses a floater, Babb misses a 3 and Mullens gets a fast break lay-up. We have probably the loudest moment of the game here in Columbus, and Ed DeChellis calls a timeout.
7:07 second half
Ohio State 55, Penn State 49
I think a fan just won a free haircut in a trivia question. But the rather annoying guy on the mic had to cheat for him to win.
Cornley misses a shot out of the timeout and PJ Hill sets things up for Ohio State. Turner misses and Morrissey grabs a board. And Battle misses, but this time PSU grabs the offensive rebound. Battle does a great job of splitting the defense and kicking to Pringle, who hit a 3 to give PSU a 44-39 lead.
What a drive by PJ Hill as he takes it to the rim for 2 for the Buckeyes.
The Penn State offense is just completely different than the opening stages of the game. More good ball movement ends with a Jones basket.
Foul on Morrissey and Kyle Madsen heads to the line for 2 shots. Madsen sinks both. 46-43 Penn State leads.
Back-to-back-to-back-to-back missed shots between the two teams. Cornley misses and Jones follows, but he gets called for basket interference.
10:53 second half
Penn State 46, Ohio State 43
And we're back here at Value City Arena as we are about to get going in the second half of a 32-30 ballgame with the Buckeyes leading the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State begins the first half playing Zombie Nation, drawing chants of "We Are Penn State" from the Jamelle Cornley section behind the Penn State bench. I give the sound guy a failing grade.
Battle starts of the first half with a backdoor cut and lay-up to tie the game, but Hill answers with a 3-pointer. Pringle forces a 3 from the wing off a Battle skip pass and it's no good.
The officials apparently stopped watching as Andrew Jones was ripped away from a potential rebound, and Hill ended up scoring to give the Bucks a 37-32 lead.
Great ball movement by Penn State as Battle makes another cuts and scores on a floater. Penn State continues its man-to-man defense and Lauderdale beats Jones for an easy two-handed slam.
Another nice pass by Penn State as Pringle finds Cornley, and Melle takes it to the hoop for 2.
Lauderdale basically tackles Jones, and Drew heads to the line for 2 shots. Jones knocks down both and the OSU lead is 39-38.
Andrew Jones does a terrific job of selling a play that probably wasn't a foul, but Lauderdale bumped him and got called for one. Morrissey misses on the other end.
Shades of Super Bowl Sunday in East Lansing, Mich., as Talor Battle decides to pull up from near Cleveland and bury a 3. Penn State is back in front and we head to a timeout.
14:58 first half
Penn State 41, Ohio State 39
As the Ohio State pep band performs the Script Ohio drill on the court, here are some halftime stats:
Field goals: PSU 44.4%, OSU 50%
3-pointers: PSU 45.5%, OSU 38.5%
Free throws: PSU 1-2, OSU 1-2
Rebounds: PSU 14, OSU 13
Turnovers: PSU 4, OSU 4
Chris Babb, 9
Jamelle Cornley, 9
William Buford, 11
Jon Diebler, 6
Down just 32-30, the first half has to be considered a huge win for the Nittany Lions. Again, the Buckeyes started the game on a 21-4 run. Then Penn State answered with a 19-3 run of its own. Quite a first half, and it should be a great second half as Penn State looks to pick up another huge road win.
About 9 minutes until we get back underway.
Ohio State 32, Penn State 30
Jeff Brooks makes his first appearance of the game.
And Ed Hightower just drew the ire of the entire arena, calling Evan Turner out of bounds. Couldn't really tell what happened from our vantage point.
Pringle gets on the scoreboard for the first time to put PSU back up by 2.
Cornley backs down Turner, and it appeared that Turner stripped the ball away cleanly, but an official not named Hightower called a foul. 2 shots for Melle.
The first is good and Babb replaces Battle. Evan Turner takes a seat with 2 fouls. Cornley's second is no good, and the score is 30-27 Lions.
What a play by Ohio State as Simmons feeds Mullens with an alley-oop off an in-bounds pass from under the basket. Brooks misses a jumper and Ohio State re-takes the lead with a Simmons 3 from the top of the key. And the crowd is back into this one as the clock rolls under a minute.
A Morrissey 3 is no good, as is a Buford 3 for Ohio State. The ball got deflected out of bounds apparently off of the Buckeyes. Seven second differential between the shot and game clocks as Battle patiently dribbles near midcourt.
And Penn State gets 3 chances but comes up empty. Battle misses a 3, Babb misses the put back and Brooks misses another. That'll do it for the first half.
Ohio State 32, Penn State 30
Babb air balls a long 2. Maybe he should stick to shooting 3's. That's 4 air balls for the Lions now, and Battle re-enters the game for Babb.
Pringle turns it over and Buford gives Ohio State the lead on a jumper. He has 11 now to lead all scorers. Andrew Jones' extra practice continues to pay off as he ducks around Mullens and sinks a hook shot. We are tied once again.
Quite a difference between the last game (38-33 at Illinois) and this one, as the Lions have 27 points. It took about 35 minutes to hit that mark last week.
3:39 first half
Penn State 27, Ohio State 27
All right, so Ohio State began the game on a 19-2 run. Now Penn State is on a 19-3 run. This is shaping up to be the most unusual game of the season.
Ed Hightower strikes a pose as he calls Pringle for a foul. Give him an Oscar.
Smmons misses a 3 and Cornley scores to give Penn State its first lead of the game at 23-22. Just unbelievable what has happened here.
Ed Hightower just stared down Andrew Jones and walked halfway across the floor while motioning the foul.
At the line, Lauderdale bricks the first. That may be the worst free-throw motion I have ever seen. Seriously. He makes the second one, but hack-Lauderdale might be a good strategy late in the game.
Two more points for Cornley to put Penn State up 25-23.
The entire Penn State defense steps out of the way and lets Simmons coast to the basket. Poor communication maybe? Tie ballgame.
With the shot clock winding down, Babb launches a 3 but misses. Offensive foul on Ohio State, and Morrissey replaces Battle.
5:22 first half
Penn State 25, Ohio State 25
And Chris Babb drills another 3. The freshman is coming up big off the bench and somehow we have a 19-15 game. 13-0 Penn State run. Just unbelievable, and PJ Hill turns it over.
Can this be Chris Babb's coming out party? Another 3 gives him 9 points and cuts the lead to one.
Buford drills a 3 for Ohio State to finally end the 16-0 Penn State run.
3 points Talor Battle. 22-21 Ohio State. I don't even know how to describe what has happened in this first 12+ minutes.
7:34 first half
Ohio State 22, Penn State 21
And Penn State gets a bit of offense as Danny Morrissey hits a 3 from the corner in front of us. Not coincidentally, the Lions had good player and ball movement on that one.
Cornley blocks a shot and PSU gets a 3 from Chris Babb. Just like that Penn State has gone on an 8-0 runs. Make that a 10-run as Andrew Jones scores in transition. 19-12 Ohio State.
I'm not sure what Ed DeChellis said last timeout, but it appears to be working.
Hill misses a wide open 3 for the Bucks and PSU can cut the lead even more.
Battle gets trapped on the sidelines and uses a timeout.
9:28 first half
Ohio State 19, Penn State 12
I honestly have no idea what Penn State is trying to do offensively. Cornley just got blocked by Mullens again, and Mullens scores on the other end.
Cornley finally ducks around Mullens and scores to end a 16-0 Ohio State run. 19-4 Buckeyes.
11:23 first half
Ohio State 19, Penn State 4
Battle misses a shot and promptly picks up a foul in transition. This is about as bad as a team can start.
OK, this is as bad as a team can start -- 3 points Evan Turner, timeout Ed DeChellis.
13:00 first half
Ohio State 17, Penn State 2
Props to Ohio State for their live stats monitors on each press table. Not only do we get live stats for every player, but also a small box with ESPN's TV feed. Not bad.
Talor Battle air balls a 3 and Buford gets the ball ahead of the pack and scores. The Penn State offense has looked terrible so far, hence the 10-point deficit.
Jamelle Cornley just air balled a jumper. That makes 3 for the Nittany Lions vs. one made shot. To state the obvious, that's not how you win basketball games.
Mullens blocks Cornley and Ohio State can exend the lead even more.They do just that as Buford scores. 14-2.
13:35 first half
Ohio State 14, Penn State 2
Brutus the Buckeye just imitated LeBron James by throwing the chalk into the air. It doesn't quite have the same effect as LeBron I must say.
Opening tip goes to Ohio State and Penn State sets up in a man-to-man defense. Jon Diebler starts things off on a high note for the Buckeys and buries a 3 from the wing.
On Penn State's first possession, OSU gets called for goaltending on a Cornley shot. 3-2
P.J. Hill -- not the Wisconsin running back -- knocks down another 3 for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is showing a pretty aggressive matchup zone, and it gave the Lions all kinds of trouble on that possession. Jackson launched a desperation 3 at the shot clock buzzer but missed everything. Hill misses a 3 for the Bucks.
Penn State turns it over and we hear our first "OH-IO" chant. I didn't realize Penn State was playing Ohio U. tonight.
It looks like Evan Turner got hit in the eye on the last play and we had a brief stoppage in play. He appears fine though.
Diebler misses a 3 but again Penn State throws it away for a turnover.
A long two for Buford falls and Ohio State takes an 8-2 lead. With "air ball" chants from the student section, DJ Jackson gets called for a charge and is pulled for Danny Morrissey.
PJ Hill drives to the bucket through traffic and scores. 10-2. Evan Turner picks up a foul and we head to the first media timeout.
15:45 first half
Ohio State 10, Penn State 2
Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressell just walked by through the tunnel and took a nice courtside seat.
In other news, the famous Ed Hightower will be officiating tonight's game. What a nice homecoming present for Columbus-native Jamelle Cornley.
Just a few more minutes until tip-off, stay tuned.
In honor of Brent Musberger, who is calling tonight's game:
YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE at Hardwood Hits' live blog from Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Matt Brown here to take you through tonight's showdown between Penn State (19-8, 8-6 Big Ten) and Ohio State (17-8, 7-7).
Nate, Matt and I successfully made it from State College to Columbus in about 5 1/2 hours, with the only hang up being some slow traffic near the Goodyear factory in Akron. Other than that, it was standard boring driving through Ohio's flat terrain. Should make for a fun ride late night ride back to Happy Valley.
We have a nice seat in the first row of the corner press area, right between the Penn State tunnel and the Ohio State student section. With ESPN in town, Musberger, Steve Lavin and everyone's favorite, Erin Andrews, are here to call the action.
This game has huge NCAA tournament implications, as another road win over a quality opponent would put Penn State in very good position for an at-large bid. A loss certainly wouldn't kill the Nittany Lions' tournament chances, but with a national audience tuning in, this is big for the program.
Loyola-Chicago's Alumni Hall is becoming the toughest venue for Penn State to play. The Nittany Lions are 1-5 there all-time, with the lone win coming at the end of last season while the team was in the midst of a national title run.
While the Lions are 5-0 against Loyola in Rec Hall, they struggle to win at Alumni Hall because of a "perfect storm" of obstacles, said coach Mark Pavlik. The eight hours of travel by bus plus a rowdy crowd plus a solid, aggressive team equals defeat for the No. 3 team in the country.
Watching the game, the crowd stands out the most. Alumni Hall is a tiny, tiny gym but 1,700 people packed in there to watch the match. The bleachers come right up to the point where players serve, which led to heckling Loyola students standing right next to Penn State's servers.
"It's what you want in college athletics," Pavlik said. "You want your student body to be passionately in it for you."
Pavlik also said he will continue to schedule matches at Alumni Hall.
"I like it on the schedule because it creates a little diversity for these guys. You gotta be able to put things that you can't control out of your mind."
Dan Orlovsky is a crappy, irrelevant quarterback from a crappy, irrelevant football school (UConn). In fact, the only reason people know who Orlovsky is because he was fortunate enough to lose a couple of games for the worst team in NFL history.
Orlovsky is a free agent. Let's have Yahoo explain what Orlovsky will do during free agency.
DETROIT (AP)--Dan Orlovsky says he's pretty confident free agency will be better for him than accepting a contract to be a backup quarterback for the Detroit Lions.
"They made an offer, but I'm going to test the market and see what's out there for me," Orlovsky said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I'm pretty confident that I'm going to get a better offer."
There is no way Orlovsky will get a better offer. He's a horrible quarterback. How horrible? He averaged a whopping 161 yards per game passing last year, and had eight interceptions.
Also, this is his highlight for the season. Just look at the title of this video and tell me if you think he's going to get a good offer this season.
It may not be a huge upset, but it certainly was an upset.
Georgetown opened its season by going into College Park and beating the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins, 13-10. The Hoyas used a 5-1 third-quarter beatdown, as well as a pair of hat tricks by Ricky Mirabito and Ryan Shuler, to propel themselves to the win.
In that third period, Maryland put up only four shots. Georgetown scored six straight goals in the third and fourth period, and for their efforts, the Hoyas moved up four places in the USILA rankings to No. 5.
Here's how the rest of the ECAC went down last week:
Rutgers 11, Manhattan 7: In its first game last week, Rutgers went up 3-0 in the first period. Then the Scarlet Knights let Manhattan come back as the Jaspers scored three unanswered in the second, going into the half knotted up at three goals apiece.
So Rutgers decides to put the pedal to the medal in the third period, scoring six goals on 14 shots. Kory Kelly's three goals led the way for Rutgers.
UMBC 17, Rutgers 10: And the Scarlet Knights followed Wednesday's game by giving up 17 to UMBC. Spearheaded by Peet Poillon's four goals, the Retrievers started getting their offense going by putting up six in the second period. Poillon added three assists to give him seven points for the game. Kory Kelly contributed four goals of his own to Rutgers' cause, however.
Hobart 12, St. Joseph's 7: Hobart put up 19 shots in the fourth period, resulting in five goals, to put the home team away for good. The Statesmen only converted one of six man-up opportunities, though they did convert 20 of 21 clearances. Chris Pedersen's three goals and Jeff Colburns four assists led Hobart.
Fairfield 10, Delaware 9: This was a close one for the Stags. Going into the final frame down 10-7, Delaware's Pat Lombard scored his third and fourth goals with no answer from Fairfield. The Stags weathered 11 fourth-period shots to hold off the Blue Hens thanks to goalie Charlie Cipriano, who tallied 14 saves on the contest.
Hofstra 11, UMass 10: Hofstra came back in the fourth and scored six goals in the final period to knock off the Minutemen. The Pride put up 56 shots, including 24 in that fourth quarter. Hofstra committed only one penalty, while UMass had four for a total of three minutes of penalty time. The Pride put in two man-up goals.
Loyola 11, Towson 8: Penn State's next opponent outlasted Towson's five-goal fourth-period rally to win its first game of the season. Collin Finnerty scored four goals to lead the Greyhounds, while both goalkeepers put on a save display. Towson's Rob Wheeler grabbed 14 in the loss, and Jake Hagelin tallied 13 for Loyola.
St. John's 15, Quinnipiac 8: The Bobcats put up 16 shots in the game, while St. John's threw 44 at Quinnipiac's goal. The Red Storm won 18 of 26 faceoffs in this beatdown, and Drew Shahen's four goals and Harry Kutner's four assists led the way for St. John's.
Penn State-Loyola and Georgetown-St. John's open up this year's ECAC play on Saturday. Hobart travels to Binghamton Tuesday night, and the rest of the conference plays Saturday.
Fairfield goes to Ohio State, Rutgers travels across the Delaware to play St. Joseph's, Massachusetts welcomes Yale, and Hobart hits the road once again to take on Providence.
Here is the first installment of a weekly audio feature on a member of the men's lacrosse team. Check out this interview with senior defenseman John Stuckey, where he describes the beauty behind his "Scooby Snack" creation.
Pitt is the nation's new No. 1 team, receiving all but three of the top votes in the AP poll.
Michigan State, 1-1 on the week after a loss to Purdue and comeback home win over Wisconsin, fell three spots to No. 9.
Purdue moved up three spots to No. 6, while Illinois dropped two to No. 20.
Penn State and Minnesota were the only other Big Ten schools receiving votes, picking up eight and three, respectively.
The Nits also notched 10 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll after their win at Illinois Wednesday.
AP Top 25
Rank School Record Pts Pvs
1. Pittsburgh (69) 25-2 1,797 4
2. Connecticut (1) 25-2 1,692 1
3. Oklahoma (2) 25-2 1,643 2
4. North Carolina 24-3 1,556 3
5. Memphis 24-3 1,543 5
6. Louisville 21-5 1,403 7
7. Duke 22-5 1,228 9
8. Marquette 23-4 1,169 10
9. Michigan St. 21-5 1,136 6
10. Villanova 22-5 1,125 12
11. Missouri 23-4 1,094 11
12. Clemson 22-4 1,050 13
13. Wake Forest 20-5 992 8
14. Arizona St. 21-5 869 14
15. Kansas 22-5 812 15
16. Purdue 21-6 765 19
17. Gonzaga 21-5 661 17
18. LSU 23-4 541 23
19. Xavier 22-5 413 16
20. Illinois 22-6 364 18
21. Washington 20-7 291 22
22. UCLA 20-7 268 20
23. Florida St. 21-6 217 --
24. Butler 23-4 192 21
25. Texas 18-8 162 --
Others receiving votes: Utah 108, West Virginia 96, Syracuse 53, Arizona 33, Creighton 21, Dayton 21, Utah St. 16, Florida 14, California 11, Siena 9, Penn St. 8, South Carolina 8, Saint Mary's, Calif. 5, Davidson 3, Kansas St. 3, Minnesota 3, BYU 2, American U. 1, Kentucky 1, Maryland 1.
As promised on Saturday night, we return with visual evidence of the Icers' Thon athlete hour-winning dance.
Among the sound bites that didn't make the cut was a candid conversation with defenseman Kyle Mills, who revealed among other things, that he had no idea his teammates were so graceful. He also conceded that John Jay would best him in a dance-off.
Tuesday's game at Ohio State will be broadcasted on ESPN, and every one knows the certain blond-haired sideline reporter who comes with the territory.
Erin Andrews has caught the attention of several Nittany Lion basketball players, who are anxious to get out to Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center to show Andrews and the rest of the country this team belongs smack-dab in the middle of the NCAA tournament chase.
Even freshman Billy Oliver, who just last year was enjoying all the perks of being named Chatham High School's homecoming king, has few tactics of grabbing Andrew's attention.
"I might use it as a pick-up line," Oliver said. "Wear my crown."
Talor Battle and Evan Turner go head-to-head for the upperhand in the Big Ten scoring race. Entering Tuesday's game, Battle averages 17.3 ppg, with Turner netting 17.2 per contest.
Battle won't showboat in front of Andrews, saying it's all business for the Lions in Columbus.
"She does a great job. She's an attractive lady. She's just there doing her job. Obviously we're there for the same reason. We just wanna come play well and come outta there with a win."
About the kind of the answer one would expect from a floor general. But forward Jeff Brooks took, by far, the best approach to getting Andrews to take notice -- pray.
"I'll pray for a fastbreak or something so i can get a little good time after the game or something," Brooks said. "We'll see what happens though. She is a beautiful lady. She's very attractive. I hope she don't catch my eye too much."
On another note, last week we brought ya'll a video of 2009 Lion commit Tim Frazier dunking over an opponent in a recent high school game.
Naturally, that Youtube clip made the rounds among Frazier's future teammates. Oliver and Battle said Frazier put on a little jam fest with some of the guys when he came up for his official visit.
"It was sweet," Battle said of the video. "It was a real nice dunk. He caught the pass and jumped over the dude. He's real athletic, but we already knew that."
Brooks said he never got posterized like that in his life and vowed to never let it happen to avoid nation-wide embarrassment.
"I laughed a couple times," Brooks said. "It was a spectacular play. For him to get a tech after it was pretty funny cause when you chill with him he's a pretty quiet kid until you get to know him. For him to have a play like that, it was crazy."
Sure they are often put in two completely different categories, but I could not help to think of the ESPYs as I watched the Oscars last night. With every sealed envelope and golden statue, I couldn't wait until the end of the Academy Awards to revist Justin Timberlake's wonderful hosting skills at the 2008 ESPYs, the sports version of the Oscars.
When I heard Hugh Jackman was hosting the Oscars, I'll admit I was a little worried. He's not really known for his comedy, but the Aussie (I think?) was not too shabby. Most notably, with his proclamation of "I am Wolverineeeee!!" I guess that movie was popular. Sorry, I'm not an X-Men kinda gal.
BUT despite the upset from the guy down under, JT's job at the ESPYs was beyond fantastic. So in the season of awards, let's take a look back at JT and the highlights of the 2008 ESPYs.
First, there is Timberlake's opening monologue. Full of Brett Favre, Mario Chalmers and Eli Manning's wife being embarrassed.
Second, there is his skit where he magically appears in some classic press conferences such as the tear-jerking TO saga, Brett Favre's faux retirement and of course Roger Clemens against Congress.
Now the next one isn't really with JT, but it's still a classic with the Step Brothers duo of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Playing Tiger Woods on the moon would be pretty awesome.
And now, the real granddaddy of them all. There's not much I can say about Justin Timberlake's "I Love Sports" that would make it any better. It is pretty spectacular, and I hope you enjoy it.
So there you have it, some classic ESPYs clips that will make us all love sports more than some movie about a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Well, just for now. The latest USILA polls have been released and the Nittany Lions (0-2) did not receive a vote for the first time this season.
As for the teams that garnered plenty of votes, the biggest shake-up has to be Maryland, last week's No. 3, plummeting all the way down to 11th after its defeat at the hands of Georgetown. Penn State's ECAC rival moved up to No. 5 with the 13-10 win.
Here's the rest of this week's Top-10. Penn State's opponents are bolded, and each team's rank last week is in parentheses following its record.
Syracuse 2-0 (1)
Virginia 3-0 (2)
North Carolina 4-0 (6)
Cornell 1-0 (7)
Georgetown 1-0 (T-9)
Johns Hopkins 1-0 (4)
UMBC 2-0 (T-9)
Notre Dame 2-0 (8)
Princeton 1-0 (12)
Duke 2-1 (5)
As for the rest of the Nittany Lions' foes this season, Loyola -- which visits State College this Saturday -- is No. 16, Ohio State comes in at No. 18 and Massachusetts rounds out the Top-20.
Bucknell, Villanova and Fairfield all received votes in the poll. The Bison were ranked last week, but they lost in overtime, 10-9, to new No. 18 Ohio State.
Ken Mink, not to be confused with your fellow basketball reporter Nate, has been ruled academically ineligible following an issue with a Spanish class that he took. His Roane State squad now has to forfeit its last game.
Why should you care about a six-foot tall community college player from Tennessee? Because he is 73-years-old, that's why!
Instead, the Huskies' coach was all riled up after a self-proclaimed "freelance journalist" began pestering Calhoun about his salary in the midst of the state's deficit.
Calhoun, one win away from career victory No. 800, didn't take too kindly to the questions fired by Ken Krayeske, who, not surprisingly, has been arrested for disturbing the peace before.
Remind me not to ask Ed DeChellis about his paycheck at today's press conference.
Maryland's 88-85 overtime win over North Carolina Saturday could only hurt Penn State's tournament chances, as another major conference squad threw itself onto the bubble seemingly out of nowhere.
But the win is huge for a Terrapin program that has been free-falling since its 2002 NCAA title run.
A week before the UNC upset, the Washington Post (not to be confused with anotherCollegian staple) ran a three-part story on the decline of Maryland basketball.
I urge any basketball junkie to take a read, despite each's length.
The situation seems to contrast perfectly with the New York Times' piece yesterday on Binghamton's basketball program, which has been rising on the court despite the shortcomings of several players off it.
It ended up being an odd week for Penn State in more ways than one. Not only did the Nittany Lions have a weekend off, but they won a game 38-33 at Illinois.
No matter how ugly the score was though, it gave them a boost in the RPI. Last week, they sat at No. 70. As of Sunday morning, RealTimeRPI had bumped the Lions up to No. 61. That may be at the tail end of NCAA tournament bubble range, but quality wins at Michigan State, at Illinois and at home vs. Purdue give Penn State a legitimate shot at dancing in March. Tuesday's contest at Ohio State will be huge, and the three of us will be in Columbus to bring you coverage.
With two more weeks left in the regular season, here's one of the final looks at Penn State's opponents (Feb. 16-22):
-William & Mary... W 76-54 at Towson, L 53-39 vs. Manhattan
-NJIT... L 70-46 at Bryant, L 70-51 at Houston Baptist
-Hartford... L 62-44 vs. Binghamton, L 57-35 at Marist
-New Hampshire... W 63-54 vs. Maine, L 70-69 at Binghamton
-Penn... W 62-55 at Princeton, L 69-59 vs. Dartmouth, L 66-60 vs. Harvard
-Rhode Island... W 71-59 vs. Massachusetts, W 77-58 at Fordham
-Towson... L 76-54 vs. William & Mary, L 80-64 vs. Morgan State
-Georgia Tech... L 87-69 at Wake Forest, L 81-73 vs. Clemson
-Temple... W 72-45 vs. Fordham, W 70-56 vs. St. Bonaventure
-Army... L 58-36 vs. American, L 59-54 at Navy
-Mount St. Mary's...L 70-65 at Wagner, W 93-63 vs. St. Francis (Pa.)
-Lafayette... W 71-68 vs. Bucknell, W 68-66 at Lehigh
-Sacred Heart... W 101-67 at Central Conn. State, W 83-61 vs. Monmouth
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 11-3 (21-5)
2. Purdue 10-4 (21-6)
3. Illinois 10-5 (22-6)
4. Penn State 8-6 (19-8)
5. Minnesota 8-7 (20-7)
5. Wisconsin 8-7 (17-10)
7. Ohio State 7-7 (17-8)
8. Michigan 7-8 (17-11)
9. Northwestern 5-9 (14-11)
10. Iowa 4-10 (14-13)
11. Indiana 1-13 (6-20)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record:139-212
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 169-97
Total Opponents' Record: 308-309
Not much to report this week, outside of Georgia Tech's total collapse against Clemson on Sunday. The Yellow Jackets led by as many as 15, but the Tigers ended up knocking down 12 3-pointers to really and win. Georgia Tech also suffered an ugly defeat at the hands of Wake Forest on Wednesday. The Jackets had beaten the Demon Deacons earlier in the year, but this time Wake put up 50 in the first half on its way to a victory. The first win over Wake remains Georgia Tech's lone ACC victory.
Penn State's two non-conferences losses continue to look OK at least, as Rhode Island and Temple both went 2-0 and find themselves right in the mix in the Atlantic 10. Temple is one game back of Xavier in the win column, while Rhode Island is one game back in both columns.
Meanwhile, NJIT had another matchup with Bryant -- the one team it beat this seasons. But the Bulldogs got their revenge for ending up on SportsCenter as the team that lost to NJIT and cruised to a 70-46 win. NJIT scored just 19 first-half points, which means they might be cut out for the Big Ten in the future.
Speaking of the Big Ten, Michigan State held Wisconsin to 19 second-half points Sunday and finished the game on a 32-9 run at the Breslin Center to win 61-50 and keep a hold on first place in the conference.
Also, Illinois recovered from its 33-point performance versus Penn State to more than double that at Ohio State. The Fighting Illini got 22 points on 11-for-14 shooting from Mike Davis and dealt the Buckeyes their third consecutive loss before they welcome Penn State to town Tuesday. I don't know if that's good or bad for the Lions.
With Coach Balboni and forwards Luke DeLorenzo and Jaime Zimmel away as part of the World University Games (held in China), we thought it would be cool to have a member of the Icer contingent blog from the Far East.
Jaime was a great sport in agreeing to do this, and for that we thank him.
The following is the third of what we hope are many entries from Jaime. (Here is the first and second).
Excitement here in Harbin, China! A 13-round shootout after three periods and an overtime. Today we faced off against Slovakia -- a very skilled team. We came out very physical right from start, but coming out of the first we were down 3-1. Our first goal was scored by Jim Gehring, of West Chester University. Coming into the second, we were still full of confidence knowing that our physical play took a toll even just after one period. Slovakia grew scared of our hard-hitting game and shied away from hits and coughed up the puck many times. The second period we continued to dominate play and control the puck much more than we did in the first period. After the second period we went in to the locker room down 3-2, another goal scored by Gehring. Excitement was streaming through the locker room once again, knowing we had the upper hand with our physical play. Once they touched the puck we would throw a check, knowing this, confidence was streaming through the whole team. Coming out even stronger in the third, four minutes into the period, Slovakia coughed up a puck and I slid it to Jordan Pringle of Illinois who then dished it back to me to bury the puck! That made it 3-3. A few minutes later Matt Swezey of Navy sniped a turn-around shot high blocker side to go up 4-3. With only a few minutes remaining we went on the penalty kill, and Slovakia tied the game. After a scoreless overtime, a shootout was next. Gehring sniped in the first goal of the shootout and Paul Marshal of Ohio University stopped the first 2 of 3 shots. Slovakia tied the shootout on their last shot. In the sudden death shootout Gehring was there to help us again to snipe five-hole, but Slovakia answered back. To save some time, in Round 9, to end the game Slovakia had an open net, but Marshall stood on his head with an acrobatic save with his pads, spinning on his back with his pads in the air for a desperation save! The next three rounds were scoreless. Next: Your very own Penn State Icer came through in clutch...Luke DeLorenzo scored high glove to put us up one goal. If Slovakia scores, we enter a 14th round, Marshall stood tall and made a pad save to lead us to victory and to keep Team USA 2-0 in the tournament! Three periods, an overtime, and a 13-round shootout...what a game! Next, we face-off against Russia, tomorrow at 8:30 p.m.
Davey Melera gets a goal with 20 seconds left to wrap this one up. In the end, Notre Dame's attacking offense was just too much for Penn State to make a comeback. The Irish outshot Penn State 42-39, but the shot selection for Notre Dame was better.
Notre Dame 12, Penn State 8 1:46 in 4th period
Colton Vosburgh gets the ball in the middle of the crease on Mulqueen's third assist of the quarter. It looked like the pass was intended for Rob Forster, but the ball went behind him and right to Vosburgh. Now with 2:30 to go, Notre Dame is trying to run out the clock on this comeback attempt.
The Irish end up with a goal by Neal Hicks from outside the crease. Alex Gannett is called for slashing, and this one might be out of reach for the home team.
Notre Dame 11, Penn State 7 4:55 in 4th period
Jake Marmul starts things off quickly for Notre Dame as the midfielder races down the field and puts one past Drew Adams less than a minute into the final frame. Guy Van Arsdale voices his frustration after the Lions go once again into the crease for a shot, which was against what the team talked about in the pre-period huddle.
On the team's next trip down, Van Arsdale tells his players, "Make that one more," referring to the one additional pass to make the shooter more open. The team passes it around the perimeter, occasionally looking to cut to the crease. But no open shots come. Chris Hogan cuts to the net and looks for Rob Forster, but the pass goes behind him. The Notre Dame defense knocks Jack Forster to the ground whenever he tries to make a move beside the net. The possession ends with a forced shot and an easy catch by goalie Michael Rodgers.
The Lions do finally notch another goal on a transition break. Rob Forster feeds his brother Jack, who dances right in front of the net, juking Rodgers out of position and putting it right under him.
A minute later, Chirs Hogan puts in another one on an assist from Chris Mulqueen. Hogan flew in from the crease to put that one over Rodgers' head.
An unassisted goal by Grant Krebs 30 seconds later ends Penn State's mini-run, however. Mulqueen gets another assist with 4:55 to go, dishing it from behind the net to Rob Forster in front of the goal. The Lions need to make up a four-goal deficit in five minutes.
Notre Dame 9, Penn State 4 End of 3rd period
Penn State coach Glenn Thiel has been in a discussion with the officials for a while. Drew Adams tells him from his post to leave it be. Right after a Penn State timeout, Neal Hicks scores another goal for the Irish.
On the other end, Rob Forster has a 1-on-1 opportunity against Rodgers but misses the net. Penn State ends up keeping the ball, but Forster looks dejected. The Lions are trying to attack by flying through the middle, but so far the shots just aren't going in. Jack Forster does a nice move to shake off two defenders but he loses his footing and can't punch it in.
Duncan Swezey drives right at Adams and puts the ball in the net, but the officials disallow the goal and give Penn State possession. It results in several near misses by Penn State's attack, ending with Conrad Ridgway's deflected shot in the middle of the crease. Notre Dame turns it over on Penn State's side and it looks like the Lions will get a clear shot. But the play stalls and the Irish end up with it.
Chris Hogan and Neal Hicks get tangled up and Hogan gets a minute for unnecessary roughness. Immediately, Hicks feeds Matt Ciambella from behind the net to make it 9-4. Some more rough play follows as a pile-up ensues following the face-off. Then with 30 seconds left Notre Dame makes one last charge. Ryan Hoff's shots goes wide, though, and that's how the period ends.
The Lions' offense is doing a better job of putting shots up, but those 26 shots have only resulted in four goals. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has nine goals on 33 shots. The Irish's efficiency on offense and defense has led it to this so far.
Notre Dame 7, Penn State 4 11:06 in 3rd period
The Penn State bench is hyped up and ready for Quarter No. 3. Looks like the rest of the team is too as Brian Shea unloads on a charging Notre Dame attacker. Grant Krebs is then called for a technical foul, giving Penn State a golden opportunity for 30 seconds. So far both team are a combined 3-for-3 in man-up situations.
And now it's 4-for-4. Conrad Ridgway puts it home unassisted in the right side of the crease. Then Jack Forster comes from behind the net to stick it in, making it 5-4 Notre Dame. All of a sudden this game has changed. Penn State's looking more physical and is keeping the ball almost entirely on Notre Dame's side of the field.
But when it comes on Penn State's side, Notre Dame scores again. Ryan Hoff picks up a loose ball after Drew Adams made a nice kneeling save, and the attackman puts it in. Adams looks devastated, but the bench has his back, tellinghim to shake it off.
A defensive lapse gives David Earl a wide-open look at the goal, and Adams has no chance. A shout comes out from the Penn State players: "What the hell are we doing?"
Notre Dame 5, Penn State 2 End of 2nd period
Brian Shea put in Penn State's second goal on a nice spinning move at the crease. But Notre Dame came right back with a transition goal by Neal Hicks on an assist from Grant Krebs. That's a hat trick for Hicks in the first half.
Notre Dame has outshot Penn State 22-12 in the opening half. While the Lions showed promise by putting in two goals on nine second-quarter goals, Notre Dame's efficiency and the play by its defense is going to make a comeback attempt difficult. Drew Adams is doing his thing between the pipes, but he needs to see less shots come uncontested in the second half.
Notre Dame 4, Penn State 1 5:00 in 2nd period
After Penn State's defense frustrated their attack for the first few minutes of Quarter No. 2, the Irish call a timeout.
Penn State has a man-up situation after David Earl is called for a foul. Jack Forster passes from behind the net to Conrad Ridgway, who tries to drive for a shot but is stopped by a defender. Ridgway passes to Chris Hogan, who zings a liner past Rodgers for Penn State's first goal. It took seven shots and 20 minutes to get on the board.
Penn State's starting to get back into this game. The bench is getting pumped up after another save by Adams ends in the Lions' possession. Greg Brown came from nowhere to knock the ball loose in an attackman's stick as he charged Adams.
After working the ball around the cease, Penn State gets it to Jack Forster, who finds Hogan in the middle. Hogan tries a shot but gets leveled by a Notre Dame defender. The ball goes to the Irish, and Guy Van Arsdale walks down the sideline shaking his head in disappointment.
The change of possession turns out to be a goal by Duncan Swezey, who puts on a nice spin move to get Adams out of position. The Penn State bench looks stunned.
Notre Dame 3, Penn State 0 End of 1st period
Penn State still can't get any offense. They're being outshot 15-3. Adams is making some spectacular saves though, keeping Penn State alive.
Neal Hicks wound up with the ball after a failed Penn State clearance. Hicks wound up and rifled a shot past Adams for the Irish's third goal.
Penn State had a couple fastbreak transition opportunities after Adams' saves, but neither ended up past Michael Rodgers. WIth about a minute to go, Mike Toner fired a close-range shot that Rodgers somehow stopped and caught.
Notre Dame 2, Penn State 0 8:38 in 1st period
Billy Davis lights up Grant Krebs on a shot attempt. But soon after, Ryan Hoff is left open in the crease and gets a clear shot and a goal. Joe Britt was screaming from the sidelines to cover him, but to no avail.
On the following face-off, Hoff is left open again downtown, much to the chagrin of Drew Adams. The defense gets back quick enough to make the stop, and on the next possession Adams makes a nice save.
Offensively, Penn State has only been able to pass it around the key. So far Notre Dame is outshooting the Lions 5-1.
Another foul is called on Penn State. This one's on Chris Hogan for pushing. Assistant coach Guy Van Arsdale argues with the official, and with a man up, Notre Dame capitalizes with a goal by Grant Krebs, assisted by Neal Hicks.
* * * * *
Both teams competing today played close games in their respected season openers. Penn State dropped a shocker at Robert Morris, 12-11, in double overtime, while the Fighting Irish held off Loyola (Md.) 10-9.
Hey folks, Dan here live from Holuba Hall for today's Penn State men's lacrosse home opener. A few things to look for today:
Penn State's defense got blasted against Robert Morris last weekend. The Nittany Lions gave up 55 shots to the Colonials. Goalie Drew Adams is going to need better protection today.
Freshman attackman Matt Mackrides looks like he's out for today with a shoulder injury suffered against Robert Morris. The Forster brothers and Chris Hogan will have to step up strong for him today.
Notre Dame: Duncan Swezey, Neal Hicks, Ryan Hoff, Grant Krebs, Zach Brenneman, Eric Keppeler, Regis McDermott, Sam Barnes, Kevin Ridgway, Scott Rodgers
Penn State: Jack Forster, Rob Forster, Mike Toner, Joe Britt, Matt Warner, Billy Davis, Matt Bernier, Kevin Etter, John Stuckey, Drew Adams
Sorry to leave the big cliffhanger there, Jocelyn and I peaced out out of the live blog without giving you a goodbye. However, if you didn't already see, Clay Steadman dropped a dramatic match to Quaker Thomas Shovlin, then heavyweight Stefan Tighe was majored, leaving the Lions to drop the dual meet 20-13.
My prediction was one point off, pretty impressive eh? Only problem was I had Penn State winning 21-12, not Penn. Oh well. Some shotty performances at some weight classes, but a real impressive showing from Dan Vallimont at 165 and Jake Strayer ending his Rec Hall career on a high note wraps up the last dual meet of the season for the Lions.
The Icers started off tonight by taking down Oakland for the second night in a row, this time by a score of 5-3.
Then, as if finishing their final weekend before the conference playoffs with a sweep wasn't enough, the team showed up at the Bryce Jordan Center a few hours later -- in full-body penguin costumes (audio, photo and video to come). Dancing in the Thon athlete pep rally, the Icers took on the other athletic teams from campus in a dance-off in front of the capacity BJC crowd -- and won handily.
The competition saw each team fashion a dance to a Disney-movie theme, the Icers chose "Happy Feet."
The dance, which was choreographed in large part by back-up goalie John Jay, featured the Icers -- in the penguin suits -- dancing in unison.
Stay tuned to the blog for more coverage of the Icers' landmark night.
It is officially Sunday, which means we are hours away from the opening whistle of the Penn State lacrosse home opener. The Nittany Lions (0-1) will face the No. 8-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 1 p.m. at Holuba Hall.
This will be a real tough game for the Lions, as they face a team that lost to last year's national champions (Syracuse) by two goals in the quarterfinals.Â
While perusing Youtube, I searched Notre Dame lacrosse, and came across this video with highlights from last year's quarterfinal match against Syracuse.
Well, tonight the No. 1 (for how much longer no one knows) Penn State men's volleyball team will explore uncharted territory in this young season as the Nittany Lions try to rebound for a loss. There are questions abound headed into this matchup. How will Penn State respond to a tough loss? Can the Lions shake off the effects of a brutal roadtrip? We'll find out tonight.
Penn State enters the matchup with IPFW on a rare losing streak. While I wouldn't call the Nittany Lions loss to Loyola-Chicago stunning, it did come as a bit of a surprise.
A long bus trip for the Lions coupled with a raucous crowd in a small gym aided the Ramblers in their five set victory. I was able to watch the match online and wouldn't say the Lions played their worst match of the season. Without talking to coach Mark Pavlik, I would say that Loyola just played really well.
The Lions have a chance to rebound against IPFW but fatigue could be an issue after a two-plus hour match and another bus ride. They could come out flat or just dominate. I'm picking the latter as this team doesn't like to lose.
What to Look For: If Lloy Ball, captain of the US men's volleyball team suits up for the Mastadons because I think that's the only way they have a chance.
Player of the Match: Max Holt. The senior middle hitter hasn't lost much in his career and should come out leading the team with his high-powered service game.
I can honestly say I was shocked to see the Lions fall. I know we've seen chinks in Penn State's armor in the past (See: Errors), but from Penn State's past performances, it just seemed like the Lions had turned the corner and were just rolling. Now, I'm not so sure what to believe. However, we have to give Penn State the benefit of the doubt. It's a tough roadtrip, a long season, and a hostile environment against a team that historically plays the Lions tough.
It will be interesting to see how Penn State responds. I'd imagine with brute force and a strong performance.
What To Look For: How Penn State responds to fatigue and its first loss of the season.
Player of the Match: Ryan Sweitzer. If he was upset after a 3-0 sloppy win against Springfield, I'd hate to see how he reacted last night. Expect a big night from "Sweitz".
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-17, 30-23, 30-25)
With Coach Balboni and forwards Luke DeLorenzo and Jaime Zimmel away as part of the World University Games (held in China), we thought it would be cool to have a member of the Icer contingent blog from the Far East.
Jaime was a great sport in agreeing to do this, and for that we thank him.
The following is the second of what we hope are many entries from Jaime. (Here is the first).
Hello Again from Harbin, China. We have had a couple of days off so far to see other competitions like figure skating, speed skating, and curling as well as site seeing. We were able to get away from the regular meals, which consist of only rice and jelly sandwiches. We do not know if they substitute cat or dog for chicken here, so we were able to leave the Olympic Village and go to McDonald's for a team meal, which tasted phenomenal! We went to The Ice and Snow World show where there are ice rides such as ski bikes and long ice slides that we took part in. There were ice sculptures and buildings surrounded by lights built inside the ice which was an amazing site. It was a beautiful place to visit and a great team bonding experience. We had a great time at the Ice World. We have practice today and we play Slovakia tomorrow. I will check back to with all of you after our game vs Slovakia. Bye for now!
The 197-pound match is underway for Clay Steadman and Thomas Shovlin. The wrestlers are going in and out of a locked position and hand-fighting. Steadman attempts to take a shot, but ends up missing his opponent by a few inches. He regains his composure and continues to battle with Shovlin. 45 seconds remain in the first period. Blood timeout is taken. Shovlin picks up his opponent, but the action is driven off the mat. The period ends with the score tied at 0.
Some technical difficulties occurred, but we are up and running again about halfway through the second period. A stall point was just awarded to Steadman to put him up 1-0. Not long after he records an escape to add another point to his score. 45 seconds remain in the period. Steadman takes a shot at his opponent and brings him to the ground. Shovlin counters Steadman's hold. The period ends with Steadman up 2-0.
The third period is underway and a stalling warning is issued to Steadman. One minute remains in the period. Wrestlers off the mat, neutral. The grapplers are hung up in the middle of the mat, but Shovlin grabs hold of his opponent's lead and records a takedown. 15 seconds remain in the period. Shovlin has tight hold of his opponent, and the match ends with a win by Shovlin, 4-2.
Jack Decker is now on the mat for the Lions against Colin Hitschler. The wrestlers are both trying to take a shot, but keep end up in a tied-up position. Hitschler has Decker in a single leg hold, and is trying to bring him down on the mat. Decker is fighting back and has managed to remain on his feet. Hitschler eventually carries out the takedown and receives 2 points. One minute remaining in the period. Hitschler grabs Decker's leg again, but Jack breaks loose and records an escape. Stalemate is called and the wrestlers restart in a neutral position. The period comes to an end with Hitschler leading 2-1.
Hitschler selects the defensive to start. Decker climbs on top of him, and Hitschler responds with a reversal. An injury timeout is taken for Decker, who returns to his feet and seems to be okay. A restart is issued and Decker takes the defensive. Decker is struggling to get out of Hitschler's hold, and gets his opponent on his back. He falls backwards and another restart is issued. Hitschler has control of his opponent and drives the wrestlers off the mat. Decker records an escape. The grapplers are now in a locked position, and again are driven off the mat. The period comes to an end with Hitschler leading 4-2.
The third period begins with Decker in the offensive position. This is an interesting decision considering Decker has said previously he does not like starting in that position. An injury timeout is taken for HItschler. The action continues with the grapplers handfighting to the left of center. The wrestlers are tied up with just over 30 seconds remaining in the period. Hitschler records another takedown. The match comes to an end with a win by Hitschler, 7-2.
Quentin Wright stood in the center of the mat for a good 15 seconds waiting for his opponent to enter the circle. He definitely looks ready to compete. He opens the mat with a quick takedown on Scott Giffin. Wrestlers off the mat, Wright in control. Wright climbs on top of his opponent trying to avoid giving him an escape, but Giffin manages to pick up the point anyway. The wrestlers are now tied up on the right side of the mat, and stalling is issued to Giffin. One minute remaining in the period. The wrestlers are hung up with 20 seconds left in the opening period. Wright grabs Giffins knees and records another takedown. Wright leads 4-1.
Wright takes the defensive to start the second period. Wright somersaults his was to a reversal and Giffin responds with an escape. Both wrestlers have their hands locked behind each others backs, and Wright tries to clip his opponent's leg. The wrestlers return to the middle of the mat for a re-start. 45 seconds remain in the period. Wright tries to break the hold, but the period comes to an end with him leading 6-2.
Giffin selects the defensive to start the final period, and quickly gets an escape. The wrestlers are on their feet both attempting to make a move. Both wrestlers are fighting to gain control, and momentum takes them off the mat. One minute remains in the period. A stall point is awarded to Wright. 30 seconds remain. Giffin records his first takedown of the night, driving the grapplers off the mat again. Wright escapes and responds immediately with a takedown. The match ends with a win by Wright, 11-5.
This is Jocelyn taking over for Steve. Dan Vallimont takes an early lead in the 165-pound weight class as he gets a takedown against Zack Shanaman. Vallimont is in control, holding his opponent underneath him on the mat. Shanaman is struggling to gain some control and is trying to fight his way to his feet. One minute remaining in the period. Shanaman fights his way to standing and records an escape. The wrestlers are hand-fighting now as the period comes to a close. Vallimont leads 2-1.
Vallimont takes the defensive to start the period and quickly records an escapre. He responds by bringing Shanaman to the ground and getting another 2-point takedown. He now has the Penn wrestler on the mat, but Shanaman manages to get to his feet, recording another escape. 45 seconds remain in the period. Stalemate is called and the wrestlers return to the middle of the mat. The second period ends with Vallimont leading by a score of 6-2.
Shanaman selects the neutral position to start the final period. The grapplers are tied up on the mat, and a stalemate is called. One minute remaining in the period. Shanaman drives Vallimont into the bleachers, causing a young boy to burst out in tears, good thing his mom was there to comfort him. 20 seconds remain. Vallimont pulls some quick moves and records a takedown. The wrestlers return to the middle of the mat and Shanaman records an escape. THe match comes to a close with a takedown by Vallimont. THe match ends with him winning 11-3.
PSU's Tim Darling is wrestling Matt Dragon, ranked No. 18 in the country now at the 157-pound weight class. Dragon has been in control all match, recording a takedown, but with 18 seconds left and after much scrambling, Darling executed a beautiful reversal on the far edge of the mat to move the score to 2-2. Darling is showing signs of why the coaching staff is so high on him. First period ends with that score.
Darling will start off in the offensive position and looks really adament about getting a move off, but he exposes himself and Dragon takes advantage, earning a reversal for himself and taking a 4-2 lead.
The referees have called an injury timeout here as it appeared Darling was on his way to escaping with 47 seconds left in the second period. Dragon got two back points at the end of the second period, and leads 6-2 (basically 7-2 with the riding time advantage) going into the third.
Darling elects the bottom position to start the period. He is danger of giving up a stall point as he doesn't look like he is making much effort here. A minute later, he has surrendered the stall point and is now down five points. I would hope he doesn't give up the major decision but if he could pull together a couple of moves he could reverse the match. Now we have a stall point awarded to Tim Darling. Score is 6-3 (7-3 with riding time). 20 seconds left here and Darling is trying to escape the grasp of Dragon, but his reversal comes too late, and he will lose 7-5 to Dragon.
With Milli by Lil' Wayne blasting over the loud speakers, junior Bubba Jenkins makes his way to the center of the mat from the right edge of Rec Hall to face No. 11-ranked Cesar Grajales of Penn. The first two minutes have been very boring, finally we ahve some action as Cesar shot at Bubba and nearly put Bubba on his back, but he was able to muscle his way out of the situation. They restart neutral on the center of the mat with 52 seconds left int he first period. Grajales appears to be very strong with his upper-body, preventing Bubba from using the speed he usually can just use to get in on a leg. 10 seconds remaining now, with the wrestlers still handfighting, and the period will end with no scoring.
Grajales defers his decision to the third period, and Bubba picks the defensive position to start. This is the first time I've seen him choose the bottom position to start -- he usually just picks the offense and cuts his opponent loose. However he will try and fight out here. He has 23 seconds into the period, and the score is 1-0 as they restart neutrally. The crowd is yelling for Bubba to get a takedown -- it's not a usual sight for him not to get a takedown in the first couple seconds, let alone minutes of the match, Bubba hasn't taken many shots, but when he has it has been met by strong opposition from Grajales. Now a stall warning is called on Bubba, a very very rare occurence, and Grajales has Bubba on a single-leg but is unable to get a takedown before time expires.
The score will be 1-0 in favor of Bubba, with Grajales picking the bottom position to start up. Bubba was deciding whether or not to ride him out, but he elects to cut him loose, moving the score to 1-1 in the third period. It will take a takedown to win this match. They are now interlocked over their heads. Honestly, I would say Bubba should ahve a stall point called agasinst him -- he's really made now effort to get any type of move here in teh final couple of seconds here. Call it lucky for him to move into overtime with a tied score.
On his first shot of the night, Bubba gets a takedown with four seconds remaining on the far side of the mat, and gets the win. He really showed 0 emotion, however, as he walks off the mat with his head down. Bubba knows he should win that match by a lot more margin, but don't tell the crowd that, because they are ecstatic over the 3-1 victory.
Rappo picks the bottom position, is cut loose by Molinaro right away, and now Molinaro has surrendered the takedown, with the score 5-0 in favor of the Quaker. A stalemate is called with 40 seconds remaining in the match. Rappo elects to keep riding Molinaro, which hasn't been a problem at all for him, and will continue to do so for the rest of the remaining time. I've heard Mark Perry's foot stomp on the court in disgust about five different times, and the match ends in a 6-0 victory for Rappo.
Frank Molinaro and Rick Rappo will now do battle at the 141-pound weight class. This is a match that could go either way and could very well decide the match. Molinaro has shot a couple times early here and has avoided any takedowns. For the second time, Rappo is upside down over Molinaro, an awkward position for both of them to say the least. They are handfighting after a restart here with 1 minute left in the first period and no score. Molinaro's head is snapped down momentarily by Rappo but he resists it and we will have a scoreless and boring first period.
Frank choses the bottom position to begin the second period. Rappo is working the upper half of his body, as Molinaro is attempting to escape the hold of the senior from Penn. If he can get a nice riding time advantage to carry through. A stall warning is now called on Rappo as he wasn't making an attempt to make any moves on Molinaro. They will restart here in the middle with 1 minute remaining, and now Rappo has Molinaro on his back, but Molinaro fights his way out of it, only letting up two back points. Rappo has control of the match after the second period, with a 2-0 lead and 1:39 in riding time. 21 seconds left here and the wrestlers will restart after a potentially dangerous play. An escape would be huge for Frank here to start up. he is trying desperately but Rappo is actually as strong as Molinaro, a rare sight here all season, and we will go into the third period with a 2-0 advantage in favor of Rappo.
Strayer takes the bottom position to start the period and escaped within a couple seconds. Now the two grapplers are going at it in the center, Strayer has a hold of a single-leg and gets a takedown on Ortenzio to move the score to 4-2 in his favor. He has a hold of his right leg, breaking him down as he is riding him out. Assistant coach Matt Dernlan is screaming to him on the edge of the mat, but a stalemate is called with 51 seconds remaining in the second period. Ortenzio escapes, moving the score to 4-3. Strayer executes a very impressive move, flailing his legs over Ortenzio to earn a takedown on the far edge of the mat. He will have a 47 second riding time advantage and a 6-3 lead going into the third period.
Ortenzio takes the defensive position to start the third period. Assistant coach Mark Perry tells Strayer to "put the match away now". He gets a takedown with 20 seconds into the period and cuts him loose soon after the minute of riding time is secured. He has gotten another takedown now and cut him loose on the far edge and they will start off neutral. Strayer gets another takedown, cuts him again, gets another takedown and cuts him again. Strayer has a leg but Ortenzio has a wisser and fights off, Strayer needs one more takedown and isn't going to get a major decision -- a real victory for Penn. 15-8 is the final score for Strayer. He looked really impressive in the final couple of minutes, but was unable to attain any bonus points for his team. Dual meet Score: Penn 4, PSU 3
In Strayer's last match of his life here at Rec Hall, he has been taken down within ten seconds by Penn's Bryan Ortenzio but escapes quickly so the score is 2-1. The wrestlers have been scrambling here in the first, and they will start neutral to begin after a restart with 1 minute remaining. Strayer was able to avoid a nice shot by Ortenzio, and is almost in for a takedown but Ortenzio has a hold of his leg, a stalemate called with 31 seconds left. They are handfighting now in the far corner, and they have now dropped down to the ground, Strayer almost got himself around Ortenzio for a takedown, but time expires and Strayer trails 2-1 after the first period.
Third period begins with Peterkin in the bottom decision, escaped and worked his way to a takedown. He is leading 10-2 with the riding time advantage, so Pataky must escape to prevent a major decision from occurring. He has a firm of Peterkin, but Pataky was able to squeeze out and execute a reversal with 30 seconds left, so the score is 10-4 and there won't be a major decision. However, Peterkin did get a reversal with two seconds left and had Pataky on his back, so it will be a 12-4 win for Peterkin over Pataky here.
Action begins here with a takedown by Peterkin as he countered a single-leg shot by Pataky. He is now riding Brad on the far side of the mat, with his arms around Pataky's head. Pataky seems to be making slow signs of escaping but the referees have called a stalemate with 1:42 left in the period. Pataky will start in the bottom position. Peterkin has turned and tilted Brad in the center of the mat, looking very similar and tactical, earning three back points on Pataky, with the score now 5-0 in favor of the Quaker with 45 seconds left.
Another stalemate called and Pataky will be given another restart shot to escape. Peterkin has a firm grasp of Pataky however and he is preventing him from getting out at all. This is not the way that Pataky wanted to start off, getting a 2:42 riding time advantage to start off.
To begin the second period Pataky chooses neutral to begin. Pataky is in on his right leg, and gets the takedown early in the secnod period, moving the score to 5-2. He's going to work to get some of this riding time away, but now decides to cut Peterkin loose and get another takedown. Pataky has a grasp of his head and worked him down but wasn't able to get anything. Now Pataky shot and got a double-leg, but wasn't able to exeute the takedown, now Pataky is in danger of giving a takedown of his own, and they will both surrender a scoring opportunity and will go into the third period. 6-2.
After a nice ceremony honoring the Penn State seniors, action is about to get underway here at Rec Hall. Till I Collapse by Eminem has come over the loud speakers and the team has come out of the locker room. Bubba is leading the team in an animated talk in the center of the circle, as they have been talking for a good 20 seconds.
Action will begin tonight with a great matchup at 125 pounds, as Brad Pataky will face No. 11-ranked Rollie Peterkin from Penn. This is a great test for Pataky before he begins his postseason push at the 125-pound weight class.
We'll be back momentarily to give you live commentary of each match.
Howdy everybody and welcome to the live blog of tonight's live blog of the final Penn State wrestling dual meet of the season, as it takes on the No.25-ranked Penn Quakers in an in-state rivalry matchup.
Tonight is senior night for the wrestlers, marking the last time the seniors will wrestle at Rec Hall.
John Laboranti, Jack Decker, Tim Haas, Jake Strayer, Mark Friend and Phil Bomberger will be honored in a ceremony before the match gets underway. Moments ago, the family members of the seniors were asked to come down from the stands to accompany their kids out on the mat.
First, he was rumored to be on the trade block. Then, he was told he was staying. Lastly, he will be out for two months for his second eye surgery in the past year.
Yep, Amare Stoudemire, one of the most talented players in the NBA, is injured again and will need surgery to repair a detached retina suffered in the Phoenix Suns whooping of the Clippers Wednesday night, reports said.
The Suns were trying to trade the phenom for cap purposes, but when no good offers were available, GM Steve Kerr decided to keep Stoudemire and fire head coach Terry Porter. Two games into the Alvin Gentry era and the Suns were back to their old run-n-gun selves, averaging 141 points per game in two annihilations of the lowly Clippers.
But just as Suns fans like myself were optimistic once more, Stoudemire's injury has Phoenix fans looking toward the offseason. Unless Shaq plays like it's 1999, the Suns look like they will be the ninth team in an eight team playoff system. The blow might not be as crippling as John Paxson in the 1993 NBA Finals, but it still hurts considering the Cardinals made the Super Bowl before the Suns returned to the finals.
No matter how ugly the win was on Wednesday at No. 18 Illinois, Penn State got itself yet another quality win against a top 25 opponent. That makes for three wins over top 25 teams in the RPI (Purdue, at Michigan State, at Illinois), as well as two more wins over top 50 teams (Minnesota, Michigan).
The Nittany Lions appeared to be almost assuredly headed to the NIT after the three-game Michigan-Wisconsin-Purdue losing streak, but back-to-back wins over Minnesota and Illinois have them back in various NCAA tournament projections.
Here's a rundown of where a few outlets have the Lions after the Illinois game:
-In Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology, Penn State is an 11-seed playing against 6-seed West Virginia in Minneapolis. Amazingly, eight Big Ten teams get the nod in this one.
-The Bracket Project has Penn State as the third team in the "First Four Out", meaning the Lions are the third bubble team not in the tournament.
-CollegeHoops.net puts Penn State in the tournament as a 12-seed. No specific matchups are listed, but the opponent would be either UCLA, Arizona State, Gonzaga or Xavier.
The Lions have the weekend off and can sit back and watch Illinois visit Ohio State at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Buckeyes have a very quick turnaround to the ESPN Super Tuesday contest with Penn State -- which Matt, Nate and I will be making the trip for and bringing you coverage from Columbus.
Right now, Penn State holds a 19-8 (8-6 Big Ten) record with games at Ohio State, vs. Indiana, vs. Illinois and at Iowa left before the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. It should be an exciting few weeks for Penn State basketball as the Lions try to make their first Big Dance since 2001's Sweet 16 run.
One of the best matchups of the night. Pataky told me earlier in the week that he has wrestled Peterkin in the past and didn't do well, so this is a chance for revenge for him. Tonight will also be a good gauge for Pataky to see where he is at before Big Tens. The Clearfield, Pa. native leads the Nittany Lions in wins this season, as he has compiled a 26-6 record. Peterkin is 8-4 on the year, and lost to the No. 2-ranked 125-pounder, Cornell's Troy Nickerson last weekend.
Prediction: Pataky dec. Peterkin 7-4
PSU's No. 9 Jake Strayer vs. Penn's Bryan Ortenzio
PSU's Frank Molinaro or Tim Haas vs. Penn's Rick Rappo
I have a gut feeling that Haas is going to start tonight for the Lions. This is his sixth season on the squad, this is his senior night technically, so I think head coach Troy Sunderland will insert him in the lineup here as a tribute to his contribution to the program. At practice yesterday, Haas was working out intensely in the weight room, looking like he was preparing for a match. Rappo is a senior and a solid wrestler, 14-6 on the season. Should be a close matchup whether it is Molinaro or Haas in the lineup.
Prediction: Rappo dec. Haas 5-4
PSU's No. 2 Bubba Jenkins vs. Penn's No. 11 Cesar Grajales
This is Bubba's biggest test yet all season long. Bubba told me yesterday that he's pretty much healthy -- his lingering ankle injury is affecting him a little but I'm sure it won't be an issue when it's wrestling time. He also said his ankle brace was jacked out of the washing machine, but I'm sure he got a new one. Grajales is 24-5, a senior from Florida, and this is probably the biggest match of his year so far. A win for him here would put him on the map.
Prediction: Jenkins dec. Grajales 10-5
PSU's Tim Darling vs. Penn's No. 18 Matt Dragon
This is an intriguing matchup as well. Dragon is an experienced senior, and Darling is competing in the third dual meet of the year. He's a talented kid, so it will be interesting to see how experience meets inexperience tonight.
A crazy career comes to an end tonight for Decker, who has started at the 149-pound weight class in his career, but now stands at 184. His body defies what I would be able to do. Can you imagine being able to adjust your body weight by 40 pounds? Damn.
Prediction: Hitschler dec. Decker 8-4
PSU's Clay Steadman or J.R. Brown vs. Penn's Thomas Shovlin
Sunderland said the coaching staff elected not to start Steadman against Michigan last Saturday, even though the freshman started the night before. He said it was a precautionary measure. I haven't heard anything about his health this week, so I would assume he will be back in the lineup for the Lions. Shovlin is a junior from Harrisburg and has compiled a 14-6 record on the season. He was pinned by Cornell's Cam Simaz last weekend.
Prediction: Steadman dec. Shovlin 7-2
PSU's Cameron Wade or Stefan Tighe vs. Penn's Trey McLean
Wade recorded a pin against Michigan State last week, but followed it up with a loss against Michigan. This has been a weird weight class for Penn State all season long, inserting both the heavyweights in at different times when the coaches think there might be a matchup advantage. Not sure who will be out there, but they will be facing a tough Quaker wrestler in McLean. McLean is a senior, brings in a 18-6 record, and upset No. 15-ranked Cornell heavyweight Zach Hammond last weekend.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans it's Tom and Mike here again with another installment of the Penn State Pre. This week, the Nittany Lions hit the road to take on Loyola-Chicago and IPFW. The Lions have started to turn the corner offensively and look to keep it going on a tough roadtrip..
First Meeting: 1996
All Time: Penn State: 6-5
Last Time: April 11,2008, 3-0 (30-21, 30-18, 30-28)
Streak: Penn State (2)
The Nittany Lions are rolling. They are 10-0, ranked No. 1 and coming off a sweep of rival Ohio State. . The Lions lead the country in hitting percentage, aces per game, kills per game, blocks per game, and digs per game.
Max Holt is racking up awards like they're billiard balls and avoiding errors like an accountant. The offense is really coming along and being around this team gives you the sense that they are special.
But Loyola-Chicago presents a tougher matchup than originally thought. Coach Mark Pavlik said the Lions finally beat the Ramblers in their home gym last season. He compared the gym's size to that of his office and said the fans are rowdy. Now Pavlik has a decent size office but I wouldn't string a net across it. This is no pushover for the Lions.
What to Look For: If the Ramblers perform better in big games than their MLB counterpart, the Chicago Cubs.
Player of the Match: Ryan Sweitzer. "Sweitz" is a guy who seems to feed off an opposing crowd and the Loyola faithful are expected to be rowdy.
Score: Penn State 3-1 (30-23, 26-30, 30-22, 30-23)
Really there's not much I can say here that we haven't been saying for the past couple of weeks. The offense is really starting to click and freshman Edgardo Goas has filled in nicely as the setter. Sure there are a few bumps along the road (See: Ohio State last Saturday) but it's only a matter of time before he puts it all together on a nightly basis.
However, this a tough road trip for the Lions. Penn State has been crammed on the bus today and Thursday, and hopefully, for the team's sake, there's less "flatulence," as Max Holt put it, on this trip than in past years.
The Lions must avoid a letdown and keep the focus level high if they want to walk out of Chicago with a win.
What to Look For: If the Lions can shake off the wear and tear from the long roadtrip.
Player of the Game: Dennis Del Valle. Del Valle was on fire last Saturday against Ohio State and his vocal presence is a key for the Lions.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-25, 30-26, 30-28)
Grant sees Rashida Mark open down the floor and tries to hit her with a long pass, but it goes too high and results in a turnover. The next time down, Grant tries to put up a shot-clock-beating jumper but FahKara Malone steals the ball from her and goes the length of the court for the lay-up.
It was a pretty rough game for the Lady Lions. Grant was held relatively quiet, and Purdue's physically dominating post players took over by the end of the first half. Penn State falls now to 4-11 in the Big Ten while Purdue rises to 12-4.
Purdue 61, PSU 47 3:56 in 2nd half
Trogele's been taking the ball up the court a lot. She just got fouled trying to do another end-to-end lay-up. She made the front end but missed the second shot.
The Purdue defense is still allowing Grant to try the baseline and she keeps going and she keeps getting double-teamed and trapped. Fortunately for her the ball goes off a Boilermaker out of bounds and she gets an open 3-ball on the inbounds play.
Penn State cannot hit lay-ups when they're available. Purdue's doing a good job of keeping the Lady Lions from getting second-chance opportunities lately and keeping this game out of reach.
Wisdom Watch: I don't know exactly how many rebounds she has this game, but I know the minimum. By my counts, Wisdom-Hylton grabbed her ninth rebound around the five-minute mark, setting a school record for career boards. Congratulations to Lindsay. She also has a double-double in this game.
Purdue 53, PSU 41 7:38 in 2nd half
An alley-oop attempt from Womack to Evelyn Lewis failed as the freshman lobbed it a little too high. After getting a defensive rebound, Womack turns it right back over and FahKara Malone gets an easy lay-up.
Tyra Grant checks back into the game after a timeout on the floor. Penn State is hoping she's not too rusty from sitting on the bench with four fouls.
Wisdom Watch: No progress on the technical issues or in her rebound numbers.
Purdue 51, PSU 39 9:29 in 2nd half
Renee Womack had a golden opportunity for a put-back lay-in, but she couldn't hit the bucket. The ball goes out of bounds of Womack and she slams in ball down in frustration.
O'Rourke tried to pass out after a drive, but the ball went over Zhaque Gray's hands. Coquese Washington walked on the sideline with her hands on her head.
Not all went bad this time around. Julia Trogele grabbed an offensive rebound off her own miss and hit a sweet fall-away jumper. But Purdue scored on the other end quite quickly.
Wisdom Watch: The Wisdom Watch is on hold for now because of technical difficulties. At last check she's still sitting on seven.
Purdue 47, PSU 37 11:32 in 2nd half
Mashea Williams penetrates and finds Renee Womack open on the baseline. The freshman nails the jumper and Penn State is back to within single-digits.
Danielle Campbell is asserting herself on the glass. Womack tried boxing her out but just got manhandled, and later in the possession, she put in a lay-up.
Wisdom Watch: Ten points now for Wisdom-Hylton, but she's still on seven rebounds.
Purdue 43, PSU 35 15:00 in 2nd half
Grant is called for her fourth foul, much to her surprise and to the team's chagrin. She's out of the game for now, and Penn State will have to find another scorer if it's going to come back in this one.
O'Rourke may have had two airballs from long-range in this game, but when she's left as open as she just was, she'll hit that every time. But she only has five points and three assists.
Wisdom Watch: She hit a sweet jumper over two Penn State defenders with about 14 and a half minutes to go. Wisdom-Hylton still has seven rebounds.
Purdue 40, PSU 27 15:31 in 2nd half
Tyra Grant starts this half off well for Penn State with a straightaway 3-ball. She follows it up with a defensive rebound. She then tries another trey, but it bricks out. Rashida Mark goes up for the board and gets hammered by Lakisha Freeman.
It's all Grant all the time as the guard gets another defensive rebound, then as she tries to turn it upcourt she gets whacked by Jodi Howell. It's all good, though. Grant dribble-drives and hits a jumper.
Mark misses a jumper with the shot clock winding down, but Julia Trogele grabs the rebound and will go to the line for another And-1 opportunity (she converts). Mark gets another offensive board the next time down, but she tries to do too much and ends up taking a bad lay-up in traffic. Danielle Campbell puts it in the other way for Purdue.
Wisdom Watch: Wisdom-Hylton is up to seven rebounds now, just two away from the school's career record. She also hit her first field goal of the contest, giving her six points on 1-for-3 shooting.
Purdue 36, PSU 19 End of 1st half
Purdue finally misses its first free throw, and then Julia Trogele nails a J on the other end. But Campbell puts on a show as she executes a nice up-and-under against Trogele, putting in her seventh points. O'Rourke tries a 3-ball, but she draws nothing but air.
Finally, Penn State gets a backdoor cut. Williams zips a pass in to Trogele, who sneaked behind the Purdue defense and draws the And-1. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp calls for time.
Grant almost gets caught under the backboard again, but Trogele bails the play out and gets it to O'Rourke. The point guard hits a 15-footer, then Natasha Bogdanova is called for an offensive foul.
Mashea Williams tries to run an iso play with the clock winding down, but it goes awry. The ball flies upcourt to Jodi Howell, who drives, hits a lay-up and is fouled by Tyra Grant. Howell nails the foul shot, making Purdue 12-for-13 from the stripe in the first half.
It's not been a good half for the Lady Lions on offense or defense. Penn State's highest scorer is Julia Trogele with seven, while Tyra Grant is 3-for-11 with six points. Defensively, Purdue is getting behind the Lady Lions and getting loads of fastbreak opportunities. Jodi Howell already has 11 points.
Wisdom Watch: Wisdom-Hylton has five boards in the first half, placing her four away from the school's record for career rebounds. She also has four points on 0-for-2 shooting.
Purdue 30, PSU 12 3:57 in 1st half
FahKara Malone runs the length of the court and goes for a lay-in. O'Rourke does a nice job getting back and turning her enough to cause the miss, but Renee Womack is too far under the basket to get the rebound. Lakisha Freeman puts in the follow-up.
After a missed lay-up by Trogele leads to a Jodi Howell fastbreak jumper, Coquese Washington calls a timeout. She has a right to be upset; her team is settling for jumpers and allowing an awful lot of transition baskets.
Grant gets caught under the basket again and tries to pass out of it, only to have it stolen away. The ball moves around Purdue's offensive set very nicely, and it leads to some some offensive glasswork by Danielle Campbell. She gets back-to-back boards and draws a foul, getting two easy points out of it.
Wisdom-Hylton gets another steal for the Boilermakers and Meggan Quinn fouls Brittany Rayburn, who goes back to the line and hits both shots. That's 10-for-10 now for Purdue from the stripe. What's Penn State shooting? Glad you asked. Zero-for-2. Bit of a disparity there.
Meanwhile, the Lady Lions continue to struggle from the field. They can't get any penetration and are forcing up jumpers against this Purdue zone. Janessa Wolff isn't dressed for Penn State.
Wisdom Watch: She now has four rebounds this half, as well as a pair of steals. Danielle Campbell leads the category for this game, though, with five boards.
Purdue 19, PSU 12 7:47 in 1st half
O'Rourke tries to feed Trogele inside on transition, but the forward loses the handle. Grant eventually goes for three and misses, still scoreless tonight. On the other end, Chantel Poston scores for the Boilermakers.
Trogele scores, and then O'Rourke grabs a steal and heads a 3-on-1, assisting Tyra Grant on her first points of the game. Then Grant jumps across the sideline to save a loose ball, which results in free throws for Mashea Williams. She misses both, so while Purdue is 4-for-4 from the line, Penn State is 0-for-2.
Make that 6-for-6 as Wisdom-Hylton knocks down a pair. But Grant answers on the other end with a sweet reverse lay-in. It's followed up, however, by a Jodi Howell 3-pointer.
This Purdue half-court trap is wrecking Penn State. Grant made a nice interception and tried to run the length of the floor, but she was stripped form behind by Howell. She gets the member's bounce the next time down, though.
Wisdom Watch: Wisdom-Hylton grabbed two defensive boards in the last four minutes. She's now six away from Lovelace's school record.
Purdue 12, PSU 4 11:51 in 1st half
FahKara Malone drains a three, then Trogele gets trapped at half-court and throws it right back to her. Malone puts in the easy deuce. On the other end, though, Lewis gets her first points of her thus-far impressive night.
Grant tries to go under the backboard for a reverse lay-up in traffic, but she's met by two defenders' hands. The Lady Lion offense (read: Tyra Grant) is so far 0-for-5 from the floor. Not a good sign.
Brittany Rayburn nails a three. Treys and free throws have basically constituted the entire Purdue offense so far. But then, Penn State is 2-for-12 from the field.
Wisdom Watch: Still at one, although she recorded her first two points from the foul line.
Purdue 2, PSU 2 15:47 in 1st half
Evelyn Lewis keeps the ball alive by grabbing the offensive board, but it's thrown away in the end. Fortunately for Penn State, Wisdom-Hylton can't make the lay-up on the other end. Purdue's moving the ball around well. Although it hasn't hit a field goal yet, those will come in time.
Tyra Grant tries to clear some space against Jodi Howell, but she plows her over for a charge. Lewis grabs her third rebound in two minutes to start O'Rourke on the fastbreak. She feeds Mashea Williams, who gives Penn State its first bucket off the night.
An interesting turn of events in transition. Julia Trogele boxes out Wisdom-Hylton for the defensive rebound and tries to bring it up the floor, but she loses it. The ball floats between at least three sets of hands before Williams claims it eventually.
Wisdom Watch: Wisdom-Hylton has one rebound so far. The attention should turn to Penn State's Evelyn Lewis, who has snagged five rebounds in the first four-plus minutes of play. The Lady Lions have been doing a good job so far at boxing the Purdue post players out. Let's see if it continues.
* * * * * * *
It's been four days since the Penn State women's basketball team blew a 20-point lead on Pink Zone day and lost to Iowa. Now, at 4-10 in the conference, the Lady Lions look to regain some ground in the conference standings. They'll have to do it against Purdue, the third-ranked team in the Big Ten.
Hey everybody, it's Dan, your friendly neighborhood Lady Lions reporter, coming to you live from the BJC. I'll be bringing you the action tonight. In particular, I'll be keeping track of the rebounds for Purdue's Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who is nine boards away from setting Stacey Lovelace's team-record in career rebounds.
Here are tonight's starting line-ups:
PSU: G Tyra Grant, G Brianne O'Rourke, G Mashea Williams, F Julia Trogele, F Evelyn Lewis
Purdue: G FahKara Malone, F Jodi Howell, F Lakisha Freeman, F Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, C Danielle Campbell
After much debate and discussion, we have created a shortlist for the 2010 USA Hockey Team. When looking through every NHL team, we came to the realization there aren't many good players born in in the good ole US of A. This made the decision even tougher. We decided on a 14-8-3 roster. It's a very young team. It's not as stacked as the Canadians or Russians, but it's got some potential. Our top line of Parise-Stastny-Kane is pretty awesome and the goalies aren't too shabby. It looks worthy of a medal, but only time will tell.
This is episode five of a show called "Penn State: Access Granted," which has a segment on the No. 1 Penn State men's volleyball team. The segment (which starts at 17:30) details the Nittany Lions' trip to Hawaii for the Outrigger Invitational and then a short, but funny segment on the similarities between Edgardo Goas and Dennis Del Valle. Enjoy.
With Coach Balboni and forwards Luke DeLorenzo and Jaime Zimmel away as part of the World University Games (held in China), we thought it would be cool to have a member of the Icer contingent blog from the Far East.
Jaime was a great sport in agreeing to do this, and for that we thank him.
The following is the first of what we hope are many entries from Jaime.
Game 1 vs Korea: I wanted to first start off by saying hello from China. It is a big culture shock here, but it is a great experience so far. We have finally adjusted to the time difference just in time for our first game against Korea. The experience cannot be described in words, or at least it is difficult to describe it. We had the opening ceremonies last night, which was an unbelievable experience. Walking in front of thousands of people with the American flag was an experience of a lifetime. After the ceremonies were over, we came back to the Olympic village to get a good night's sleep before our first test, Korea. We started out a little sluggish, coming out of the first period, 2-1 Korea.
Korea was a different paced team to what we all are used to. They move the puck rather slow but always had a guy hanging behind our defenseman, which threw us off. During the second we started playing more aggressive and throwing the body as well as using our speed. At the end of the second, we were down 3-2, but dominated play. Going into the third, the atmosphere was USA hockey atmosphere, we were ready to dominate finally. We took the momentum from the second period and continue to dominate. We were able to take the lead 4-3 about 9 minutes into the third, but Korea scored another power play goal. We were a man down going into overtime and just as our penalty ran out, our captain Johnny Liang led us to our first victory on a 2-on-1 back door play.
We have two days off before we go back to work against Slovakia. We will practice the next two days and most likely be able to sight see which will be a great experience as well as a great way for team building. I want to wish the Penn State Icers GOOD LUCK in their upcoming weekend if I am not able to blog before that time.
One dude on The Wrestling Talk posted his newest wrestling rankings in the forum. These rankings are called "power rankings" because it takes five respected rankings, averages a wrestler's rank in each, and calculates a new rank for each individual.
Here's a look at how Penn State wrestlers fared on the power rankings:
125-pound weight class: Brad Pataky, ranked No. 10 in power rankings, ranked No. 13 on Intermat, averaged ranking of No. 11 between all polls
133-pound weight class: Jake Strayer, ranked No. 8 in power rankings, No. 9 on Intermat, averaged ranking of No. 8.6 between all polls
149-pound weight class: Bubba Jenkins, ranked No. 2 in power rankings, No. 2 on Intermat, averaged ranking of No. 2 between all polls
165-pound weight class: Dan Vallimont, ranked No. 20 in power rankings, Not Ranked on Intermat, averaged ranking of No. 21.8 between all polls
174-pound weight class: Quentin Wright, ranked No. 12 in power rankings, ranked No. 16 on Intermat, averaged ranking of No. 13.4 between all polls
Following being named EIVA Player of the Week, the American Volleyball Coaches Association named Holt their player of the week. It's the first honor for Holt and the first time a Penn State player has been named since Luke Murray received the award on March 27, 2008.
"I thought it was a joke at first," Holt said with a chuckle when thinking about the award.
Holt said he felt he was playing well, but thought the Nittany Lions would have had to play more ranked teams to get an award like this.
Holt also gave credit to his teammates while giving his thoughts on the honor.
"I wish we could have gotten AVCA Team of the Week," Holt said. "Everybody's just playing really well right now at this point in the season."
I got a chance to speak with Icers captain Frank Berry after practice today, who'd managed to loose the pair of crutches he'd been on this week.
(If you remember, he left the team's game Saturday part-way through with a knee injury, was later seen on crutches as the team celebrated the 7-1 win over Drexel and had been waiting to get his MRI results back until now.)
He said he hasn't met with the doctor -- and won't until later in the week -- concerning the MRI results, but what he does know is that the injury isn't as bad as once feared.
According to Berry, all he knows as of now is that he didn't tear any of the knee's major ligaments. He'll know more concerning his actual diagnosis -- and in turn any possible timetable for return -- once he meets with the doctor.
You have to think as of now, Frank and the team as a whole dodged a major bullet with his diagnosis so far.
Tiger Woods may not be playing at this week's Northern Trust Open at the fabled Riviera Country Club, but a player whom many regard as a potential challenger to Woods will be.
Who is this mystery player? None other than 17-year old Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa, who will be playing this week on a sponsor's exemption.
Back in 2007, Ishikawa became the youngest player to win a Japanese Tour event at the age of 15, and added two victories to his resume last season.
Ishikawa has also been invited to play at the Masters in April, which will give us a chance to see how he handles the intense spotlight of a major.
Do I hope Ishikawa can eventually challenge Tiger's supremacy? Sure.
Do I think he will? No.
Why? Because for every Tiger Woods, there are a boatload of phenoms that fail to live up to expectations. Look at Phil Mickelson. In 1991, Lefty became only the fourth amateur to win a PGA Tour event, and while he has certainly done well for himself, his career has not lived up to the lofty expectations he brought with him when he turned pro.
Ditto for Sergio Garcia. After his spirited run at the 1999 PGA Championship, when he was just 19 years old, most expected that El Nino would have at least one major by now.
What is it that seperates Tiger from these also-rans? Mental toughness. Tiger has mental toughness unlike anyone we've ever seen. His birdie putt on the 18th to force a playoff at Torrey Pines in last year's U.S. Open is evidence of that.
The thing about golf that makes it different from other sports is that simply having the skills to play the game well isn't enough. You have to know how to win.
When it gets down to crunch time in a golf tournament, things change. Why does it happen so often in a major that the leader coughs up the lead to a guy who teed off in the morning, rather than the leader hitting great shots to hold on to his lead? Anyone who has seen the excellent documentary The Back Nine at Cherry Hills knows what I'm talking about. Arnold Palmer came back from seven strokes back on Sunday to win that 1960 U.S. Open, and while we can never know for certain whether Arnie would have still shot 65 if he had been in the lead to start the day, it certainly made it easier on him that he had nothing to lose that day.
Before he even turned pro, Tiger knew how to win. He won three U.S. Junior Amateur and three U.S. Amateur titles apiece, an amateur record that is about as impressive as it gets.
Perhaps Ishikawa has similar mental abilities to Woods, but until I see them, I am hesitant to anoint him as a successor to Tiger.
Penn State recruit Tim Frazier defined "posterize" when he took a pass from his teammate and jumped over Spring Woods' Keewyn Reece to slam it home.
Unfortunately there's no sound, but it would be really nice if Kevin Harlan could record a voice over:
Frazier and Strake Jesuit finished the regular season 32-0, and with his quickness, the 6-foot-2 guard will likely be in the mix with Chris Babb and Cammeron Woodyard to start at the two position next year to replace Stanley Pringle.
As expected, Penn State takes the top spot in the AVCA rankings again this week. The Nittany Lions again received all 16 first place votes.
The Lions have been ranked No. 1 all year and are really starting to click offensively.
The biggest shakeup this week is in the Top 3. Pepperdine lost to Stanford in four sets, allowing UC Irvine to leapfrog them in the rankings. This seems to leave the Lions as the lone undefeated team in the country.
After getting swept by the Lions, Ohio State dropped one slot to No. 15
1. Penn State (16) 240 10-0 1
2. UC Irvine 218 11-2 3
3. Pepperdine 198 7-1 2
4. Cal State Northridge 195 9-2 4
5. Southern California 185 9-2 5
6. Long Beach State 153 7-4 7
7. Stanford 148 8-6 8
8. UCLA 125 7-6 6
9. BYU 111 5-6 9
10. UC San Diego 83 6-6 13
11. Hawai'i 79 3-8 10
12. Lewis 64 7-2 15
13. UC Santa Barbara 48 3-8 12
14. George Mason 38 5-2 11
15. Ohio State 27 5-6 14
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Ball State 4
The money will be donated to the Sickle Cell Association Disease of America. So, here, we gives props to 'Tone, as he did a good thing for something that matters to him. His son, Santonio III, has sickle cell.
In their 31-6 loss to Michigan on Saturday, a difference of 12 points almost certainly would have been reversed if Jake Strayer had not drank some water.
Sounds silly doesn't it? It was a bizarre occurrence this weekend on the Nittany Lions' road trip. Coach Troy Sunderland said Strayer had his weight under control an hour before the team weighed in at Michigan State.
After a skin check, however, Sunderland said Strayer "essentially forgot to weigh-in."
"It sounds really bizarre, like how could that happen, but I've had a couple of other coaches tell me it has happened to them," Sunderland said.
So, it wasn't a matter of him not making weight, because he had stepped on the scale a couple times before weigh-ins. Strayer was real focused on his opponent and it was just a slip-up, Sunderland said.
By the weight management rules, being over his weight Friday against Michigan State meant he could not wrestle against Michigan the following day either.
This weight slip up could cost Strayer seeding at Big Tens, which might be essential to making a run at the incredibly tough 133-pound weight class. Strayer would have wrestled Michigan State's Franklin Gomez, who is ranked No. 6 in the country at their weight class.
Captain Tim Haas is the usual backup at 133 pounds, but Sunderland said Haas was preparing to go at 141 pounds if anything had happened to freshman Frank Molinaro. Then, Haas' weight "wasn't as close as he would have wanted, or what it should have been" so he couldn't spell Strayer at 133.
Two tenths of a pound under his weight was all it took to prevent Strayer from helping his team out this weekend. Be sure this kind of mistake won't happen to the Nittany Lions anymore this season.
Following a weekend that saw a streak of 27 straight kills without an error end and a match against Harvard where he went 12-for-12, senior Max Holt (who coincidentally is featured in the sweet banner graphic) was named EIVA Player of the Week.
For the weekend, Holt posted a team-high 20 kills, an average of 4.00 kills per game, while hitting .864 with two aces and five blocks.
Holt becomes the second Nittany Lion to recieve the honor, joining junior Max Lipsitz who won the award in late January.
This is also the sixth time in Holt's career that he has been named EIVA Player of the Week. If you've been reading our blog, you've probably noticed that we think Holt is a "bad, bad man" and we're just glad the officials in the EIVA have recognized it as well.
Another week down, and Penn State split its two contests. After a dismal offensive showing at Purdue last Wednesday, Talor Battle and the offense woke up Saturday at the BJC in a huge win over Minnesota. According to CollegeRPI.com, the Nittany Lions' RPI rose from No. 84 last week to No. 70 through Sunday's games. And amazingly, the strength of schedule has finally broken into double digits, checking in at No. 91.
Only a couple more weeks to go in the regular season, and he's a look at how Penn State's opponents fared last week (Feb. 9-15):
-William & Mary... W 69-40 vs. UNC Wilmington, L 76-67 at James Madison
-NJIT...L 61-40 vs. Utah Valley State, L 84-68 vs. Chicago State
-Hartford... L 71-63 at Vermont, L 68-63 at Maine, L 80-63 vs. MD-Baltimore County
-New Hampshire... L 81-76 at MD-Baltimore county, W 78-59 at Albany
-Penn... W 73-52 at Brown, W 68-63 at Yale
-Rhode Island... W 87-80 vs. St. Bonaventure, W 69-61 vs. St. Louis
-Towson...W 82-72 vs. Georgia State, L 78-65 at Drexel
-Georgia Tech... L 76-71 at Virginia Tech, L 86-65 vs. NC State
-Temple... W 61-59 at St. Joe's, W 78-73 at Duquesne
-Army... L 62-59 at Holy Cross, W 82-75 vs. Lehigh
-Mount St. Mary's... W 68-57 vs. St. Francis (NY), W 72-62 at Monmouth
-Lafayette... L 71-54 at Colgate, L 90-67 at Navy
-Sacred Heart... L 85-79 at Robert Morris, W 72-57 at St. Francis (PA)
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 10-2 (20-4)
2. Illinois 9-4 (21-5)
3. Purdue 8-4 (19-6)
4. Ohio State 7-5 (17-6)
5. Minnesota 7-6 (19-6)
5. Penn State 7-6 (18-8)
5. Wisconsin 7-6 (16-9)
8. Michigan 6-7 (16-10)
9. Northwestern 4-8 (13-10)
10. Iowa 3-10 (13-13)
11. Indiana 1-11 (6-18)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record: 127-196
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 160-87
Total Opponents' Record: 287-283 (.5035)
By Penn State's non-conference opponents' standards, it was a solid week at 13-14. Hartford certainly didn't help the cause, as the Hawks dropped three games in a span of seven days. 0-3 in a week? I might expect that from NJIT, but Hartford? Oh, Hartford is 6-21 overall, 2-11 in the America East and has lost 10 in a row. So I guess you can expect that from them too.
Speaking of NJIT, the Highlanders lost twice (pause for you to regain your composure after that shock...)
At least the 396 fans in attendance Thursday in Newark were graced by the presence of Bob Barker as a referee. No word on whether or not they played the following after the loss:
Georgia Tech also continued a very lackluster season, dropping another two conference games to Virginia Tech and NC State. Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets have lost four straight since the upset of Wake Forest.
On the winning side of things, the two non-conference schools who beat Penn State -- Temple and Rhode Island of the Atlantic 10 -- combined to go 4-0 during the week. Both remain in the thick of things in the league, although Xavier or Dayton will likely emerge victorious.
UConn remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll for the third straight week. That distinction will meet possibly its toughest test of the season tonight when the Huskies host No. 4 Pitt at 7.
The top four of the poll remained unchanged, with Oklahoma and UNC staying put at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
A rough week for Duke, Wake Forest and Louisville allowed Michigan State to jump three spots to No. 6. That should help Penn State's tourney prospects come Selection Sunday.
The Nits' next opponent, Illinois, rose four spots to No. 18, one ahead of No. 19 Purdue.
Ohio State fell back out after one week, as the Buckeyes technically stand at No. 28 after receiving 45 votes.
Minnesota and Wisconsin received six and two votes, respectively.
And for what it's worth, PSU picked up a vote in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
1 Connecticut (66) 24-1 1794 1
2 Oklahoma (4) 25-1 1709 2
3 North Carolina (2) 23-2 1676 3
4 Pittsburgh 23-2 1589 4
5 Memphis 22-3 1465 8
6 Michigan State 20-4 1443 9
7 Louisville 19-5 1280 5
8 Wake Forest 19-4 1217 7
9 Duke 20-5 1048 6
10 Marquette 21-4 1045 10
11 Missouri 22-4 1041 17
12 Villanova 20-5 983 13
13 Clemson 20-4 939 12
14 Arizona State 20-5 830 18
15 Kansas 20-5 651 16
16 Xavier 21-4 646 14
17 Gonzaga 19-5 599 19
18 Illinois 21-5 589 22
19 Purdue 19-6 582 20
20 UCLA 19-6 473 11
21 Butler 22-3 373 15
22 Washington 19-6 334 27
23 LSU 21-4 294 26
24 Syracuse 19-7 207 23
25 Dayton 23-3 194 31
Others Receiving Votes: Texas 83, Utah State 72, Ohio State 45, Arizona 38, California 34, Utah 34, West Virginia 26, Florida State 18, Davidson 15, South Carolina 10, Minnesota 6, Boston College 5, Kentucky 5, Miami (FL) 2, Tennessee 2, Wisconsin 2, Brigham Young 1, Robert Morris 1
OK, so Penn State's season didn't open up exactly as it expected. But what about the rest of the Nittany Lions' conference foes?
Before looking ahead to the upcoming week, let's turn the clock back and check out how the rest of the Eastern College Athletic Conference started out.
St. John's 10, Holy Cross 5: The Red Storm pulled away in the third, netting six goals against the Crusaders. Carl Iacona led the way for St. John's, tallying a hat trick, while the rest of his team outshot Holy Cross 40-19 for the game. Notre Dame 10, Loyola 9: Boy, was this a good one. The game was played on a neutral site at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., and those folks got a show. Loyola's Collin Finnerty recorded four goals and an assist, but hat tricks by Grant Krebs and Neal Hicks, coupled with Notre Dame's going 2-for-5 in man-up situations, proved too much for the Greyhounds. Loyola did win 16 of 22 faceoffs and goalie Jake Hagelin made 15 saves.
Massachusetts 15, Sacred Heart 6: This one was not so close. Nine Minuteman found the back of the net, led by Tim Balise's three goals and two assists. UMass whipped 51 shots on the Pioneers.
Villanova 8, Rutgers 4: In what could be called a balanced offensive showing, Rutgers scored just one goal per quarter against visiting Villanova. The Scarlet Knights outshot 'Nova 39-28 and won 13 of 16 faceoffs, but 13 saves by Wildcat goalie Andrew Diloreto kept the attack mostly silent.
Fairfield, Hobart and Georgetown open up this Saturday. The Stags host Delaware (1-1), the Statesmen travel to St. Joseph's (1-0), and the Hoyas begin on the road against Maryland (2-0).
Rutgers gets a chance to fix its offensive struggles Wednesday at Manhattan (0-0). Penn State starts a three-game homestand against Notre Dame (1-0) on Sunday.
All other ECAC teams play Saturday. UMass travels to Hofstra (0-0), Loyola hosts Towson (0-0), St. John's welcomes Quinnipiac (1-0) and Rutgers hits the road again to face UMBC (1-0).
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans, it's Tom and Mike hitting you guys with yet another new segment we're calling the Lion Look Back, where we, as self-proclaimed insiders will let you, the reader, know what we thought about Penn State's matches.
This week we're looking back at this weekend's matches against Harvard and Ohio State.
Mike's Look Back
It Was Over When...:Harvard: When they got off the bus. Ohio State: When Penn State came out focused to play Ohio State.
Player of the Weekend: Dennis Del Valle. The libero position is thankless but the sophomore made eye-opening digs against Ohio State. Plus he threw in a rare kill against Harvard
Stat of the Weekend: 17. All 17 players played against Harvard
Surprise of the Weekend: The crowd. Coach Mark Pavlik was expecting around 2,500 people for the Ohio State match but 4,170 showed up.
Quotable: "[Joe] was flashing her his phone number with his fingers," Max Holt on a young lady with a sign that read "Joe Sunder, be my valentine."
It Was Over When...:Harvard: When this match was scheduled. Ohio State: After Penn State took a close second set.
Player of the Weekend: Will Price. 18 kills, a service error and four digs on the weekend for Price. An honorable mention to Joe Sunder, who obviously has one very dedicated female fan. Evidently the ladies love them some Joe Sunder. Kudos.
Stat of the Weekend: 27. That's how many consecutive kills Max Holt had without a service error. The streak was snapped in the second set against Ohio State.
Surprise of the Weekend: The Lions sidedout (scoring on the opponents serve 13 of 13 times against Harvard. Now that's domination.
Quotable: "I think we were kind of ready for another ranked team to beat up on." - Max Holt on the team's mindset headed into the Ohio State match.
Setters: B-: Edgardo Goas played well against Harvard (who didn't) but struggled at times against Ohio State. Freshman Tor Covello looked good in his Nittany Lion debut, delivering seven assists and had a solo block and an assisted block.
Middle Hitters: A: With Holt's 27 straight kills without an error, it was hard not to give the group of Holt, Max Lipsitz and Jon Sherrick top marks.
Outside HItters: B+: Again, with this team, there are no real areas to nitpick on, but everyone can't get an A, right?
Liberos: A. Again, when you promote someone to bad, bad man territory as we did with Dennis Del Valle (who joins Max Holt in said territory), you have to give out the A. Del Valle was all over the place against Ohio State and made some outstanding digs.
Well, we haven't been updating in awhile, but thats because we have real work to do. Anyway, Kyle Busch was taken out after Dale Jr. wrecked Brian Vickers who in turn took out the 18. I hate Dale Jr.
Back and we have a new leader, Kyle Busch's ex-teammate Tony Stewart is now in first.
'Nother yellow flag, for what I'm not sure, for all two of y'all reading, you're gonna have to wait while I go clog my arteries at Five Guys.
As I was trying to come up with stuff that geriatrics like, cops reporter Adam Clark suggested that NASCAR should have an old-timers tour. A brilliant idea, I must say.
98-year-old Mark Martin, driving the No. 5 Ensure Oldsmobile, (not his real sponsor or car) is somehow in second place behind Kyle.
I'm being ridiculed here in the office. Icers' writer Patrick McDermott and Web guru Ian Brown suggest that I write "Martin Truex Jr. turns left, Casey Mears turns left, etc." I'll ignore those city folks.
Well, hot damn, we got our first yeller as the No. 8 (not Dale Jr.) spins out.
The race is underway and Kyle Busch takes his usual spot on the track -- first place.
What a wonderful day it is for America. That's right, the NASCAR Sprint Cup season starts today with the Daytona 500.
Much to the dismay of vegan Kevin Zitzman, we're gonna live-blog this thing today. There's no sound on the TV in the office, so we can't hear this.
Myself, along with T. Wayne Johnson were the brainchild behind the Collegian Fantasy NASCAR league, titled the Winston Cup.
I have Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Terry Labonte as my drivers. I'm saving the greatest NASCAR driver in the history of the sport, Kyle Busch, for the home stretch.
Yahoo! says that the start of the race may be delayed because of rain, and with that, we'll be back.
The Lady Lions couldn't execute down the stretch as they were outscored by 26 points in the second stanza.
A devastating loss for the Lady Lions, who couldn't avenge a triple overtime loss from two weeks ago.
Penn State now sits at 9-15 on the season and has dropped two straight. The Lady Lions have had their share of tough losses in Big Ten play this season, but in front of the largest home crowd of the season, and holding an 18-point lead at one point, this may be the toughest to swallow.
Check back on the Collegian Web site for more analysis of today's game and more news on the Lady Lions.
With the shot clock winding down Ausdemore hits a 3-pointer from two feet behind the arc, giving the Hawkeyes a 59-54 lead and sending some fans to the exits.
After a great defensive possession by the Lady Lions, Iowa followed up with an offensive rebound. Still 56-54 with just under 40 to go. It will be interesting to see Washington's strategy regarding fouls in the final seconds.
1:41 to go: Iowa 56, Penn State 54
Iowa took a two point lead on a Wahlin short bank shot, and the Lady Lions have been unable to respond on three consecutive possessions, each time missing a shot from within 15 feet. 56-54 Iowa, as teh Lady Lions will get another crack at equalizing or taking the lead following a shotclock violation by the Hawkeyes.
3:57 to go Penn State 53, Iowa 52
WIth just over five and a half minutes to go Wendy Ausdemore picked up an offensive rebound of an Iowa fadeaway 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer, and finished with an easy layup giving the Hawkeyes the lead.
But the Grant-led Lady Lions responded. grant received a mashea Williams pass and drove by two defenders to put PSU back on top with an easy layup. On the ensuing posession the junior guard blocked a Smith three.
With 3:57 remaining in a one-point game, is it possible that two weeks ago's triple overtime thriller in Iowa was just a preview for this afternoon's contest?
Alexander missed the first for the Hawkeyes, who continue to trail by one, but are shutting Grant down offensively, forcing her into consecutive turnovers.
7:10 to go: penn State 51, Iowa 50
The Lady Lions are struggling from the floor and Iowa couldn't be any hotter. It is nowa one-point game, as Kristi Smith has put up 21 points for the Hawkeyes who once trailed 47-29. The Hawkeyes will be at the line for a one-and-one after the TV timeout with a chance to take their first lead since 3-2.
Washington was receiving contributions from eight players during the first half, and so she went to a rotation. She has stayed with the rotation in the second half, but mostly because she is receiving few contributions from any of those eight players, and is looking for a spark. Grant has just four points this half.
10:08 to go: Penn State 49, Iowa 41
The Hawkeyes have cut Penn State's lead to 8, opening the second half on a 16-8 run. Iowa, although still in a 2-3 zone, has outrebounded Penn State 16-10 so far this half.
Coquese Washington called a pair of timeouts, but they have done nothing to stop the Lady Lions' sloppy play so far this period. After Iowa cut the lead to six by going on a 12-0 run, Brianne O'Rourke hit a bank-shot runner in the lane to increase the lead back to eight.
What was once a laugher for the Lady Lions has turned into another close Big Ten matchup.
15:36 to go: Penn State 47, Iowa 31
Iowa Center Megan Skouby was been held scoreless until the 15:42 mark of the second half, as the Lady Lions have continued to put pressure on the Hawkeyes. The senior center came into the game averaging 13 points.
Kristi Smith has 19 of the Hawkeyes' 31 points, but just went to the bench with her third foul. Grant's 22 continues to lead all scorers. She is 11 away from equaling her career high.
After an interesting rendition of "Row Row Row Your Boat" by the entire crowd (everyone was given kazoos upon entrance), the two teams have taken to the floor in preparation for the second half.
Each kazoo came with a written notice to not use during the game, citing the fact that the Lady Lions would likely receive a technical foul. The half time song sounded like a chorus of 8,000 bees singing a classic childrens song.
But the halftime ceremony for Pink Zone was certainly a special moment as about a hundred cancer survivors poured onto the court and were applauded with a standing ovation.
HALF: Penn State 41, Iowa 23
Grant's 20 points have led the Lady Lions to a xx point lead in what has been arguably their best half of the season. Penn State left the court to a standing ovation of supporters dressed in pink and sporting pink Lady Lion hats.
Washington has made it a point to constantly sub today, giving her players short breaks during the contest, and giving freshmen Renee Womack and Zhaque Gray a chance to play, and each of them has contributed to the 18-point lead.
The main difference in the game has been rebounding, as the Lady Lions have posted as many offensive boards as Iowa has total rebounds with 13. It will be interesting to see if Iowa coach Lisa Bluder will remain in her 2-3 zone that has not been able to box out or close out on the Lady Lions' 3-point shooters.
3:34 to go first half: Penn State 31, Iowa 20
The bank is open for Gray, who responded to a Smith 3-pointer with one of her own off the glass. Gray is seeing significant first half minutes for Washington's squad, and has three points and an assist and a rebound.
Fellow freshman Renee Womack has scored four points, as the Lady Lions bench is playing a significant role in the early going. Womack's put the Lady Lions up 11 with an athletic tip-in of an O'Rourke missed layup.
In the last few possessions the game has turned into a 3-point shooting and rebounding contest-- as you would expect from a pair of packed-in 2-3 zones. Both teams are shooting above 35 percent from beyond the arc, but the Lady Lions have outrebounded the hawkeyes 24-11 so far, explaining the majority of their 11-point lead.
7:40 to go first half: Penn State 20, Iowa 15
Tyra Grant has exploded for 14 points as the Lady Lions have jumped out to a five-point lead. Grant, who set a career high with 33 points against the Hawkeyes on Feb. 1 is 4-for-6 from behind the arc early on.
11:57 To Go First Half: Penn State 12, Iowa 10
Washington has stuck with the philosophy of quick substitutions having already gotten eight players into the lineup and given every player at least a minute of rest. The Lady Lions have spread their scoring out among five different players, while Kristi Smith has five points for the Hawkeyes. Both teams are in 2-3 zones and are not pressuring the ball, but as teh final 12 minutes begin Penn State has come out in a full court press.
13:57 To Go First Half: Penn State 9, Iowa 8
The Lady Lions have surrendered a pair of open 3-pointers early in their 2-3 zone, but thanks to some out-of character offensive rebounding by Penn State, take a one-point lead into the first TV timeout.
Washington has started the game by making four substitutions in the game's first four minutes, entering Zhaque Gray and Julia Trogele for Brianne O'Rourke and Janessa Wolff about three minutes in, and then switching back.
In what appears to be the largest crowd of the season, the Bryce Jordan Center has been colored pink for today's "Pink Zone" game between the Lady Lions and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Hey folks, it's AJ Cassavell, here to bring you all the action from high above the southern sideline.
This year's Pink Zone at Penn State takes on a special meaning, just weeks removed from the death of NC State head Coach Kay Yow to breast cancer. Funds from todays game will go toward beating the disease, and Happy Valley residents have come through showing up to support the cause (and their women's basketball team as well.)
The Lady Lions sit at 9-14, while Iowa is at 15-9. But despite the difference in records, just two weeks ago today the Lady Lions pushed the Hawkeyes to three overtimes in a 97-89 loss. While the team has said it isn't looking for revenge-- rather for a victory, it is hard to forget such a disappointing loss that happened so recently.
Both teams are wearing Pink -- Penn State with pink jerseys and white letters and lining, and Iowa the opposite. The curtains have been taken down for today's game, which has filled most of the first level and some sections of the upper deck.
Here are the starters:
Smith and Skouby lead the Hawkeyes with 13 points per game, while Alexander is averaging nine points and eight boards.
After a ceremonial opening tap with a pink ball to be bid upon later, the game is underway with Iowa winning the jump ball.
Thank you, Donnee Gray, Dan Chrisman and Steve Skiles. We've grown so tired of watching Penn State coach Ed DeChellis show no emotion on the sideline with his 'hand-on-cheek while in a catcher's stance' position that we have decided to take the time to show our love for getting the head coach a lil riled up Saturday afternoon.
Even if the players didn't like the touchy-feely calls on V-day (Stanley Pringle said after the game a lot of the fouls called were B.S) I actually got goosebumps watching DeChellis hound the official after Jamelle Cornley or Andrew Jones got whistled for traveling.
Y'all even got Orlando "Tubby" Smith to stomp his feet after an apparent no call on Talor Battle.
"It seemed like the walk was the call of the night in the first half," DeChellis said after the game. "I thought they were giving out free ice cream at the Creamery or something."
On the more serious side of things, senior guard Danny Morrissey re-aggravated his knee at Purdue last week. DeChellis gave Morrissey the option to practice on Friday, but if he couldn't go, DeChellis needed to know in order to get freshmen Chris Babb and Cammeron Woodyard ready to play Saturday.
The two combined for 15 points in the 68-63 win against the Golden Gophers.
Morrissey's status is day-to-day. With the team off on Sunday, that gives Morrissey essentially three days off. DeChellis hopes to get him practicing Monday or Tuesday.
Being alone for Single's Awareness Day isn't so S.A.D. after all.
Tonight, as most of you basketball junkies know, is the one annual event that even non-hoops fans can look forward to: the Slam Dunk Contest.
So instead of going out and spending wayyy too much money on someone else, I'll be happily sitting at home, taking in all of the action as "Superman" looks for a way to top last year's performance. (Sorry, Nate Robinson. You don't have a chance if Howard gets the rims raised as once proposed.)
For now, I'll leave you all with State College's superhero, Talor Battle, who's doing his best Superman impersonation along with younger brother and highly-touted prep prospect Taran Buie.
If the rumors are true, we could be seeing more of these two together, as supposedly their mother, Denise, is contemplating a family move to State College. Could be good news for the Nits.
One thing I've noticed is that it seems from my perspective that Edgardo's sets have been a little off tonight. He's still running the offense much better than in early January but every once in awhile a couple get away from him.
Penn State is starting to really take control of this set and has opened a 24-15 lead over Ohio State.
Sweitzer heads to the bench as Sherrick hits the court. He earned it, heck of a game from the man they call "Sweitz."
The Lions are closing in on the victory, leading 27-19. With that, Stauffer enters for Lipsitz and goes back to serve.
The Lions have this one all but wrapped up, two points away from victory.
Another hitting error by Ohio State pushes it to match point and the crowd rises for Sweitzer's serve. Ohio State fires it out again and Penn State takes the match 3-0.
Thanks everyone for sticking around and this is Tom Kinslow signing out.
Penn State still holds a firm handle on this first set, leading 12-7 and Holt keeps the kills coming. Other than his service errors, Holt has had a pretty good night and for that matter, last three matches.
Dennis Del Valle has officially entered bad, bad man territory with an utterly amazing diving dig to keep the play alive, setting up a Sweitzer kill.
In a bit of hilarity, Sweitzer went up for a kill and with his left hand on Liptsitz's back shoved him under the net for a violation. Lipsitz just laughed and shrugged his shoulders as the Lions set up.
Penn State now leads 18-13 and Sweitzer fires his second service ace and the team's third to extend the Lion lead.
Sweitzer felt the first one was so good, he decided to give the Penn State faithful and encore and fired home another ace to push the lead to 20-13 Penn State.
Ohio State calls a timeout and timeout time = free t-shirt time and the crowd goes wild. Again, it's a recession.
Penn State has opened up on a roll and has taken a 4-1 lead on a Lipsitz kill. Sunder also had a big kill in that sequence but his valentine was not there to see it. Love hurts sometimes I suppose.
Sunder fires a kill home on a decent volley just in time for his valentine to return and wave her sign.
Penn State is playing much more crisp in this third set and has taken an 8-4 lead and a timeout comes from the Buckeye bench.
4,170 are in attendance tonight, by far the largest crowd of the season, easily topping last night's then-season high 1726.
Some stats from the second set: Holt actually did have a hitting error this set but I'm not sure at what point his streak ended I'm not sure. We'll be sure to point it out in our wrap-up.
Penn State hit .424 in the second set, which was .230 lower than the first set. Penn State now has 11 service errors for the match, six of which came in the second set.
Ryan Sweitzer and Will Price lead the team with nine kills a piece.
A service error by the Buckeyes sends us to the intermission and ends the set 30-27 for Penn State. Kind of anti-climatic if you ask me.
Del Valle with yet another impressive save. He was falling backwards and swatted it with his hand to keep it alive. However, the Buckeyes walked away with the point on a Penn State touch.
The Lions push it to set point on another kill by Holt, who I believe his streak is still intact.
Another service error by the Lions, a major weakness tonight for Penn State. The Buckeyes are on a roll and have forced set point number three. The set has been cut to 29-27 as a violation by Penn State gives the Buckeyes the point and a timeout is called by Pavlik who is settling his team down on the bench.
An impressive volley by both teams finishes with a massive Will Price kill that sends the Penn State crowd into a frenzy and some to their feet.
Dennis Del Valle is entering bad, bad man territory. He has had some impressive digs tonight, including one that was fired out of a cannon directly at him.
"He is too good." - My esteemed colleague Michael Oplinger.
Ohio State has managed to keep the set close and only trail by two, 25-23 before its second service error in as many tries.
Sunder hammers home another kill, and his prospective valentine waves her sign in approval. The Lions lead 27-23.
Still no answers from Penn State out of the timeout. But as I type that, Sunder fires a kill square off the chest of a Buckeye defender, which no doubt pleased his biggest fan with the hot pink sign.
Penn State has just tied the set at 17 with the kill by Goas, who faked the set and flipped it over the net. That has become somewhat of a signature move for Goas this season.
What looked to be a Buckeye point has just swing in the favor of the Lions. The Buckeyes were not pleased with the call and had a rather lengthy chat with the officials about it. Now the lead has gone to Penn State and lengthened by another Sweitzer kill. The Lions lead 21-19 and a timeout is called from the Buckeye bench as Rock And Roll Part 2 fills Rec Hall.
Service errors are rampant for the Lions tonight. Sweitzer fired his serve directly into the heart of the net. By my count, that was the eight service error by the Lions of the night, as many as they had all of last night against Harvard. The match is tied at eight-all.
This set is much closer than the second. The two teams are tied at 13 and are trading points back and fourth.
Ohio State has taken a slight two point, 15-13 advantage and Pavlik calls a timeout. He's not saying much to his team as a whole but there is a discussion between Pavlik and a visibly frustrated Will Price, who was waving his arms around as Pavlik leaned over him. Pavlik just addressed his team as a unit and the Lions head back onto the court.
Some stats from the first set. The Lions hit .654 in the first set while the Buckeyes hit .333. Penn State also sided out (scoring a point while the other team has the serve) 19 of 20 times.
Also, Max Holt, who came into the match 22 for his last 22 on his kills is 4-4 tonight.
However, Holt has struggled with his serve and just hit his third service error of the night and the Lions lead 2-1.
Sweitzer is red hot tonight. He was 7-7 on kills in the first set and hammers another home to tie the match at four.
Penn State is starting to assert its dominance and has opened a six point, 23-17 lead, with Sweitzer helping lead the way. The lovely people who run the videoboards are Rec Hall do now have the stats up on the board but I'd believe he leads the Lions in kills so far tonight.
Penn State has pulled away in this first set, leading 27-18 and the Lions are starting to get on a roll. Edgardo is running the offense with ease and seems to be hitting all the right buttons.
Penn State pushes it to set point on a kill by Lipsitz that almost sends two Buckeye defenders flying into each other. The Buckeyes send a kill flying over the court and the Lions take the first set. 30-20.
Penn State has taken a slight edge now and leads Ohio State 12-9, leading to a timeout from the Buckeye bench. Coach Mark Pavlik is giving some pointers to Will Price who just inhaled some Gatorade on the bench.
Will Price is fired up. He just hammered a kill at the feet of a Buckeye defender and I think he just Hulked up like Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania.
Penn State still holds an early advantage, leading 18-14 in this first set. This is by far the best crowd in terms of noise we've seen all year, and there are no free t-shirts being waved around, so you know it's good.
Another time out from the Buckeyes as Penn State leads 21-16 and now a cowbell is out, courtesy of the Nittany Lion and three other members of the Blue Band. That's three cowbells too many.
Crowd is quite hype for this match. A packed house tonight and a We Are chant was going pretty strong. However Holt cannot keep the crowd live with a service error.
A back-and forth affair early for the two squads. Errors are the story very early on for Penn State. Two service errors and a hitting error for the Lions and Ohio State leads 5-4. Perhaps there's just a little bit of jitters Penn State has to work out of its system.
Early on, it looks like Ohio State is by far the best team we've seen the Lions face personally. It's tied early on at 8-all.
There's actually a couple of signs in the crowd tonight. One says "Pass Set Unstoppable. Another says Full Throttle Diesel, which I have no idea why it says that. Joe Sunder also evidently has a female fan out there in the crowd. There's a hot pink sign that has Sunder's name on it. How sweet.
The banner is now being raised to the rafters after a pretty cool video presentation of nothing but vicious kills by the Lions and the trophy celebration from last year when the Lions returned home to Happy Valley.
Dennis Del Valle
Note: Sunder tried to hit his would-be valentine with the free t-shirt but it was promptly intercepted by some guy in front of her, who in my estimation was a little too excited for the freebie.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. This is Tom Kinslow coming to you live once again from the press box above Rec Hall where your top-ranked Nittany Lions are getting set to take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State.
Quite the large crowd is setting in and the Blue Band is in attendance tonight for this big matchup for Penn State. The 2008 Championship banner is going to be raised to the rafters shortly which should get the Lions and this crowd fired up.
On a side note, I hope everyone is having a good Valentine's Day despite the snowy weather (Remember when it was 60 degrees earlier this week?). So grab your significant other, get close to a computer and keep that cursor on the refresh button as we bring you our insights from Rec Hall.
Minnesota comes away empty on its next possession, and Cornley heads to the line for two free throws.
OK, one last look at our keys to the game.
Battle and Pringle score more than 30 points. Battle led all Penn State scorers with 21. Pringle had all 13 in the second half.
Westbrook was held to just 4 points. But Joseph was a big surprise scoring 23. He came in averaging 4.6 ppg.
Penn State shot 43 percent from the field.
Eh, two outta three ain't bad.
Minnesota substitutions: 26
Cornley sinks a free throw to put the Lions up five with one second left. That should seal the deal. Penn State snaps its three-game losing streak.
PSU 68, Minn. 63
Iverson fouls Jackson going up for a lay-in after a nice feed from Battle. Jackson converts on both.
Minnesota substitutions: 25
Battle picks Joseph's pocket and takes it coast-to-coast and a chance for a 3-point play after Joseph fouls Battle.
Jones grabbed the rebound after Battle's miss, and Johnson has to foul Battle to put him on the line for two more.
37.5 seconds left
PSU 62, Minn. 56
Minnesota Substitutions: 23
Battle drills a deeeep three from the far wing, tying the score at 56, moments after Nittany Nation encourages the rest of the crowd to "Stand-Up."
1:58 left 2nd half
PSU 56, Minn. 56
Maybe we'll get to see some OT. Penn State has yet to play an extra five minutes all season.
Joseph hits a three to give the Gophers the lead back. Pringle checks in with 6:16 left. He can't afford to pick up a foul, or else he's done.
Tubby stomping his feet so loud at an apparent no-call, I could hear his steps up on press row. If I can, Battle definitely could've, and two seconds later, drilled a 3 at the top of the key. Joseph just buried another 3-point shot. He's doing it all for the Gophers at this point. He's got a game-high 17 points.
Pringle heads back to the line after a Busch foul.
3:43 left 2nd half
Minn. 56, PSU 53
Minnesota substitutions: 21
Extended stoppage of play after the officials got together after a hard foul by Cornley. After the discussion, they just hit him with his second personal foul.
Iverson gets a put back to give Minnesota the lead. Babb at the line shooting a pair. Penn State hasn't struggled at the line at all this afternoon, and being in the double bonus could be the difference when it's all said and done.
7:30 left 2nd half
Minn. 50, PSU 50
Nolen and Joseph drill back-to-back 3's. Penn State's offense couldn't get any decent shot. Babb heads to the line after a Joseph foul. He misses the 1-and-1, and the Gophers get another 3 from Joseph.
8:16 left 2nd half
PSU 48, Minn. 48
Babb picks up where Pringle left off, hitting a 3 from the top of the key.
10:02 left 2nd half
PSU 48, Minn. 39
Minnesota substitutions: 19
Pringle sinks both free throws to extend the lead to nine. Joseph picks off a Battle pass, then hits a 3. Pringle just picked up his fourth foul on Carter. Babb checks in for Pringle. This could spell trouble for the Lions. Pringle almost single handedly gave the Lions its lead.
Minnesota substitutions: 16
Jones is working his butt off trying to keep Sampson III from getting good position down low but gets whistled for the foul.
Minnesota substitutions: 15
12:17 left 2nd half
PSU 41, Minn. 34
Jones pulled down the rebounds and appeared to get bear hugged, but no whistle blew until Nolen picked up a foul on Pringle. Minnesota is already at the foul limit with 11:53 left.
Blake Hoffarber hits a 3 for the Gophers in response to Battle's triple. Hoffarber is best known for this
Pringle hits a 3 on the other side of the media timeout to put the Lions back up seven. That was Pringle's firs bucket of the game. Let's see if he and Battle can get in rhythm. As I type that, Pringle dials it from long range again. Suddenly, my 30-point minimum for the Lions' backcourt seems within reach.
Three in a row from downtown for Pringle. Battle drove, kicked it out to Pringle, who pump-faked, side-stepped, then drilled it for his 9th point.
13:31 left 2nd half
PSU 41, Minn. 32
Minnesota substitutions: 14
Westbrook gets the scoring going for the Gophers with a mid range jumper that gets a shooter's roll.
Minnesota going into a 2-3 zone here in the second half.
Minnesota substitutions: 13
Minnesota goes back to man and Jackson drives and finished with a tough lay-in. Battle hits a 3 from the top of the key. Next possession, Battle drives, gets hit, and finishes for a chance at a 3-point play. Penn State has the largest of the game for any team
16:48 left 2nd half
PSU 32, Minn. 25
I hate to play devil's advocate, because this is a much needed win, but Penn State is playing awful. It's not getting any rhythm on the offense. Its 11 turnovers are right around its average for a single game.
Battle is still in a funk. He's 1-for-6 from the field and has just one rebound and one assist on his line as well.
My guess is Minnesota will not shoot below 30 percent for the game, meaning Penn State has got to figure out a way to score. Just a few observations on my end: When the Lions set a screen, they don't seem to screen a man. Instead they screen a spot, and the Minnesota defender can avoid the screen too easily. This may seem minor, and the Lion player coming off the screen is at fault for not running his man into the screen, but this type of thing can screw up an offensive set and take away an open look.
Babb got a steal at about mid court with 3 seconds left. Instead of jacking up a half court bomb, Babb finds Battle wide open on the near wing. Battle swishes the 3 as time expires.
Just got word on Morrissey from SID Brian Siegrist. Morrissey's knee flared up at Purdue. He's listed as day-to-day and be back for Wednesday's game at Illinois.
PSU 24, Minn. 23
Let's review our keys to the game.
Penn State is shooting just 36 percent from the field. In a normal game, this probably spells a double digit deficit. But the Gophers are shooting 28 percent. In fairness, they did shoot better than 60 percent the last game against Penn State.
Westbrook has just two points on 1-for-4 shooting.
Battle and Pringle have combined for just five points. Pringle has a goose egg next to his name. And remember, Battle hit a buzzer-beater.
On the other hand, Babb and Woodyard combined for 10 points of Penn State 13 bench points. Minnesota, who had 47 bench points in the last game against the Lions on Jan. 11, have just six.
Westbrook gets called for the third cradling violation of the game. Minnesota keeps doubling Cornley on the interior and it forcing Cornley into some tough passes
Minnesota substitutions: 12
1:06 left 1st half
Minn. 23, PSU 21
Minnesota has just three field goals. They are 10-for-10 from the foul line.
Danny Morrissey is in street clothes sitting halfway down the bench.
Woodyard has seven points, tied for the game lead. Westbrook drives the middle of the lane and gets his first basket of the game.
Babb drills a three from the wing. The scoring is starting to pick up a bit, Travis Busch hits a lay-in at the other end.
2:57 left 1st half
PSU 21, Minn. 21
Ed DeChellis is probably down to his last straw before getting hit with a technical. He's in the ear of the official after every call. On the other hand, at least he's showing a little bit of emotion out there.
Devoe Joseph gets whistled for cradling. This is just an ugly half of basketball. My bet is Penn State doesn't crack 30 points in a half for the sixth straight time.
Woodyard's shot again gets a friendly roll. Penn State leads it 16-15, but Pringle's second foul puts Nolen at the line for two.
Minnesota substitution: 10
Johnson hits a pair at the line to push a team into double digits. The Gophers showing some pressure in the backcourt, and it's making Penn State a little uncomfortable.
The walking fest continues. Woodyard hits a three that rattles around the rim, shoots up, then drops in.
The crowd giving an earful to the officials after a Pringle foul.
7:33 left 1st half
PSU 12, Minn. 11
Penn State is probably playing its best defense of the year. But it's also playing its worst offense of the year. Brooks swishes a 3 from the top of the key after good ball movement. Nolen answers next possession with a 3 of his own.
I think Minnesota only scored after Penn State did. That's taking setting the tempo to a whole new level.
9:00 left 1st half
PSU 9, Minn. 9
Battle gave a nice pass to Jackson down on the low block but Johnson came from behind to snuff Jackson.
Minnesota substitutions: 8
It's hard to say if this is good defense or awful offense. Sampson III answers a Cornley deuce to keep the squads deadlocked at six.
11:21 left 1st half
PSU 6, Minn. 6
There are as many turnovers as points scored in this game. If you're in your dorm contemplating hitting the snooze button or rushing over to the BJC, I'd say come here. This game will put you to sleep anyway. At least you get to see the Lionettes.
Paul Carter drives center and draws a foul on Cornley. Jones corrals a Pringle misfire from 3 and ties the score at four.
Pringle drives past the defense but Jones can't handle the pass as it goes right through his hands and out of bounds.
Minnesota substitutions: 7
Nine combined turnovers for both teams. Paul Carter gets a tip-in to knot the score at two.
Minnesota substitution: 3
15:14 left 1st half
PSU 2, Minn. 2
Jones gets a quick rebound and outlets to Battle who races down court and draws a foul . It took Battle just 28 seconds to get in the box score today. He was scoreless last game against Purdue.
Battle matched up on Nolen, Pringle is guarding Westbrook. Nolen is one of the better defenders in the league. Both teams just getting a feel for each other in the early stages. Cornley's had a couple travels. Iverson got whistled for an offensive foul for an elbow. Now Nolen gets called for cradling the basketball.
Gopher coach Tubby Smith sends two reserves in, now.
Minnesota substitutions: 2
Minnesota doubling Cornley down low on his touches. Cornley gets an offensive rebound and gets called for his third traveling violation is less than four minutes.
This afternoon's lineups.
F 50 Ralph Sampson III
F 34 Damian Johnson
C 45 Colton Iverson
G 20 Lawrence Westbrook
G 0 Al Nolen
F 2 Jamelle Cornley
F 15 D.J. Jackson
C 22 Andrew Jones
G 11 Stanley Pringle
G 12 Talor Battle
Yes, Sampson III is related to former Virginia big man Ralph Sampson. No, Iverson is not related to Detroit Piston guard Allen Iverson. I don't think the Answer is from Yankton, South Dakota.
This is Nate Mink taking y'all through the Nittany Lions' game with the Golden Gophers. Last time these two got together, Minnesota made all nine 3-point attempts and handed the Lions their worst loss of the season, 79-59. The Gophers shot 62 percent from the field, while the Lions shot 37 percent.
That said, I'm gonna put my soothe-saying skills to the test.
In order for the Nittany Lions to win ...
1. Penn State must shoot 45 percent.
2. Hold Gopher guard Lawrence Westbrook below 15 points. Westbrooks averages 12.7 ppg.
3. Battle and Pringle must combine for a minimum of 30 points. Minnesota goes about 13 deep, giving it plenty of fresh legs to constantly rotate in to wear down the Lions' dynamic backcourt.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans it's Tom and Mike here again with another installment of the Penn State Pre. This week the Nittany Lions head back into Rec Hall for the second time in as many days to take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The Lions are coming off an utter smackdown of Harvard last night and are looking to keep the good times rolling with another convincing win.
First Meeting: 1978
All Time: 60-22
Last Time: January 9, 2009. Penn State 3-0 (30-27, 30-24, 30-19)
Mike: After dominating Harvard last night, Penn State faces a tougher matchup versus Ohio State. The teams met in the NCAA Semifinal last spring and again in the Outrigger Invitational in Hawaii earlier this year.
A non-conference opponent, Ohio State should match up physically with the Nittany Lions, so the Lions can't afford to lose focus if they are going to extend their winning streak.
This game should be the best home match for the Lions all year. Since the Big Ten Network won't be airing the match for some illogical reason, fans should come out to this match. Plus the Lions will raise the national championship banner before the match.
What to Look For: If Ohio State coach Pete Hanson wears sweater vests like his football coaching colleague.
Player of the Match: Joe Sunder. He has displayed tons of athletic ability but can be wildly inconsistent. I see this as one of his big nights.
Tom: I can't stress enough how badly Penn State beat Harvard last night. They were bigger, stronger, faster and just blew Harvard off the court. A couple of Harvard's players just sat on the court following the match. I'm not sure they even knew what just hit them.
It just feels like the Lions are starting to figure it all out and every other team in the nation should take notice because the Lions have lost one set all season while working in a new setter in Edgardo Goas. Penn State has weapons all over the court and it isn't afraid to use them.
Look for Penn State to win this match, but not with the same ease that it showed against Harvard.
What To Look For: The Lions 2008 championship banner in Rec Hall's rafters.
Player of the Game: Max Holt. Notice a pattern? Holt is red hot right now. Over the last two matches (Springfield, Harvard) Holt has 22 kills with zero hitting errors. That would be a perfect 1.000 ladies and gentleman. I'm sticking with the hot hand.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-26, 30-24, 30-27)
Hey y'all Penn State men's volleyball fans, Mike here to take you through this lovely Friday evening match with the Crimson of Harvard. As you read in our previous post, Harvard comes in at 2-2, 1-1 EIVA. The Crimson offense is guided by setter Gil Weintraub who dishes to middle hitter Brady Weissbourd and opposite Nikola Ivica.
Penn State enters at 8-0, 4-0 EIVA after dismantling Springfield last week. A balanced offense and solid defense paces the Lions.
A slightly larger than normal crowd is filtering in
I didn't think an Illinois/Northwestern game would hold me up on a Thursday night, but it almost did.
The No. 22 Illini entered Evanston, Ill., looking to move into second place of the Big Ten while the Wildcats were just trying to get to .500 in the conference.
The fact that it was almost a neutral-site game because of the traveling Illinois fans didn't exactly work out in Northwestern's favor, either.
But you could imagine how shocked I was as Northwestern persisted, steadily building its lead throughout the contest as I debated whether or not to go out.
Once the lead reached 14 with under six minutes left, I could no longer ignore my friends.
After all, a 14-point Northwestern lead is like the equivalent of a 30-point lead because of the Wildcats' style of play.
So when I got home late and read the BottomLine on ESPN, I figured I had one too many Nattys in me. Turns out, that wasn't the case, as Illinois somehow stormed back by ending the game on a 17-2 run to come out with the last-second win.
Oh, how this Big Ten season never ceases to amaze.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans it's Tom and Mike here again with another installment of the Penn State Pre. This week the Nittany Lions are back in Happy Valley for a weekend set, leading off with Harvard.
First Meeting: 2000
All Time: Penn State 2-0
Last Time: EIVA Championship Quarterfinals: Penn State 3-0 (30-17, 30-23, 30-15)
Mike: Penn State welcomes EIVA Hay Division opponent Harvard to Rec Hall in a warm-up match for Saturday's date with Ohio State. The Nittany Lions are coming off their most dominant victory of the young season and might be starting to click offensively.
The Crimson travel to Happy Valley, coming off a 3-2 win over East Stroudsburg. Harvard is 2-2 so far this year but is yet another D-III opponent for the Lions.
The two matches the teams have played have not been close and expect the same from this one. Penn State should take advantage of their size and dominate this match.
What to Look For: Harvard players studying on the bench.
Player of the Match: Edgardo Goas. I see this as the week where the offense finally clicks and Goas is the center of it all.
I still vividly remember attending Robbie's first game as an Oriole, Opening Day in 1996. Bill Clinton threw out the first pitch and the Royals turned a triple play, but the Orioles ended up winning. A pretty memorable day for a seven-year old.
It's those type of memories that I associate with Alomar that make today's news so disappointing to me. Alomar's health is apparently in bad shape, as he supposedly has full-blown AIDS, but his father, the Mets' first-base coach Sandy Alomar, had no idea his son had full-blown AIDS. There is more to the story obviously, as it seems to me that full-blown AIDS would be difficult to hide from your family.
If this is true, it's obviously a horrible story, but I just hope that this woman isn't trying to eaxct some type of revenge on Alomar.
Another week, another top ranking for Penn State. The Nittany Lions again received all 16 first place votes.
The Lions have held the top spot in the poll since Mar. 17, 2008.
(Shameless plug alert: Check out my story in Wednesday's Collegian to see what the team thinks of the rankings.)
With only some minor flip-flopping of teams in the 5-10 range, the biggest mover of the week was George Mason. The Patriots were not ranked last week and jumped up to No. 11. The Patriots were also the last team to beat the Lions.
1. Penn State (16) 240 8-0 1
2. Pepperdine 220 6-0 2
3. UC Irvine 204 10-2 3
4. Cal State Northridge 193 8-2 4
5. Southern California 178 7-2 5
6. UCLA 152 6-5 8
7. Long Beach State 148 5-4 7
8. Stanford 133 6-5 6
9. BYU 103 5-6 9
10. Hawai'i 99 3-6 11
11. George Mason 62 4-1 NR
12. UC Santa Barbara 57 3-7 10
13. UC San Diego 42 4-6 15
14. Ohio State 38 5-5 12
15. Lewis 30 5-2 14
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Ball State 17
Throughout my life, I have been accused of the crime of living vicariously through my sports heroes, and I must admit, I often do this.
Nothing thrills me more than watching Nick Markakis deposit a fastball in the right-centerfield bleachers at Camden Yards, or seeing do-it-all Paul Harris posterize an opposing defender with a sweet dunk.
But when it comes to living vicariously through sports heroes, nothing compares to golf. Why do I love watching golf? Because I can actually play it! Not nearly as well as the pros, but it's a lot easier for me to relate to my golf heroes than to other athletes (and yes, golfers are athletes).
The PGA Tour is bringing its vicarious living potential to new heights this week with one of my favorite events of the season: The Pebble Beach Pro-Am. In this tournament, amateurs (some of them celebrities) are paired with a pro, with the top 60 pros and 25 pro-am teams making the cut.
Getting to see the celebrities (who most of the time are average golfers at best) is always enjoyable. And I always like seeing golfers with marginal skills get a chance to play on TV.
Watching the pros play at Pebble Beach also brings back memories of my younger days, when I used to play the greatest golf video game of all-time. That game pummels any of the more modern Tiger Woods video games.
While there will be some big names on the golfing side this week, including Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, and the sweetest swing in golf, Fred Couples, the attention will mostly be focused on the celebrities.
Among the celebrities slated to play are Pebble Beach favorites Kevin James, Bill Murray and David Putty (a.k.a. Patrick Warburton).
It's not Thanksgiving, but I have something to be thankful for. I'm thankful for the fact that I don't live in the city of Pittsburgh, though my town borders the city. Why am I thankful that I don't live in the city?
That douchey-looking guy next to Snoop Dogg is Pittsburgh "mayor" Luke Ravenstahl, famous for being the youngest mayor of a major city and also for changing his name to Steelerstahl before the AFC championship.
Hey, look, there he is at the BodyBuilding.com Super Bowl party:
Of course, he'll probably be re-elected because he did change his name to Steelerstahl.
Talor Battle, arguably this season's Big Ten player of the year, was left off the list of 17 (!) finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top point guard.
It makes no sense to me that they can have four players below the Division I level on the list while snubbing the Big Ten's leading scorer and one of its top playmakers.
Maybe it's just a thing against the conference, as Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was left off the list as well.
Patrick Mills of Saint Mary's, who may not even play again this season, made the list though, so take it for what it's worth.
Devan Dumes acted classless in Indiana's loss at Michigan State Saturday, and IU coach Tom Crean is doing right by suspending his (only) star player for an indefinite period and holding him accountable for his actions.
This column by Bob Kravitz, however, at least does a good job of putting everything into perspective for Dumes and other college athletes forced to shoulder so much at such a young age.
Sorry for being a day late on this, but no big changes as UConn remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll released yesterday.
Michigan State moved back into the Top 10, coming in at No. 9, while Purdue dropped eight spots to No. 20 after suffering a pair of losses last week.
Illinois is up a spot to No. 22, while Ohio State snuck back in at No. 24.
Minnesota dropped out of this week's poll after dropping a pair of games last week as the No. 19 team in the country.
For what it's worth, Penn State received a pair of votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll. I'm betting they were from a pair of coaches whose teams already lost to the Nits.
AP Top 25 Poll
1. Connecticut (67) 22-1 1,795 1
2. Oklahoma (3) 23-1 1,710 2
3. North Carolina (2) 21-2 1,672 3
4. Pittsburgh 21-2 1,583 6
5. Louisville 18-4 1,423 5
6. Duke 20-3 1,350 4
7. Wake Forest 18-3 1,242 7
8. Memphis 20-3 1,237 14
9. Michigan St. 19-4 1,214 13
10. Marquette 20-3 1,137 8
11. UCLA 19-4 1,131 15
12. Clemson 19-3 1,097 10
13. Villanova 19-4 989 17
14. Xavier 20-3 893 9
15. Butler 21-2 762 11
16. Kansas 19-4 751 21
17. Missouri 20-4 395 --
18. Arizona St. 18-5 389 24
19. Gonzaga 17-5 361 18
20. Purdue 17-6 353 12
21. Utah St. 23-1 317 25
22. Illinois 19-5 303 23
23. Syracuse 18-6 280 20
24. Ohio St. 17-5 216 --
25. Florida St. 18-5 182 --
Others receiving votes: LSU 167, Washington 135, Texas 106, Florida 66, Minnesota 43, Dayton 31, California 16, Kansas St. 8, West Virginia 8, Davidson 7, Miami 7, South Carolina 7, Arizona 4, Utah 4, Northeastern 2, San Diego St. 2, Siena 2, Boston College 1, Robert Morris 1, Wis.-Green Bay 1.
For more than 30 minutes, the latest to get caught with his hand in the cookie jar gave his best shot at a "mea culpa."
Plastered on nearly every ESPN outlet was Alex Rodriguez admitting to using Performance Enhancing Drugs from 2001 to 2003, when he was with the Texas Rangers. The Yankee third baseman was looking his best, albeit a little orangey, as he pursed his lips and made fishy faces in between Peter Gammons' questions.
Now what did we learn from this heart-to-heart, boys and girls? Well, that the time span in which he took the banned substance was "pretty accurate." And that he was under pressure to succeed, naive aaanndd...oh man, what was that other word? Oh yeah, stupid.
A-Rod said he is the only one responsible for his mistakes, but he seemed to point the finger at the culture of the time. There was no punishment for steroids back then, so any number of things could have triggered a positive test. He said he still doesn't know what he was guilty of taking. Kinda sounds like Mr. Bonds claiming he didn't know what was being injected into his body. Rrriiigghhhtttt.
Believe him or not, you can't take baseball players for their word anymore. As for Rodriguez, it's hard to believe he was that stupid. Plus, there are sources saying he knew of his positive test for the past few years. Meaning he lied to Katie Couric last year. Who lies to Katie Couric anyway? Another strike against Rodriguez (pun intended) is the timing of this confession. He's learned from the mistakes of Clemens and Bonds who are still denying their alleged usage. One point for his PR man to convince him to come clean. Andy Pettitte took a similar road and is certainly the better for it now.
Aside from the criticisms, there are some props in order for A-Rod. Since 2003, he's been tested "8-10" times and as far as we know, those results were negative. Kinda surprising since he seems to be bogged down with the pressure of playing in New York. Also, Rodriguez deserves some credit for being "open" about his situation. We'll probably never know what's true and what's not, but at least he's talking. He admitted to his wrongdoings and his legacy will pay for it. Some will say it's just because the news is out, but I don't think that makes it all that much easier. There were several moments, he was getting a little choked up in his responses...especially when facing the reality that a lot of his fans will never see him the same way again.
There are several gradings of this interview in the web world, but the question remains, "What now?" Does he deserve to be a Hall of Famer? Even if he fessed up? Does this mean other players will come out or does this mean everyone is doing it or did at one time?
I've never been a huge fan of Alex Rodriguez, but I'm willing to give him credit for coming clean. Hopefully he learned from his mistakes and stopped when he said he did. I might just be like any other baseball fan...just hoping there's an end to this. But then again, we're reminded there are 103 more names on the tainted list yet to be revealed.
At the conclusion of the Penn State wrestling team's dual meet against Iowa Sunday, the fans at Rec Hall rushed down to the floor to get autographs from their favorite grapplers.
However, those autographs came from the Hawkeye's bench.
As the crowd gathered around the visiting team, pushing and prying their way toward the front of the pack, Iowa coach Tom Brands discussed his team's performance on Sunday.
"We're okay, we're where we need to be," Brands said. "We're where we need to be, but we have a lot of room to improve."
As the Nittany Lions were describing their performance as "frustrating" and "deflating," Brand said his team "could have done a better job out there." His team won eight of the 10 total bouts, but he said the current Iowa team is capable of shutting teams out every time it competes.
The Hawkeyes went on to win the meet by a score of 31-6, but Brand said his team has not been going full-strength in terms of its capability. He pointed out there are 60 points available in every dual meet, and once the team reaches its full potential it will be "tremendous."
"We do what we gotta do, we focus on what we need to focus on," Brand said. "I think we worry about ourselves. I don't analyze [Penn State's] efforts. I know we can win better and widen the gap."
Iowa did start six grapplers who are currently ranked in the top-5 in their respective weight classes, and one more who is ranked No. 18 which proved to be a challenge to the Lions. Penn State's only two wins came against unranked opponents, and neither victor could score any bonus points for the team.
Although the Lions know they were up against a good opponent, freshman Cameron Wade said the team still thought it could win, but "things just didn't go their way." Neither the Hawkeyes nor the Lions hope their performances become routine.
"It's not how we certainly wanted it to go," Penn State coach Troy Sunderland said. "I think that kind of deflated us a little bit. We'll turn around by tweaking a couple of things here and there."
For more analysis of the Penn State wrestling team's weekend performances, read Steve's column in tomorrow's Collegian.
Well, um, that wasn't quite a strong week for Penn State basketball. Last week, I wrote about the Nittany Lions jumping up to No. 66 in the RPI after the big upset in East Lansing. This week, after rough losses to Michigan and Wisconsin that saw the offense completely disappear, PSU is back down to No. 84 according to CollegeRPI.com. So much for all the progress. The strength of schedule also still sits in the triple digits at 111, despite the addition of several solid Big Ten opponents over the last few weeks.
With the regular season inching toward the home stretch, let's once again take a look at why exactly that strength of schedule is at the bottom of the Big Ten. (Game results from week of Feb. 2-8)
-William & Mary...W 68-63 vs. Northeastern, L 74-56 at VCU
-NJIT... L 65-49 vs. Houston Baptist
-Hartford...L 62-55 vs. New Hampshire
-New Hampshire...W 62-55 at Hartford, L 67-49 vs. Boston U.
-Penn... L 74-63 vs. Columbia, L 88-73 vs. Cornell
-Rhode Island... W 71-64 at Charlotte, L 68-62 at Temple
-Towson... L 71-62 at Old Dominion, L 71-68 at Hofstra
-Georgia Tech... L 62-58 at Florida State, L 57-56 vs. Maryland
-Temple... L 83-74 at Xavier, W 68-62 vs. Rhode Island
-Army... L 58-34 at American, L 55-53 at Colgate
-Mount St. Mary's... L 76-70 at Long Island, W 75-68 at Fairleigh Dickinson
-Lafayette... L 71-68 at Fairleigh Dickinson, L 64-50 vs. Holy Cross
-Sacred Heart... L 66-64 vs. Quinnipiac, W 101-72 vs. Long Island
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 9-2 (19-4)
2. Illinois 7-4 (19-5)
2. Ohio State 7-4 (17-5)
4. Purdue 6-4 (17-6)
5. Minnesota 6-5 (18-5)
5. Penn State 6-5 (17-7)
7. Michigan 5-6 (15-9)
7. Wisconsin 5-6 (14-9)
9. Northwestern 4-6 (13-8)
10. Iowa 3-8 (13-11)
11. Indiana 1-9 (6-16)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record:114-182
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 151-78
Total Opponents' Record: 265-260
And the overall opponents' record creeps closer and closer to .500... which was expected considering Big Ten teams knock each other off every week. But it doesn't help when the non-conference juggernauts go 6-18 for the week.
The most noteworthy game has to be William & Mary's shocking defeat of Northeastern. The CAA cellar-dwelling Tribe notched just its second conference victory by beating the conference-leading Huskies.
Other than that, well, not a lot of news to report.
Perhaps the most intriguing game was an Atlantic 10 rematch of Temple and Rhode Island. The Rams one the first meeting a few weeks ago, but Lavoy Allen's 23 points led Temple to a win at the Liacouras Center on Sunday.
After pulling off a colossal upset of Wake Forest, Georgia Tech is back to its basement-dwelling days after losing a pair of close ones to Florida State and Maryland.
And in a huge matchup of independents, the 3-21 Houston Baptist Huskies walked into Newark and dismantled the mighty 1-22 NJIT Highlanders, 65-49. Only 207 people were at the game though, so I'm not entirely convinced the game even happened.
In the Big Ten, Penn State was not the only squad to take a tumble. In fact, the Lions' next opponent -- Purdue -- has dropped out of second place with back-to-back road losses at Ohio State and Illinois. I'm sure the Boilermakers will be glad to return to Mackey Arena.
In other news that Fortuna already covered, Indiana finally got its first conference win by knocking off Iowa at home, and Michigan State took out some frustration on Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Games to watch this week (it's looking like a rather lousy week of matchups in the Big Ten):
Just about two weeks after he was said to be A-Fraud, we have reason to believe that is actually a perfect nickname for Alex Rodriguez.
If you haven't been living under a rock, news broke that the Yankee third baseman tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003. That just happened to be his last year with the Texas Rangers and the first season he earned the AL Most Valuable Player award. The slugger's name was one of 104 players that tested positive in the MLB survey testing. The testing was used in an effort to determine if there should be mandatory drug testing in the following year.
Apparently, that answer should be yes. The more the better.
With the entire Barry Bonds fiasco, there were more people rooting against him than for him. A-Rod was supposed to be the savior to all that. He did it the right way and is on pace to be the new home run king. And now this. Should we be surprised? Absolutely not. But if you're a baseball fan, you can't help but feel disappointed.
We all know steroids are ruining the game, but is everyone on the juice? With names like McGwire, Clemens and Rodriguez tainted with the black mark, who isn't? There's hope for some, of course. Players like Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Chase Utley are expected to keep this sport afloat and somewhat pure.
A-Rod, though? He's already a drama king with strippers, Madonna and being a fortified choke artist. This situation will undoubtedly follow him to the plate, and we already know how he deals with under pressure.
Cornley picks up his first foul of the game to send Krabbenhoft to the line for a 1-and-1. The first is good, as is the second. 51-42, things are not looking good at all for the Lions.
Pringle now at the line for a 1-and-1, and he misses the front end. With that, many people start filing toward the exits.
Krabbenhoft sinks a pair of free throws and the lead is up to 11 for Wisconsin. Two points for Battle as the clock rolls to 1:01.
Bohannon misses the front end of a 1-and-1 and Pringle throws up a brick from 3. There are 43 seconds left, and the Lions have still not made a 3. That would be 0-for-13 now.
In the double bonus, Landry hits 1 free throw, and Chris Babb promptly misses a 3.
That'll do it as Penn State throws in the towel.
Wisconsin 54, Penn State 44
Penn State's full court pressure fails on this possession and opens the door for an easy basket for Landry. Pringle answers and DeChellis calls another timeout. The Lions have just one remaining now.
1:39 second half
Wisconsin 49, Penn State 42
The "stand up" cheers are now appearing to work as much of the crowd at the BJC is on its feet during the timeout.
D.J. Jackson stands at the line out of the break. Penn State is now in the bonus, so it's a 1-and-1... something that PSU has had all kinds of problems with this year. But Jackson knocks down both and the BJC is alive. 43-38 Wisconsin, full court pressure from the Lions.
Trevon Hughes gets an open look with the shot clock nearly expiring, and it just bounces in. Talor Battle is back in the game, he drives and gets called for a charge. That's PSU's sixth team foul.
Battle got a deflection on the in-bounds pass and nearly kicked a dance team member in the face as he chased the ball. That would've hurt.
Landry gets called for a walk and Battle is clearly limping out there. Morrissey replaces Jackson as a clock discrepancy is cleared up.
Morrissey throws an ill-advised pass toward the middle. It gets stolen and Krabbenhoft gets a fastbreak lay-up. Battle answers for 2 and DeChellis uses a 30-second timeout.
1:58 second half
Wisconsin 47, Penn State 40
Nittany Nation members are now urging the rest of the crowd to stand up, but it doesn't seem to be working. Two points for Andrew Jones cuts the lead to 7.
Penn State is still in a 2-3 zone. Hughes misses and Babb picks up the rebound. Battle is once again out of the game as his leg appears to be bothering him.
3:36 second half
Wisconsin 43, Penn State 36
A nice turnaround jumper by Krabbenhoft over Cornley puts the lead at 40-34. Penn State still does not have one made 3-pointer.
Battle spins multiple times on his way to the basket but missed with the shot clock winding down. The refs ruled that the ball never hit the rim, so right now the shot clock stands at :01 with Penn State having the ball out of bounds under the basket. Now the refs are reviewing the play, and apparently they got it right. Pringle gets it into Battle but Battle missed everything on a 3 attempt.
Penn State's last field goal? 13:43 left in the half. We're under 6 now. Ouch.
Another Wisconsin desperation attempt at the end of the shot clock, but they pulled down the offensive rebound. The refs miss an obvious walk and Bohannon sinks a 3-pointer.
Another Battle missed 3.
Ed DeChellis wisely uses a timeout after a miss by Hughes and a Krabbenhoft foul. The offensive funk that Penn State is in is just incredible.
4:45 second half
Wisconsin 43, Penn State 34
In case you were wondering, the over/under for today's game was 127. With 7:36 left, the total is 72. Welcome to the Big Ten.
Another missed free throw by Landry... and another. That's four in a row for the Wisconsin star and the lead stays at 36-32.
There was just a collective gasp from the BJC crowd as Ott thought about firing a 3, but he decided against it. Instead, Battle came up empty from deep again. Battle is now 2/9 from the field and 0/5 from 3-point range.
I never thought this could be a 4-point game with Battle and Cornley combining for just 8 points so far.
Another miss by Battle but it looked like a foul should've been called. Jarmusz misses a 3, then Pringle misses a 3 from the corner. Battle grabs the rebound and draws a foul. He'll shoot 2. Battle calmly sinks both and we have a 2-point game on our hands.
Penn State is now showing a 2-3 zone as the crowd gets loud and Wisconsin misses a 3 at the shot clock buzzer. Battle drives but misses and shows some frustration. Landry scores for Wisconsin to extend the lead to 38-34.
Now Battle just limped off the court and Chris Babb replaces him. I'm not sure exactly what happened to Battle... it doesn't look serious, but he's on the end of the bench getting checked out by a trainer. Keep in mind that he injured his groin a few weeks back.
Morrissey misses a mid-range jumper but Cornley grabs another offensive rebound. Pringle feeds Cornley and he draws contact on the way up.
Talor Battle appears to be fine as he heads to the scorers' table. Cornley misses the first and Battle checks back in for Babb. Cornley's second also misses. There's the Penn State free throw shooting we all know.
Pringle picks up a foul off a missed shot and we have reached the under-8 timeout.
7:36 second half
Wisconsin 38, Penn State 34
I sound like a broken record, but again Wisconsin decided to use the entire shot clock. This time, it resulted in a long missed 3 by Hughes.
Cornley misses a jumper but picked up Penn State's first offensive rebound of the game. Pringle misses a 3 and the Lions still haven't hit from deep.
Leuer with a dunk down low and it's 34-28 Badgers.
For a second, I thought Penn State had its first 3. Jackson buried a long shot but he was just inside the arc.
A fantastic feed by Battle with a bounce pass down the lane to Jones. Leuer blocked Jones but got called for a foul. Jones walks to the line and sinks both. Miraculously, Penn State is 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. 34-32 Badgers and Brooks and Ott enter the game.
Ott promptly gets beaten to the hoop on a nice move by Krabbenhoft, who finished for 2.
A great feed to Ott, but he nearly walked and threw an ugly shot up and missed. He grabs a rebound on the other end and PSU takes control again... and turns it back over.
Now Ott gets matched up with Landry, who went hard to the basket and drew contact for a foul.
11:20 second half
Wisconsin 36, Penn State 32
All right we're about to get back underway here from the BJC. Let's see if the Penn State offense can wake up and get the crowd re-energized. The most noise has come after big defensive stands so far. Maybe the Lions can hit a 3 this half.
Surprisingly, D.J. Jackson is starting the second half over Jeff Brooks. The rest of the starting lineup is out there and Stanley Pringle cuts the lead to 5 with a quick 2.
Leuer slams it home for Wisconsin but PSU follows it up with another Pringle bucket, and a foul. He steps up to the line and drains the shot... 30-26 Wisconsin.
Again Wisconsin ran the shot clock down, but this time they missed. Talor Battle picks up a loose ball but badly misses a 3. He just hasn't been able to find any kind of offensive rhythm.
Another easy Wisconsin bucket as Landry ended up wide open next to the basket. Penn State has still not hit a 3 with Cornley missing this time. The ball gets deflected out off of Penn State, although the crowd didn't exactly agree. For the record, Ed Hightower is NOT officiating this one.
Drew Jones is the only Lion in foul trouble as he picks up No. 3 and sends Landry to the line. Landry must have been studying too much film of Penn State's win at Michigan State, as he missed both attempts.
Marcus Landry just took a hard tumble as he and Cornley made contact. No foul was called but Landry hit the ground pretty hard and was slow getting up. It looks like he'll probably return shortly.
Jon Leuer forgot that he is not in the NBA yet and gets called for a walk. Only the 7th turnover of the game between the two teams. Two points for Drew Jones cuts the lead to 32-28.
Pringle gets hit for a loose ball foul off a Wisconsin miss and we head to the under-16 timeout.
15:34 second half
Wisconsin 32, Penn State 28
And that'll do it for the first half as Leuer connects from a few feet away to give Wisconsin a 28-21 lead heading into the locker room.
Just a dismal offensive performance by Penn State in the first half, picking up right where it left off Thursday night in Ann Arbor. The Lions are letting Wisconsin dictate the pace of the game, leading to long possessions and both teams using up the entire shot clock almost every trip down the floor. The slow pace certainly doesn't favor Penn State, who needs to start getting Battle and Pringle running the floor.
Jamelle Cornley, Jeff Brooks, Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle all have 4
We have about 11 minutes left until the second half gets underway, so stay tuned.
Out of the break, Landry sinks a pair at the line to give Wisconsin the lead. Cornley re-enters the game for Jackson.
Wisconsin with a bit of full-court pressure but backed off after PSU got the ball into Drew Jones. Pringle makes a great move to the basket but couldn't connect on the shot.
Jarmusz scores in the lane and the lead is 23-20 now. That is just an odd name to type.
Jones is at the line for PSU, let's see if the short-lived charity stripe success can continue.
Of course not.
He misses the first but the second rattles around the rim and falls. 23-21 Badgers
With under a minute to play and the shot clock winding down, Battle drove hard and drew a foul on Hughes. PSU gets a fresh 35 with 54 seconds left in the half. Batte misses a 3 though and the Lions are still without a make from beyond the arc.
In transition, Bohannon hits a 3 for Wisconsin to give the Badgers the largest lead of the game. Pringle misses and Jones gets called for going over the back. 23 seconds left and we have a 30-second timeout.
0:23 first half
Wisconsin 26, PSU 21
BREAKING NEWS at the BJC... Penn State just hit back-to-back free throws.
Well done, Stanley Pringle.
On defense, Jarmusz was left wide open and hit the first 3 of the game for either team. 20-19 PSU
Penn State turns the ball over and the Badgers have a chance to take the lead back.
Battle continues to struggle offensively as he tosses up a runner in traffic and misses everything. He has just 4 points.
Jackson picks up a foul and Wisconsin will be at the line after a timeout.
3:19 first half
Penn State 20, Wisconsin 19
The starting lineup is back on the floor for PSU as Pringle, Jones and Brooks replace Jackson, Morrissey and Ott.
The Lions show some full court pressure out of the timeout but Wisconsin gets it up the floor fairly easily. Once again the shot clock was winding down but the Badgers scored as Battle somehow got matched up with the 6-10 Jon Leuer, who shot and scored over his 11-inch shorter counterpart.
Brooks scores for Penn State and we're tied again at 16. And Penn State is back in front as Battle blocked a desperation 3 attempt by Bohannon, Pringle caught the deflection and tossed ahead to Battle, who hit a lay-up.
Penn State usually doesn't block many shots, but that's 3 now as Cornley blocks Krabbenhoft.
Wisconsin turns it over as Pringle comes up with a steal. Jordan Taylor gets called for a foul and sends Pringle to the line for 2 shots.
4:54 first half
Penn State 18, Wisconsin 16
Morrissey appeared to have a step on his defender but could not make a move off the dribble. He ends up missing a 3 but Magic Johnson, I mean Andrew Ott, drew a big ovation as he blocked a shot.
After a missed 3 by Cornley, Bohannon scores for Wisconsin to tie the game at 12.
Another offensive foul on Wisconsin as Landry was a bit too physical trying to get open. Only 5 combined fouls between the two teams in the opening 11 minutes.
Talor Battle finally gets on the scoreboard as he takes a feed from Cornley and scores. 14-12 PSU
Ott thought he had good position defensively but Leuer ducked around him and scored. Penn State has played a lot of good defense but it keeps breaking down as the shot clock winds down.
On the other end, Wisconsin puts together a nice defensive stand as Battle missed badly on a desperation attempt and Cornley caught the ball out of bounds with a couple ticks on the shot clock.
7:39 first half
Penn State 14, Wisconsin 14
D.J. Jackson just knocked down a jumper to give Penn State its first lead. The Lions could certainly use more of that out of the struggling forward.
With the shot clock winding down Tim Jarmusz threw a nice fake at Cornley, ducked around him and buried a jumper. Again Cornley responds with a long 2 to retake the lead.
Morrissey plants his feet and draws a charge on Hughes and we head to the under-12 timeout.
10:47 first half
Penn State 12, Wisconsin 10
There are still a handful of empty seats in the end upper deck to our left, but students have gradually started to fill-in the empty areas. I'd guess we'll see an attendance somewhere in the 14,000's.
Out of the timeout, Trevon Hughes hits a pair of free throws and Wisconsin's lead is 4.
A terrific feed by Pringle to a cutting Andrew Jones. Jones showed some aggressiveness and took it to the rim for 2.
Krabbenhoft tossed up an awful 3 attempt that was wide open and Cornley responded with a very long 2 to tie the game at 8.
Ed DeChellis makes his first substitution as D.J. Jackson replaces Brooks. Let's see if the Penn State bench can provide any scoring today. It's been quite some time.
12:56 first half
Penn State 8, Wisconsin 8
And we're underway at the BJC with Marcus Landry winning the tip over Andrew Jones. Penn State opens in a man-to-man defense and Landry scores on a turnaround jumper over Jones in the paint.
Wisconsin is also playing man, and Cornley takes a longer jumper and is blocked by Krabbenhoft. Landry misses for Wisconsin and PSU takes it the other way. Battle must have thought he was still in East Lansing as he jacked up a 3 from way out and nearly missed everything.
PSU has gotten off to a terrible start shooting as Brooks nearly misses everything as well. Hughes air-balls a 3 attempt but Landry collects it and scores. 4-0 Badgers
The Lions finally get on the board at the 16:45 mark as Brooks knocked down a short jumper. And defensive miscommunication leads to an easy lay-up for Jon Leuer for Wisconsin.
We had a nice little game of volleyball for a few seconds with the ball ending up in Pringle's hands. With the shot clock winding down he took it to the hoop and scored. 6-4 Badgers.
Andrew Jones gets called for the first foul of the game and Wisconsin will be at the line after a timeout.
15:05 first half
Wisconsin 6, Penn State 4
It is official: the curtains have been raised at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Matt Brown here to take you through today's important Big Ten showdown between a pair of NCAA tournament bubble teams. Penn State (17-6, 6-4 Big Ten) had its four-game win streak snapped Thursday night at Michigan, while Wisconsin (13-9, 4-6) ended a six-game slide by knocking off Illinois, 63-50, at the Kohl Center.
For Penn State to make it to the Big Dance, it'll probably have to win the rest of its home games and at least one on the road. In the first meeting between the Badgers and the Nittany Lions, Wisconsin pulled out a close one 65-61 on Jan. 3. The last time the Badgers visited State College, the Lions suffered an enormous loss when star forward Geary Claxton was lost for the year to a torn ACL.
The BJC is starting to fill up right now, with people in the upper deck to our right for the first time all season instead of a curtain. Many people are still in the concourse waiting in line to get their picture taken with the Phillies' World Series trophy. It's supposed to be a white out today, but some PSU fans wore Phillies red. Normally that wouldn't be a big problem, but it's not a good idea when the opposing team is red.
In what was supposed to be a rematch of last year's national championship until Bubba Jenkins pulled out of the lineup with an injury, Colby Pisani takes on No. 1 Brent Metcalf in the 149-pound weight blass. Metcalf quickly racks up three takedowns and two backpoints. Pisani is putting up somewhat of a fight, recording three escapes in the first two minutes. Metclaf is in control of the match, holding his opponent on the floor. A pin is recorded after just two minutes, 18 seconds by Metcalf.
The third period is underway, and Molinaro is trying to rack up some riding time. He is in control as Tsirtsis is stick underneath him. Molinaro receives one point. The wrestlers remain on the mat, and a potentially dangerous is called. 10 seconds remain in the match. Molinaro takes the offensive and is fighting hard not to let his opponent escape. The match ends with a 6-2. Molinaro leaves the mat, but heads to the wrong team's bench and the crowd chuckles at his mistake.
Molinaro selects the defensive to start the second period, but can't escape Tsirtsis' hold. The wrestlers go off the mat, and re-start. Molinaro breaks free of Tsirtsis' arms and receives an escape. The wrestlers are now in a locked position and circle off the mat. Back in the center fo the mat, the wrestlers continue their locked position. They end up on the floor and it looks as though Tsirtsis is in control as he records another takedown. 10 seconds remain in the period. Tsirtsis receives two backpoints to end the period, increasing his lead 6-1.
The 141 match begins between Frank Molinaro and No. 2 Alex Tsirtsis. Both wrestlers look like they came ready to compete as the momentum is going back and forth between the two. The wrestlers are on the floor now both struggling to gain control. Wrestlers off the mat, neutral. The grapplers lock heads and try to drive each other to the floor. One minute remains in the period. Tsirtsis has a hold of Molinaro's legs, and he records the takedown. He now has control of his opponent and in not letting Molinaro escape his hold. The first period ends with Tsirtsis up 2-0.
We're having some technical difficulties, sorry about that. The first two periods of the 133-match have come to an end and Daniel Dennis leads Jake Strayer 3-1.
The final period is now underway, and Strayer opens it with an escape.The wrestlers are handfighting in the center of the mat as the crowd begins to cheer on Strayer with loud claps. Dennis gets a takedown and has his opponent held on the floor. Strayer is struggling to return to his feet, but eventually manages to get up and receive the escape. Just under 45 seconds remain in the match. The wrestlers are handfighting to close out the period, and Dennis wins by a score of 6-3.
The final period of the match begins in the neutral position. There is not much action currently on the mat as each wrestler is trying to prep to make a move. 45 seconds remain in the period. Falck and Pataky have each other's heads locked, and the match comes to an end. Falck gets the win 9-3.
Pataky takes the defensive to start the period and quickly records an escape. The wrestlers are again handfighting, and drive their momentum to the floor. The wrestlers are in a locked position in the center of the mat. 10 seconds remain in the period. Falck records a takedown to close the period. He leads 8-3.
This is Jocelyn taking over for Steve at the start of the 125-pound match. Brad Pataky and Charlie Falck are handfighting in the middle of the mat. Falck responds quickly with a takedown, and Pataky counters with an escape. The two wrestlers are quick and are jumping from the ground to their feet repeatedly. Pataky dives for Falck's feet, bringing the grapplers to the mat. Falck picks Pataky up off his feet, receiving another takedown in the period. Pataky is struggling to get back to his feet as Falck has a hold on his left leg. Re-start, Pataky takes the defensive position. Pataky is fighting to escape his opponent's hold, but could not get away. The first period ends with Falck leading 4-1.
Cameron Wade has won the match, avoiding any points scored against him, and takes home the 4-0 lead.
At 197 pounds now, freshman J.R. Brown of Bellefonte is wrestling Iowa's No. 18-ranked wrestler, Chad Beatty. Beatty wastes no time in the match, getting a takedown. Brown escaped nicely though at the front edge of the mat. Another takedown and another escape move the score to 4-2. Beatty gets another taekdown here with 1:20 left in the period.
Brown escapes before moving off the mat, so the score is 6-3. Beatty now has an 8-4 lead after a takedown and an escape. Isn't this a monotonous process? I feel like I should have a takedown and an escape copy and pasted, just ready to put it here on demand. 8-4 is the score after one period.
The Bellefonte native will choose the defensive position to start the period. Beatty is choosing to ride him out here instead of cutting him loose, and I strategically say "choose" to keep him down, because that's the way it is. Well, this match literally has zero importance and interest in it, so let's preview the upcoming matches a little bit.
The 125-pound bout is a match I am watching really carefully. Penn State's sophomore (or junior, we really don't know what to call him) will take on No. 4-ranked Charlie Falck. Falck was Perry's roommate back in Iowa City, and he is a gritty competitior. He is a senior, and has a lot of experience. He is currently 16-1 on the season. Pataky has been the Lions' hottest wrestler this season, however, and he really is capable of beating anybody right now. If he keeps focused on his goals, he can do it. With the gloomy and dull atmosphere in Rec Hall right now, it might be hard for Pataky to get up for it.
Well, Brown was actually doing well in the match, only down six points, but is pinned here at 5:26, and the score is 17-0 in favor of the Hawkeyes. The scoreboard shows 16-0, but take our word for it- it has to be 16-0.
We're underway at heavyweight, and I'm happy to see Cameron Wade out there. He is doing well right now, and he has heavyweight back-up Brodie Ambrose's leg right now, and trips his other leg right now, getting a takedown here in the first period. It's really nice to see a solid effort here from Wade. Finally a stall warning is called against Ambrose.
Wade has a 2-0 advantage going into the second period. Ambrose picks the top position to start the period, The freshman heavyweight escapes within about 30 seconds and moves the score to 3-0. The two freshmen are now handfighting at the front of the mat, and they will go into the 3rd period with that score.
184-pound bout under way, with Jack Decker facing Iowa's Phillip Keddy, the No. 3-ranked 184-pounder in the country. Keddy is looking so fierce, actually pretty scary. He has 6 takedowns in a matter of 2 minutes. He keeps cutting Decker loose and then taking him down within 15 seconds. It's really pretty amazing the type of tenacity these Iowa wrestlers have. Keddy has control of Decker's leg and is now going to ride him out for the rest of the period. He will have a 1:58 riding time advantage after one period, and Decker looks on his way to giving him a technical fall. Score: 12-5 in favor of the Hawkeye.
Keddy will start out on the bottom, and escapes within two seconds. The junior from Vernal, Utah is not joking around -- it looks like Decker was taking trash on his mother before the match. Wrestlers off the mat and they will start off netural. Keddy grabs a hold of Decker's neck here and is just forcing it down, and finally gets him all the way down, and slides around him to get the takedown. 15-5 now for Keddy. Stall warning given to Decker now. Keddy cuts Decker loose with 40 seconds left here, and Keddy will try to get another takedown before the end of the period, and he has a hold of Decker's left leg, and reverses himself on Decker to get his takedown here before the period is out. Score: 17-6
Decker selects the defensive position to start hte period, but I'm sure he will be cutl oose. He is, and Keddy now has a 10-point advantage, so he'll need to make up five points to get his tech. fall. After some nice fighting by Decker, Keddy overpowers Decker once again to get another takedown here. 19-8. Another blood timeout for Decker as play postpones.
Keddy gets his takedown here, and the score is now 21-9 after cutting Decker loose with 30 seconds left. Wrestlers off the mat here neutral. Decker can avoid a tech. fall here, and that would be nice to avoid the five points. But two takedowns in a matter of 10 seconsd gives Keddy the tech. fall with 1 second remaining in the match.
Quentin Wright and sophomore Colby Covington are now battling at 174-pounds, and key word is battling. The two have been scrambling throughout the entirety of the match, wrestat most times it looked like Covington had the upper-hand.
Wright had some nice moves to try and reverse the trend, but we go into the second period scoreless. Wright picks the defensive position, and escaped nicely five seconds in to the period. They are now handfighting, and with 1 minute remaining, Wright has another close, low-scoring match on his hands. He now shot at Covington nicely, but didn't have enough on it. Now Covington has a shot for himself, and has taken him down. Wright did escape, but could have possibly scored a takedown for himself if he was able to spin around Covington, but time runs out on him.
The third period begins with Covington being cut loose by Wright. Covington has a 21-second riding time advantage here with 1:40 left to go in the match. Wright has to get a takedown here. The wrestlers are hanging on each other's heads, not wanting to give the one an advantage. 50 seconds left here and Wright is still down one, so he needs to make something happen. He looks a little tentative here, and the Re3c Hall crowd is actually getting restless. The crowd has turned to cheers though. 11 secnods left, and Wright has a matter of seconds to make something happen. Covington was clearly stalling that match, and that was a real bad piece of officiating.
Penn State finally had a chance to get up ahead 6-0 to start the match, instead they find themselves behind by that score, in two 1-point victories for Iowa.
Vallimont makes his way out to the middle of the mat to meet No.3-ranked Ryan Morningstar. Instantly they are handfighting and tangled in the middle. Vallimont countered Morningstar's move quite nicely and works himself to get a takedown in the opening minute here. Morningsatar has escaqped within a couple seconds ,however, and the score is 2-1. half way through the period now and the wrestlers are back to handfighting. Morningstar shot but Vallimont avoided it nicely. 1 minute left now and Vallimont still has the lead against hte No. 3-ranked junior. Mark Perry knows Morningstar very well, and told me Wednesday that he is probably the only Hawkeye wrestler without the Iowa style of wrsetling coming in. Vallimont has another shot in on his leg, and is trying to work his way to another takedown, but Morningstar does a great job avoiding the takedown before the end of the period.
Morningstar selected the defensive position to start the second, and he worked his way to an escape 10 seconds in. Morningstar shot inside at Vallimont here, but Vallimont combated it nicely, and a stalemate is called after about 7 seconds of inactivity. This is a crucial moment in the career of Vallimont, I'd have to say. A victory here proves he is still one of the top wresetlers in the country. 30 seconds left here in the second period, he has to avoid a takedown here as it looks like Morningstar has the edge here. 10 seconds left and he gets away without letting anything up.
Vallimont will select the defensive position to the start the period. if he gets an escape he'll be ahead, but he has a narrow riding time advantage that will be relinquished here. A masterful escape 30 seconds in here moves the match to 3-2 in Vallimont's favor. Riding time will not be an issue here -- Vallimont has to avoid a takedown. And that's exactly what happens here, as Morningstar gets a nice single-leg on the junior captain, and he is fighting to get up right now. Sunderland is screaming encouragement from the edge of the mat, and he is trying his hardest here to get up.
A stalemate is called with 43 seconds left here and Morningstar will remain in the offensive. The Rec Hall crowd is slowcalapping now, trying to encourage Vallimont on. Vallimont was about to get within his grasp, but a stalemate called with 20 saeconds left. 20 seconds left for Dan to try and get up. Morningstar has control of his upper-body, and Morningstar does let Vallimont escape, but the riding time advantage of 1:24 for Morningstar is enough for him to get the extra point adn propel him to a 5-4 decision.
The Lions have come out of the locker room to their usual song, Till I Collapse by Eminem. A nice rendition of the national anthem by Penn State's Shades of Blue.
The starting lineups are being announced and the 165-pound bout will begin momentarily.
Welcome to the live blog of today's wrestling match between the Nittany Lions and the defending national champions, the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes. This is Stephen Hennessey and I will be starting off blogging today's matches. This is by far the biggest crowd that we've seen here for a match this season. There is a buzz about the crowd that is actually refreshing -- unlike the atmosphere that has been around the team for the past month. We weren't here for the Lehigh/Lock Haven match, which had a great crowd, but this is the most electric atmosphere thus far we've seen. This is what I expected when I applied to cover the Penn State wrestling team.
We're going to start at 165 pounds today, which means Dan Vallimont will be on call right away, likely against No. 3-ranked Ryan Morningstar. The Iowa squad has been warming up on the mat for the last 20 minutes while the Penn Staters are still ni the locker room.
We'll be back in a moment as the meet gets underway.
Thanks for checking in. We will see you Sunday when Penn State takes on No. 1 Iowa at 2 pm.
Action under way at 141-pounds, with the crowd subdued and nobody even uttering a word. Molinaro gets taken down about 30 seconds into the period by J Jaggers, and then escapes. Action ends in the first period with the score 2-1 in favor of the senior from Ohio State.
Jaggers starts off the period in the defensive position, and NOw Molinaro has a grasp of his leg. He lets jaggers go.
Wow, that match sums up this dual meet and this season in a nutshell. Molinaro is pinned by Jaggers. A very crafty move there by Jaggers and a pin. That moves the score to 27-7 for Ohio State. 149-pounds underway, but we're going to leave you, since Lance Palmer will be wrestling Colby Pisani, not Bubba Jenkins, so this match will be a yawner. Everyone int he crowd is heading towards the exit.
The match of the night is underway now at 133-pounds, as senior Jake Strayer takes on junior Reece Humphrey. Humphrey was ranked No. 1 until he slipped up last week against the No. 2 kid, so they exchanged places. Strayer looks to have the edge here as he shot for Humphrey, but he wasn't able to score a takedown and the play moves into the middle after a restart. This is a big match for Strayer in terms of Big Ten tournament seeding and for the national stage as well. If he wants to win a national title this year, this is the sort of match he can prove to people he can win.
Wrestlers are at the front edge of the mat now, and Humphrey shoved Strayer into the scorer's table as they were abotu to move off the mat. The crowd didn;'t like it, but Strayer just calmly trots to the middle for the resrart, like a race horse about to take his post. But with 8 seconds left in the period, Humphrey was able to catch Strayer in the wrong position and gets a 2-point takedown.
Strayer picks the bottom position to start off the period, and gets an escape. After some real quality scrambling here, Humphrey has a takedown, moving the score to 4-1. He is riding on top of Strayer now as Strayer is on his knees on the back half of the mat with one minute remaining in the second. I would say this ia borderline stall here, and two seconds after I type it, a stall warning is given to Humphrey. Okay now I'm 1-1 on the night for predicting things to happen the second before I type them. Strayer looked about ready to escape but is taken down to the mat. But now he is able to secure the escape with 30 seconds left. Now they are tangled up for the last 15 seconds, and the score will be 4-2 goign into the third period.
Humphrey selects the defensive position to start, and Strayer just puts his hand on Humphrey's back to cut him loose. 5-2 Humphrey. Strayer needs a couple takedowns here to bring himself back into the match. Strayer is working on Humphrey right now and is very close to a pin, and a takedown. But the referees haven't even awarded a takedown. And now a stalemate is called here, moving play into the center of the mat. That is a kind of a call that could ruin a kid's career here. Finally the stall point is awarded to Strayer. Humphrey is clearly making no effort to wrestle. Strayer is trying to get something going but it's hard when your opponent is content on not doing anything. Strayer has a grasp on his neck, but after he went for a takedown, he made himself vulnerable and Humphrey closes in on a takedown and a victory.
Strayer drops the match 8-3.
Back to the lightweights here. At 125-pounds Brad Pataky is taking on sophomore Nikko Triggas from Moraga, California. Brad wastes no time taking control of the match, scoring a takedown five seconds into the match. He has been riding Triggas for the last minute now, as the wrestlers move off the mat. The Rec Hall crowd has remembered what it's like to cheer as they let out some claps for Pataky. The crowd has been utterly quiet for the last two matches.
Pataky cuts Triggas loose here half way through the first period, moving hte score to 2-1. Now Pataky has Triggas on a single-leg, but Triggas appears close to get on top of Pataky. Unsuccesful though, as a stalemate is called. 15 seconds later, Pataky has a takedown for himself after grabbing Triggas with two hands. He has Triggas' arms tied up here. Now Triggas makes his way to his feet, appearing ready for an escape. But time runs out on him as he was just about to. Score is 4-1 Pataky.
Triggas selects the offensive position to start the second period. I guess he wants to reverse some of the 2:10 riding time advantage that Pataky currently has. That was only succesful for 25 seconds, as Pataky escapes and the score is now 5-1. Pataky just shot for Triggas' right leg once again and looks ready to get a takedown. That has to be a stall warning on Triggas, he was content with just letting Pataky try and work on him. Now it looks like Pataky poked Triggas in the eye as he walks away from the play. Must not have been too bad, as play resumed about five seconds later. Pataky gets another takedown here on Triggas with 40 seconds left, moving the score to 7-1. He is riding him out here and will move into the third period ahead by six, ready to get a major decision.
Pataky will pick the bottom position to start the period. Once he escapes, he'll need one more takedown to be in good position for a major. He has riding time almost locked up, but it is going away now as Triggas is riding him for the last 30 seconds. But Triggas let up, and Pataky has a reversal for himself, moving the score to 9-1, which basically is a 10-1 lead. He cuts Triggas loose and the score is now 10-2. 10 seconds later he has another takedown, and the score is 11-2 (basically 12-2). An escape by Triggas and the score is 11-3. 2 points for another Takedown here for Pataky. Score is 13-3 (essentially 14-3). A technical fall will be hard to achieve with 13 seconds left, but this is a strong performance from the sophomore from Clearfield, Pa.
Final score 14-3 for Pataky, a major decision.
Howdy everybody, it's the last five matches of the evening, so that means I'm taking over for Jocelyn here in the live blog. Stephen Hennessey here, and I can't say I'm surprised with tonight's events so far. This year's team has been lackluster and disappointing all season long, and tonight is no different. A pin from Dodds, Darling had a chance (can't fault him in his first dual meet against a ranked senior, and Decker had a shot. Down 15-3, the match is probably out of reach at this point, but it is possible fro the Lions to come back.
The heavyweight is underway as junior Stefan Tighe continues to see time. He will wrestle junior Corey Morrison from OSU. To begin play off, Tighe gets a takedown right in front of the Lions bench to go up 2-0 early, A restart with Tighe on top ensues, but he cuts Morrison loose and the score is 2-1 in favor of Tighe. Now 30 seconds left in the period, and the wrestlers are in the middle handfighting. Tighe has shot a couple times, but he'll take a 2-1 lead into the second period here.
Tighe defers his decision to the third period, and Morrison chooses the bottom position to start the period. I'm not sure if Tighe let Morrison loose there, but either way, Morrison gets away easily and the match moves to a score of 2-2. Now Tighe has a hold of Morrison's neck, but the wrestlers move off the mat and start up netural in the middle. MOrrison caught Tighe sleeping and has a hold of his leg, standing up but he was able to get off the mat and the match continues neutral with 30 vsecnodsl efti n the period. Tighe just shot at Morrison for probably the first time in this period but it was unsuccessful -- still a welcome sign to see him shooting. It appeared as if he was going to a get a takedown for a second but he let up on his attempt with 13 seconds left. Now Tighe appears content with the match going into the third period tied.
Tighe chooses the defensive position to start the third period. HE currently owns an 18-second riding time advantage, so he has to avoid being riden out for the entire period. That is not an issue, and I currently feel stupid for typing that, but I'll be honest and keep it there. Morrison cut him loose and Tighe escapes. Looks like Morrison knew what he was doing -- he just successfully went for his leg and had a nice takedown on Tighe. Tighe escaped and play moved into the middle of the mat. But about 20 seconds later, MOrrison has yet another takedown on Tighe, moving the score to 6-4 with 30 seconds left. He will try to ride him out for the rest of the match to clinch the match. He is doing a great job -- Tighe is not even flailing on the bottom.
Winner at heavyweight - Morrison 6-4.
Gardner chooses the defensive to start the final period, and Decker jumps on his back to avoid the escape. However, Garnder still manages to escape Decker's hold and receives one point. The handfighting continues in the center of the mat. Decker goes for his opponents feet, but can't complete the takedown. Gardner is now holding his opponent on the mat. Decker receives a stall point. The wrestlers re-start in the neutral position and Garnder brings the wrestlers to the ground. 20 seconds remain in the match. A takedown is recorded by Gardner. An injury timeout is taken for Gardner. He seems to be ok, and returns to take the offensive position. Decker drives to his feet, but Gardner has him in a tight hold. THe match ends with Gardner winning, 6-3.
Decker takes the defensive to start the second period. After fighting his way to his feet, he records an escape. Both wrestlers are on their feet now, and are in a locked position. One minute remaining in the period. Neither wrestler is really taking a shot here at the end of the period. The period ends with the score tied 2-2.
The 197-pound match is now underway. Jack Decker is taking on Cody Gardner. Gardner records a takedown and is not letting Decker move. A timeout is taken on the mat.Decker takes the defensive position. He gets to his feet quickly, receiving the escape. Now the grapplers are handfighting and trying to make a move on the other. One minute remaining in the period. Not much action is taking place on the mat. 30 seconds remaining in the first period. The wrestlers back away from each other, but are quickly back into a close hold. The period ends with Gardner up 2-1.
And now for the match at 184. Matt Dodds is starting for Penn State, No. 2 Mike Pucillo for Ohio State. Pucillo quickly records a takedown, and Dodds responds with an escape. Pucillo is controlling the period as he brings Dodds down to the mat for another two points. In one minute, 35 seconds, Pucillo records a pin.
Wright starts the final period in the defensive and quickly scores the first points in the match with an escape. Rella responds just seconds later with a two-point takedown. Wright drives back to his feet to record another escape. Wrestlers off the mat, neutral. 1 minute remaining in the match. Wright picks his opponent up and both wrestlers are now on the mat. Wrestlers off the mat, neutral. 35 seconds remain in the match. The grapplers are handfighting, and Wright nearly records a takedown, but the wrestlers were off the mat. 15 seconds remaining and the score is tied. The match ends with a win by Wright, 3-2 once riding time was recorded.
Rella picks the defensive position to start the period, but Wright has him held down on the mat. Stalemate is called, and the crowd at Rec Hall erupts. Rella takes the defensive again. He tries to drive to his feet, but Wright is quick to bring him back down again. Wright has his opponent held on the mat again, and isn't letting Rella get up. 20 seconds remain in the period. Stall issued to Rella. The period comes to an end, and the score is still 0-0.
Now for an intersting match in State College as Quentin Wright takes on former NIttany Lion Dave Rella. Wright immediately gets the crowd involved as he attempts to complete a takedown. Wrestlers are handfighting in the middle of the mat. Rella tries to bring Wright's head down and bring him to the mat, but Wright counters his move. Wrestlers off the mat, just over one minute remaining. Wright drives his opponent's feet off the mat, but can't quite complete the takedown. 30 seconds remain in the match. Neither wrestler has done much here in the first period. The period ends with a score of 0-0.
The final period starts with a one-point escape from Sponseller, who selected the defensive position. The wrestlers are now handfightning, but Sponseller grabs hold of his opponent's leg and records a takedown. Vallimont escapes Sponseller's hold, and receives one point. Again, the wrestlers are handfighting, and Sponseller gets another takedown. 20 seconds remain in the match. Vallimont escapes his opponent once again. Wrestlers off the mat, neutral. The match ends with a win by Sponseller, 8-3.
The second period begins, and Vallimont starts in the defensive. A stalemate is quickly called. Sponseller picks up his opponent and brings him to the mat. He now has him held down, and Vallimont is trying to get back to his feet. Wrestlers off the mat, Vallimont takes the defensive. He stands up quickly, but Sponseller responds quickly. Vallimont receives one stall point. He is now trying to escape the hold of Sponseller, but Sponseller isn't letting him get away. Wrestlers off the mat, Vallimont takes the defensive. Vallimont stands up quickly, but Sponseller grabs hold of his leg and brings him back to the floor. 10 seconds remain in the period. The period ends with Sponseller up 2-1.
And now for the match at 165. Dan Vallimont and No. 2 Colt Sponseller are handfighting in the middle of the mat. Sponseller jabs brings Vallimont to the floor, but his opponent is responding with a strong counter attack. Wrestlers off the mat. Vallimont spins away from his opponent, and neither one can seem to take down the other. Sponseller gets Vallimont to the mat, but he quickly rises back up to his feet. 45 seconds remain in the match. Vallimont goes for his opponent's knees and gets him down to the mat, but can't seem to complete the take down. Sponseller now has Vallimont down on the mat, and he receives two points. Sponseller leads 2-0.
Questionably, Darling chose the defensive position something he hasn't seemed to have too much success with this evening. Johnstone is controlling the period, just trying to ride out the time. 20 seconds remain in the match. Darling is struggling to get out of his opponent's hold, but the match will end with a win by Johnstone, 9-4.
The second period begins with Darling somehow ending up in a "piggy-back" position on his opponent. Johnstone is driving Darling around the mat, trying to get the reversal, which he does eventually receive. Wrestlers off the mat, about one minute remaining in the second period. Darling takes the defensive and is struggling to flip Johnstone. There is no movement going on down on the mats, but a stalemate is called. Darling again takes the defensive. Johnstone is trying to drive his opponent into the mat, but Darling is countering his attack. 20 seconds remaining. The period ends with Johnstone up 8-4.
And the first match of the night is underway, Darling vs. No. 17 Jason Johnstone at 157 pounds. The wrestlers are in the middle of the mat intensly hand fighting. Johnstone tries to make a move, but Darling backs away. The wrestlers are now on the floor, but return quickly to their feet. Darling gets a takedown, and the fans can see the intensity from the freshman. Darling has his opponent held down on the mat, but Johnstone is working hard to get back to his feet. Darling wraps his arms around his legs, but Johnstone gets the escape. Darling responds almost immediately with a takedown. Darling has Johnstone held down on hte mat, but he fights back and gets 3 back points. 45 seconds are left in the period. Wrestlers off the mat. Darling takes the defensive position. Johnstone has Darling held on the mat, and there is not much movement going on. 20 seconds remain in the opening period. Johnstone grabs his opponent's feet and tries to flip him over, but can't quite complete the move. The period ends with Johnstone ahead 6-4.
Minutes before the opening match in the 157-pound weight class, Penn State's Tim Darling is getting pumped up. He looks energized and ready to go, as coach Troy Sunderland gives him what looks like a pep talk. He definitely looks ready to get back out on the mats.
Hello everybody. We are back for another weekend of wrestling action here in Rec Hall as the No. 22 Nittany Lions take on the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes. We are about 10 minutes away from the start here in State College, and I, Jocelyn, will be back to bring you the first five matches of tonight's dual meet.
I'll admit I was practically giddy. The almighty David Beckham was coming to America! Let soccer kick off in the US! Uummm..well that's how it was supposed to go.
England's royal soccer family hopped the pond more than a year ago to finally make "footy" popular in the States. Beckham was picked up by, who else, the L.A. Galaxy and definitely made a splash at first. Soccer was actually getting some attention, and he was the reason.
I personally had to take advantage of seeing one of the best to play the game, and it was awesome. I went to a game in a packed (for a soccer game, remember) Giants Stadium to see the Galaxy play the New York/New Jersey Red Bulls. I have been to a few MLS games before, but this one definitely surpassed it. Seeing Becks' famous bending free kicks was something you can only fully appreciate if you see it in person. Besides the hype around the star, the game was actually pretty good, a 5-4 win for the Red Bulls. Yes, there can be more to soccer than a dull stalemate.
Since then, the Galaxy and soccer have pretty much stayed the same here in America. Overseas, however, there was a lot of talk about the MLS and how Beckham was doing in it. I know my cousins in Portugal asked if he really was saving soccer. Sorry, but nothing like in Europe...not even close. They didn't seem surprised, and why should they? If you thought Beckham was going to make soccer popular in the United States, you're delusional. That will never happen, and that's coming from a huge soccer fan.
With that in mind, can you blame Beckham for his recent want to leave L.A. to stay in Milan, where he was been "rented out?" I wouldn't. He did what he could, but once he got a taste of top-shelf soccer again, he couldn't resist. Good for him. He and Posh Spice have enough money to buy an island, so you know he's doing it for the love of the game. He wants the competition, he wants to get back to the nitty gritty. After reading his biography this summer (I know I'm a dork like that), I know he's one athlete who isn't a sell-out. He may like beautiful women and nice clothes, but soccer is something he wouldn't compromise.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans it's Tom and Mike here with a new feature on Above the Net we're calling the "Penn State Pre" (unless you have a better idea then by all means leave it in the comments).
We'll give our opinion on the match up and let you know what to look for and how we believe the match will turn out and will have these throughout the season.
First Meeting: 1977
All Time: Penn State 27-0
Last Time: February 7, 2009 -- Penn State 3-0 (30-19, 30-26, 30-21)
Current Streak: Penn State (27)
Mike: Penn State and Springfield met a week ago and despite a 3-0 sweep, the Nittany Lions were not pleased. Errors and a lack of emotion allowed the Pride to stay close in each of the three sets.
After the match, the team acted as if it had lost, speaking to the level of play this program requires. The Lions worked on maintaining focus on volleyball in practice. The coaching staff might have even been a little tougher on them than in the previous weeks.
The Pride might come out thinking they can beat the Lions this time around, especially in front of their home crowd. But it's tough to see the No. 1 team in the country losing a week after playing poorly.
What To Look For: Nothing. Unless you're in Springfield, Mass., you won't have anything to look at.
Player of the Game: Max Holt. Holt was quiet a week ago against the Pride with only 4 kills on 9 attempts. Expect something more this time around from the All-American.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-22, 30-19, 30-25)
Tom: I expect Penn State to come out firing on all cylinders in this match, much like the Lions did in their EIVA opener against Juniata (which coincidentally followed an error-filled performance.
Following last week's match, senior Ryan Sweitzer was not happy in the least bit that Springfield got what he believed was a confidence boost from playing the Lions so tough.
"We know they're going be like 'Oh, we were close to Penn State, we can beat them' and that pisses me off," Sweitzer said. "A lot. So I want to go in there next week and destroy them in their home gym."
Penn State will flex its muscles throughout the match and win easily.
What to Look For: Penn State's dominant service attack. Penn State has out-aced its opponents 56-16 this season and should make use of Max Holt's and Will Price's heavy-hitting early and often.
Player of the Game: Ryan Sweitzer. The man just looked determined to get rid of the sour taste in his mouth last week. Look for a big night from the man everyone on the team calls "Sweitz".
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-20, 30-19, 30-27)
Penn State runs one last play for Grant, who tries to take it baseline. The shot misses, but the ball bounces around and ends up back in Grant's hands. She takes a fall-away shot that hangs around the front of the rim but doesn't go in. Minnesota gets the rebound and that's that.
This has to be a really tough loss for the Lady Lions. They looked very strong in the first half, but they let it slip away in the second. The losing streak is now at three as they hit the road for two road match-ups next week.
Emily Fox has to be the star of the evening for the Gophers, notching a game-high 22 points on a 10-for-14 shooting percentage. Three Lady Lions recorded double figures, led by Tyra Grant's 21.
Minnesota 63 - PSU 61, 15.3 seconds in 2nd half
Some nice Penn State defense forces Fox to heave a desperation three as the shot clock runs out. The shot misses and the Lady Lions get it back with about 32 seconds to go.
The team runs a play for Grant in the corner. She drives but Minnesota's all over it, triple-teaming her and forcing a bad shot. Voigt out-positions Wolff and the Gophers get it back.
Williams fouls right away and Fox misses the front end of her shots, keeping Penn State within just two points.
Minnesota 62 - PSU 61, 1:04 in 2nd half
Shot clock winding down, Monroe forces a pass in to Lewis. It's stolen away and Emily Fox drains her 20th and 21st points of the evening. She's lighting it up, shooting 10-for-12 form the field.
Lewis sets a nice pick for Grant, who notches her 21st point and ties the game. Some good defense forces a Minnesota travel, but some better defense steals the ball back from Mashea Williams. And Minnesota goes back to the line on Janessa Wolff's fourth foul. Ellis-Milan makes one of two, enough to give the lead back to the Gophers.
Wolff started out tonight ripping it up from the field, but she's really cooled down in the second half. She has no points this period, going 0-for-4.
Some weird stuff going on on a Penn State miss and Grant tips it out of bounds, but there should have been a foul called on Minnesota. The refs let Penn State keep it, but Minnesota steals it back and Ellis-Milan stretches the lead to three.
Wolff gets fouled going up and finally gets her 10th point of the game. She gets both shots and Penn State is back to within one.
PSU 57 - Minnesota 57, 3:28 in 2nd half
Minnesota is swarming Penn State once its guards cross halfcourt. It's part of what's helped the Gophers get back in this one. The Lady Lions get around this one, and Williams goes to the line, hitting both and giving her 10 on the game.
Minnesota is still straight money from the foul line, as Buford hits another pair. Janessa Wolff throws the ball to Voigt, who starts a transition break that sends Ellis-Milan back to the stripe. She misses the back end, but Voigt gets the board. Williams does a great job defending Brittany McCoy, forcing her to take a bad angle on a lay-up, miss the rim and draw a 24-second violation.
PSU 55 - Minnesota 54, 5:15 in 2nd half
Grant and Fox trade baskets once again, making it 17 points apiece for the two scoring leaders. Lewis goes back to the line for Penn State, missing her first but connecting on the second. Fox makes some moves and hits a jumper. Following a Penn State miss, Fox and Grant collide at midcourt, giving the ball back to the Lady Lions.
Lewis ends up with it and goes back to the stripe. She line-drives the first off the back of the rim then misses the second as well. She is the one for the Gophers to hack as she is now 1-for-6 from the foul line tonight.
Grant gets the lead back the next time down though, hitting a nice jumper. O'Rourke then draws a charge while Minnesota is in transition. She cries out in excitement on the floor, clapping her hands as her teammates come over to help her up.
PSU 50 - Minnesota 50, 7:47 in 2nd half
Mashea Williams gets a nice steal but the Lady Lions can't convert it into points on the other end. The Gophers go to the foul line once again and Kiara Buford hits one of two. Minnesota is now 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Evelyn Lewis gets a chance at a three-point play to put Penn State back in the lead but misses it. Wolff gets the board but can't put it in, and Renee Womack is called for an over-the-back. The Lady Lions are 3-for-7 from the foul line.
Penn State's doing the job defensively but can't hit the transition baskets. Williams leads a fast break and tries forcing low to Wolff, but the pass goes out of bounds.
Gray jersey status: Maybe the team used up all the luck getting those 16 first-half turnovers.
Minnesota 49 - PSU 48, 10:00 in 2nd half
O'Rourke turns it over in the paint, leading to Kay Sylva being wide open on the Minnesota wing. She nails it, and the game is tied again. O'Rourke makes up for it with a nice drive next time down.
Minnesota's turning on the rebounding jets as Sylva grabs her own miss. The ball gets out to Jackie Voigt, who hits a go-ahead three.
Gray jersey status: Officially out of luck. The turnover battle now goes as follows: Minnesota 16, Penn State 11. It's not as much an advantage anymore.
PSU 46 - Minnesota 44, 11:44 in 2nd half
Following a pair of made free throws by Ohm, O'Rourke drives the lane and feeds Monroe, who gets it to go. But a tough down-low effort by Zoe Harper keeps Penn State's lead at two.
Janessa Wolff misses a lay-up and then a jumper, but Evelyn Lewis cleans up her miss. Lewis now has five rebounds. But a quick bucket by Fox and a pair of foul shots in the next possession, Minnesota ties it up. Grant quickly swings it back to Penn State with a sweet touch on a runner in the lane.
The Gopher defense is getting tougher this half, as Grant is trapped by two players, forcing a jump ball.
Gray jersey status: Indifferent. Emily Fox is heating up, now tied with Tyra Grant with 15 points.
PSU 38 - Minnesota 34, 15:51 in 2nd half
Not a good showing at the start of the second half. Mashea Williams forces a bad jumper, then the defense puts up a good stand until a breakdown rebounding gives Minnesota two free throws. O'Rourke gets the team out of the funk by driving the length of the court for a lay-up.
Katie Ohm hits one from three, but Tyra Grant finds Meredith Monroe wide open down low on the other end for a quick two. But Brittany McCoy gets fouled in the paint, giving Minnesota two more from the charity stripe.
Grant tries to get the ball into Wolff but Minnesota's defense is looking good thus far. The ball works around the perimeter and back to Grant, who misses the trey, but Monroe is there under the bucket. She goes to the foul line and misses both shots. The team is 3-for-6 from the foul line, whereas the Gophers are 4-for-6. Not much of a difference yet, but Minnesota has already gone to the line three times this half.
Gray jersey status: Less lucky. Minnesota is starting to take it strong to the bucket, hitting Penn State where they hurt (free-throw disparity) and taking the luck out of the threads.
PSU 34 - Minnesota 28, end of 1st half
Wolff gets a steal, tosses it up to Williams in transition. She misses the lay-in, but Monroe is there for clean-up. Minnesota looks visibly frustrated by Penn State's defense.
The Gophers are staying in this one by hitting some threes here and there. Fox just hit one to pull the lead back down to seven, but Grant answers on the other end to negate it. Jackie Voigt then commits another offensive foul, which is becoming quite the norm for Minnesota.
Penn State turns it over a few times trying to attack the rim. Meanwhile, Ellis-Milan hits a baseline J and gets a lay-up to lower the deficit to six. But the Lady Lions are looking good so far, and Tyra Grant's 13 points so far pulls her to within nine of 1,300 points for her career.
Gray jersey status: Lucky, but Coquese Washington should replenish the serum in the unis at the half. It may be running a bit low.
PSU 29 - Minnesota 21, 2:54 in 1st half
OK, so it was really only two straight turnovers by Minnesota. Fox did hit a jumper in between slumps. Still, the Gophers have 13 turnovers in the first half.
Evelyn Lewis grabs a couple nice offensive boards before Grant nails a trey to extend the lead to double-digits. Minnesota gets one bucket in response and almost gets another in transition, but McCoy can't hit the lay-up and Fox is called for traveling. That last one was really close.
O'Rourke dishes to Grant as the shot clock runs out, but Grant launches the three in time and kisses it off the glass. The crowd goes nuts and Ty pumps her fist. Did she call that? She now has 10 points.
Penn State's post defense is tenacious. Minnesota tried lobbing it into Zoe Harper, but Lewis and Monroe sandwiched her and swatted the pass out of bounds.
Gray jersey status: Still lucky, especially on Janessa Wolff. She has nine points on 4-for-4 shooting so far.
PSU 22 - Minnesota 16, 7:00 in 1st half
Grant tries to take it strong to the hole, but there's too much traffic. Monroe and Renee Womack fight for the loose ball, but it ends up in Minnesota's hands. Fortunately for Penn State, McCoy travels.
The Lady Lions run a pretty nice inbounds play, although Wolff nearly throws it away at the start. O'Rourke eventually gets it and drives before kicking it out to Wolff, who drains a long-range two. Wolff gets two more next time down off a ridiculous banker with the shot clock winding down. Hey, did she call that?
Minnesota gets its third straight turnover, this time off an offensive foul. That's nine already this game, and we just dipped under nine minutes to play in the opening stanza. After the teams trade baskets, Grant is called for traveling, giving Penn State four turnovers.
Another offensive foul and the Lady Lions have the ball again. Wolff is white hot, nailing another jumper. It looked like that play was designed to get her open. This is a very good sign for Penn State, which normally relies solely on Tyra Grant and Brianne O'Rourke.
Oh, and don't forget Mashea Williams, who intercepts a cross-court pass and gets a transition lay-up.
Gray jersey status: Leprechaun lucky. Minnesota had five straight possessions result in turnovers. Enough said.
PSU 12 - Minnesota 12, 11:44 in 1st half
Wolff stuffs Ellis-Milan as she tries to post up. Kay Sylva's three attempt is deflected by Lewis. After O'Rourke misses a lay-up, Sylva is fouled going for a lay-up by Williams.
After Sylva misses her second free throw, there's a loose ball on Penn State's possession. Grant does a nice job chasing it down and saving it at half-court, sliding across the scorer's table. O'Rourke penetrates and draws a shooting foul, hitting both shots.
Penn State's looking good defensively, just off forcing a shot-clock violation. The Lady Lions are keeping the ball out of the post, as Lewis and Meredith Monroe are all over Ellis-Milan. However, the Gophers hit threes on two straight possessions, and Coquese Washington calls timeout.
Gray jersey status: Still lucky, but starting to wear off. If the grays can start hitting their shots, then the luck will be officially back.
PSU 8 - Minnesota 5, 15:03 in 1st half
Brianne O'Rourke was honored before the national anthem for recording her 1,000th point Sunday. The crowd gave her a nice standing ovation as O'Rourke and her parents received flowers from coach Coquese Washington.
The Lady Lions are breaking out the grays once again, just as they did for the Wisconsin game two weeks ago. The players said they'd want to wear them again, and so here they are. Let's see if they're as lucky this time around.
In the opening minute, uniforms = unlucky. Mashea Williams drives to the hole but can't finish a contested lay-up. Minnesota gets some rebounds on a couple weird bounces on missed 3-pointers, but eventually Penn State gets it back. O'Rourke drives to the hoop but she can't hit the lay-in either.
It's Janessa Wolff who gets the first points for Penn State off an assist by O'Rourke. But Minnesota answers the other way with a trey by McCoy. Williams answers within a few seconds with a lay-up.
Minnesota is jacking up 3-ball after 3-ball. The Gophers' first five shots have all been from downtown. So far this is a good thing for the Lady Lions as Minnesota is 1-for-5. But five and a half minutes into the half, Fox drives and nails a nice pull-up J.
Tyra Grant hits a jumper in the paint and Katie Ohm is called for traveling before the first media timeout.
Gray jersey status: Lucky. Minnesota already has three turnovers, while Penn State has none.
* * * * * *
It seems like forever ago that Tyra Grant nailed a turnaround jumper at the final buzzer in overtime to beat Wisconsin. Her 32-point performance Jan. 22 was the last Lady Lion home game, and after losing two games last week on the road, Penn State is sure glad to be back in Happy Valley.
Hey everybody, Dan here bringing you all the action from the Bryce Jordan Center. It's the second meeting this year between Penn State and Minnesota. The first time -- New Year's Day -- five Golden Gophers scored in double-figures and Ashley Ellis-Milan recorded a double-double as Penn State fell, 69-55.
The Lady Lions will be without forward Julia Trogele, who suffered an ankle sprain Sunday against Iowa. Replacing her in the starting lineup will be Janessa Wolff.
Here are the rest of the starting lineups:
Penn State: G Tyra Grant, G Brianne O'Rourke, G Mashea Williams, F Evelyn Lewis, F Janessa Wolff
Minnesota: G Emily Fox, G Brittany McCoy, G Katie Ohm, F Jackie Voigt, F/C Ashley Ellis-Milan
But Indy fans shouldn't be too psyched about the prospects of a winning streak. Their team's next game? A trip to East Lansing on Saturday, the sight of Michigan State's annihilation of Minnesota last night.
You had to figure the Spartans would come out of the gate flying after dropping two straight home games. Sure enough, they did, opening the game on a 13-1 run before winning by a final of 76-47.
The Minnesota loss puts Penn State into a three-way tie for second place in the conference. The Lions are joined by Purdue and Illinois, and will have three games left against those opponents in the second half of Big Ten play.
But first and foremost on the Nits' agenda is Michigan, starting at 7 tonight on the Big Ten Network.
This weekend, an old teammate will make his way back into Rec Hall for a chance to earn a victory for his new team.
Dave Rella, current junior at Ohio State, started off his career at Penn State. The Akron, Ohio native was the seventh seed at last year's Big Ten Tournament for the Lions and ended up finishing fourth.
Rella transferred to OSU after his sophomore year at Penn State, and seems to be enjoying the new atmosphere.
He is 15-8 this season at the 174-pound weight class for the Buckeyes and is part of a No. 6 Buckeyes team that will contend for a national title this season.
Check out this video from Flo Wrestling, an interview in which he describes what his intentions were for transferring, among other items. (credit last year's wrestling writer Travis Johnson for showing me this video)
I know I wasn't alone, but it sure seemed like it. I have a confession and I have stood by it since Day 1. This summer, I was rooting against Michael Phelps.
I got some looks, some "how could you's," and a difference of opinion from my mom who watched every Phelps gold with near tears. My reasoning? Too much hype. He overshadowed every other swimmer and the games as a whole. Sure, I respect the guy for being a beast in the water but the media was completely obsessed. Thanks, but I don't need reminders of what Phelps eats in a day while watching volleyball. It didn't stop after the Olympics with VISA, Rosetta Stone and arguably the worst athlete host of SNL.
And now, the media will reap what it sewed. If you haven't heard, the almighty Phelps was caught in the act when News of the World, a British tabloid, printed a picture of him hitting a bong at a South Carolina party in November. Let the madness ensue. The story was released on Super Bowl Sunday, the most holiest of days in the sports world, and a swimmer was to blame. Not just any swimmer, obviously. But the same one who nearly everyone was behind, and now it's the media's turn to eat some of its words.
During the Olympics, Phelps was praised for overcoming his ADD, and his mom became an example of strength and patience. That was the Phelps story we saw a million times. Every once in a blue moon, there would be a segment of how Phelps was charged with a DUI. Surprise, surprise, he apologized and gave the PR answer that's spit out from every celebrity that gets caught doing something illegal. And for a time, he was forgiven. After all, he was America's hero just four years later. His whole little DUI incident didn't get much play.
But could his fans forgive him again? Well, he apologized aaaagain, the same way he did four years ago. He's getting a talking to from the USOC, but swimming's governing body backed him up and accepted his apology. He is swimming's ticket to the big time.
Whatever comes of the Phelps' scandal, I could only hope there will be a little less excitement in 2012. Phelps is human, but in his position he is going to have to be held to a higher standard. He's not the second coming of Christ, and this situation will just prove that.
The free fall through the national rankings continues for the Penn State wrestling team.
The Nittany Lions have now fallen 15 spots since the preseason rankings. In the latest USA Today/Intermat/NWCA Poll, the Nittany Lions are No. 22; a far cry from the No. 7 spot they held earlier in the season. This is the biggest drop in rank out of all teams in the nation.
Of course injuries and setbacks are probably the biggest reason for this fall, but the Lions (7-8-2) are not content at all to continue falling.
Here's a look at the Lions ranked individually at each weight class:
125-pound weight class:
Brad Pataky, currently ranked No. 13, was No. 17 last week
133-pound weight class:
Jake Strayer, currently ranked No. 9, was No. 11 last week
149-pound weight class:
Bubba Jenkins, currently ranked No. 2, was No. 2 last week
165-pound weight class:
Dan Vallimont, currently ranked No. 20, wasn't ranked at 165 pounds last week. Was No. 9 at 157.
174-pound weight class:
Quentin Wright, currently ranked No. 16, was No. 16 last week as well
My alarm clock went off at 7 a.m., and I was pumped. When I have adrenaline for something, it doesn't really matter how much sleep I've had...I could be fully into whatever I'm excited about.
I hopped into the shower in a good mood, not too upset that my roommate was going to sleep six more hours than I was going to.
The night before (about five hours ago at 7 a.m.), I had spent an extended period of time researching and preparing to ask questions at the 8 a.m. wrestling practice.
Mark Perry was my subject, and I had watched both of his NCAA-championship-winning bouts, in addition to reading many blog posts and articles about the current assistant coach for the Lions. I had then come up with about 15 questions I wanted to ask the former 165-pounder.
Based on my research and my ability to ask follow-up questions, I had prepared myself enough to get the best possible story I could from Perry.
So I got to the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex at 7:55 a.m., just in time to meet Jocelyn so we can go into the wrestling room. As soon as I walked inside, however, I was met by a dark and desolate room. Nobody was inside. There was no practice.
It's like a baseball pitcher who pours over a scouting report for hours and hours before he is supposed to pitch, only to have the game postponed due to rain, and his start pushed back.
A feeling of emptiness and overall "blah"-ness overcame my body. Why the hell was I awake so early? What was I going to do now? I wasn't even tired and wouldn't be able to go back to sleep.
But hey, the great thing about covering the wrestling team is open practices. It's not like football, where you can never even touch the players at practice.
All this means is I will follow the same routine tomorrow -- trek up Burrowes Street to get to Rec Hall for 8 a.m. practice. (This time, I confirmed they will be practicing)
After all, a pitcher doesn't freak out about not pitching despite all his preparation.
It's for the love of the game.
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Universal Studios is behind the horror and has tabbed the director of "21" to take the helm. Personally, I think this is horrible. Slap Shot is such a classic, and it will now be tarnished by some crappy remake. Now, you might say, "It could turn out fine." But lemme ask, how many times has a remake of a sports film turned out for the best?
"The Longest Yard" remake with Adam Sandler was more like "The Longest Yawn." And watching Billy Bob Thornton starring in a remake of "The Bad News Bears" was just bad news for everyone in attendance.
I can see no way this will turn out to be a faithful and equally as funny remake. Even bringing back Newman from the dead will not get me to go see this movie when it comes out.
Following wins over Juniata, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Springfield, Penn State yet again takes the top spot in this week's poll.
However, looking at the poll, there was a bit of a shock for me. Cal State Northridge, who opened the season 6-0 with two wins against UCLA (ranked eighth), two wins against UC Santa Barbara (ranked tenth), a win against Stanford (ranked sixth) and a win against UC Irvin e(ranked third)
Following that impressive start, the Matadors dropped two matches to No. 11 Hawaii 3-2 and 3-1 and dropped to 6-2 on the year.
Now I'm not sure if this was the Matadors' schedule catching up to them or just Cal State Northridge falling back to earth but we'll be sure to keep our eyes on the Matadors throughout the season.
1. Penn State (16), 240, 7-0, 1
2. Pepperdine, 220, 8-0, 3
3. UC Irvine, 202, 8-2, T-4
4. Cal State Northridge, 183, 6-2, 2
5. Southern California, 178, 5-2, T-4
6. Stanford, 164, 6-3, 6
7. Long Beach State, 148, 4-3, 7
8. UCLA, 130, 4-5, 8
9. BYU, 112, 5-4, 9
10. UC Santa Barbara, 94, 3-5, 10
11. Hawaii, 88, 3-6, 12
12. Ohio State, 62, 3-4, 13
13. Ball State, 38, 1-3, NR
14. Lewis, 23, 3-2, 11
15. UC San Diego, 15, 3-5, NR
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Saint Francis 10; George Mason 6; IPFW 5.
Dropped out: Saint Francis (T-14); Loyola-Chicago (T-14)
Penn State's 72-68 win against Michigan State Sunday officially marked the end of the first half of the Big Ten season. Currently, the Nittany Lions are 6-3 and in a four-way tie for second in the conference along with Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue. The latter half of the 18-game conference slate starts Feb. 5 at Michigan. But before the Lions hop on a plane and head for Ann Arbor, we present to you a first half evaluation of the team.
Starting backcourt - A-
No backcourt is better in the conference. Led by Big Ten player of the year candidate Talor Battle, the Lions provide major matchup problems for opposing teams. When Battle isn't driving, dishing or shooting, Stanley Pringle is. Simply put, the Lions haven't lost when Battle and Pringle have both turned in strong performances.
Starting frontcourt - B-
If we handed out individual grades, Jamelle Cornley would get an A. But Jeff Brooks and Andrew Jones hardly give anything on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, they hit the glass hard, but neither is a viable shot blocker underneath the basket. Brooks has settled in as the starter at the three spot, but only after D.J. Jackson and Danny Morrissey couldn't find consistency.
Bench - D
Absolutely dreadful. Six bench points in the last two games is putrid, and there's no indication that number will increase in the next nine games. Morrissey has been the only sparkplug coach Ed DeChellis can bring in the game, but streaky shooting won't earn him minutes. Morrissey always gives it his all, and the senior has played a lot of basketball to be a key member of this team. But even this team cannot be successful much longer if only six guys score.
Coaching - B+
DeChellis wants no credit, but we're gonna give him some anyway. Keeping a young team level-headed as the season's gone on takes the right kind of coach, and it appears DeChellis fits the bill. DeChellis said no matter how big a win may seem, the approach, film study and practice heading into the next game remains the same. Newcomer Lewis Preston gets kudos here as well. Preston mainly works with the big men, which have been a big reason the Lions have the second largest rebounding margin in the conference. Come March, Preston's experience could play an even bigger role because he was on Billy Donovan's bench when Florida won the NCAA title in 2007.
First half offensive MVP - Talor Battle
He's in the conference top 10 in points, assists, steals, 3-pointers, assist-to-turnover ratio, defensive rebounding and minutes. His career-high 29 points Feb. 1 at Michigan State was like an exclamation point on the first half of the Big Ten season. Barring any type of injury or major slump, Battle not only gets our MVP, he gets the Big Tens', too.
First half defensive MVP - Stanley Pringle
Pringle is DeChellis' best on-ball defender, and he's responsible for guarding the Big Ten's best guards. Against Michigan on Jan. 20, he held Manny Harris, the Big Ten's second-leading scorer, to just four points. Too bad we'll never know how he does against the league's top scorer outside the practice gym.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has already become the winningest coach in college basketball history, but these nice even numbers never get old for the general public.
Summitt is now one win away from career win No. 1,000. Her Lady Volunteers fell short of attaining it Monday night, losing 80-70 in an out-of-conference game against Oklahoma, but this is only a matter of time.
Summitt's 34 years at Tennessee have been riddled with success after success. She has posted a record of 999-187, a winning percentage of .842. She has won eight national championships in Knoxville and has won the last two NCAA Tournament crowns.
The seven-time NCAA coach of the year, Summitt has an NCAA Tournament record of 104-19, a winning percentage of .846. ESPN and other media market repeatedly lay praises on Summitt for a reason: She is simply the best in the business, and hopefully she continues her assault on the record books.
Her next opportunity at 1,000 victories comes Thursday against 15-7 Georgia, and this one's on her home court. It's more fitting this way for the most successful coach in collegiate history.
Without further ado, here is the latest Associated Press poll:
1. Connecticut 21-0
2. Oklahoma 18-2
3. California 18-2
4. Duke 17-2
5. Louisville 20-2
6. Auburn 21-1
7. Stanford 17-4
8. Baylor 17-3
9. North Carolina 19-3
10. Texas A&M 17-3
For the eighth straight week, the only Big Ten team in the Top-25 is Ohio State, this week sitting at No. 14. The Buckeyes lead the conference standings by a game and a half over Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State.
Ohio State will have to fight this week to keep that top spot. It hosts Purdue on Thursday and then travels to Michigan State on Sunday.
At 3-7, the Lady Lions are in eighth place, a half game ahead of Michigan and a full game behind Wisconsin.
Coming into this weekend, Frank Molinaro had the potential to showcase the hard work he's been putting in.
After Thursday's practice, Molinaro told me he was pumped to go after his two opponents, No. 8-ranked Mike Thorn of Minnesota and No. 1 Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin. He felt that his weight was where he wanted it to be after a tough week of practice.
"These next two weeks are going to be a real tough swing for him," head coach Troy Sunderland said Friday.
Thorn defeated Molinaro 12-5 on Friday and Tanelli won by technical fall Sunday, 22-7.
The coaching staff was not pleased with Molinaro's effort in both these matches. After beating teammate Jake Strayer at the 141-pound wrestle-off earlier in the season, assistant coach Mark Perry said Molinaro proved he is capable of beating high-quality opponents.
"Strayer has thrashed the guys that he's losing to," Perry said. "He needs to step it up, definitely.
"I'm real disappointed with the way he's been performing. It's not acceptable and he needs to snap out of it."
When asked about Molinaro's performance this weekend, Sunderland shook his head and paused before giving an answer.
After Molinaro's loss Friday, Perry was adament about how Molinaro needs to "answer the bell" Sunday.
"It's time to quit feeling sorry for yourself and grow up," Perry said. "He's got the No. 1 guy in the country, who is from New Jersey. Frankie is from New Jersey. It's a big test for him. He's a freshman, and it usually takes one circumstance whether it's in the practice room or in a match that can change a kid's career.
"It's really time for him to answer the bell. He's as good as that kid, he's as good as the number one guy in the country. He's just got to believe it."
Perry also said he believes that if Strayer was at the 141-pound weight class, then he would win NCAAs. Although he does think the senior will win at 133, he knows that Molinaro must take a page out of Strayer's book -- trust his coaches and follow a gameplan.
"He didn't follow the gameplan," Perry said of Molinaro. "We're not mad at him, we just want him to succeed as much as he wants to succeed. We don't like losing and he doesn't like losing."
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For the fourth straight week, there's a new No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll. UConn gained 64 of the 72 first-place votes to move up to the top spot.
More relevant, however, is the Nittany Lions receiving 37 votes, technically making them ranked No. 29.
Penn State also received 13 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll, good for No. 32.
Michigan State fell four spots to No. 13, one behind the Big Ten's highest-ranked team, No. 12 Purdue, which moved up four spots.
Minnesota got back in at No. 19 after its shellacking of Illinois, which is now down to No. 23.
Ohio State received three votes.
AP Top 25
1. Connecticut (64) 20-1 1,792 2
2. Oklahoma (5) 21-1 1,691 4
3. North Carolina (3) 19-2 1,639 5
4. Duke 19-2 1,563 1
5. Louisville 17-3 1,464 7
6. Pittsburgh 19-2 1,427 3
7. Wake Forest 17-2 1,409 6
8. Marquette 19-2 1,358 8
9. Xavier 19-2 1,176 10
10. Clemson 18-2 1,077 12
11. Butler 19-1 1,051 13
12. Purdue 17-4 961 16
13. Michigan St. 17-4 876 9
14. Memphis 18-3 798 18
15. UCLA 17-4 787 17
16. Texas 15-5 724 11
17. Villanova 17-4 698 21
18. Gonzaga 16-4 632 20
19. Minnesota 18-3 426 --
20. Syracuse 17-5 415 15
21. Kansas 17-4 316 --
22. Washington 16-5 216 23
23. Illinois 18-4 198 19
24. Arizona St. 16-5 146 14
25. Utah St. 21-1 99 --
Others receiving votes: Dayton 95, Davidson 85, Missouri 39, Penn St. 37, LSU 36, South Carolina 33, West Virginia 33, UNLV 29, Florida 24, Providence 14, Southern Cal 8, Notre Dame 7, Kansas St. 4, Siena 4, Northeastern 3, Ohio St. 3, Arizona 2, Kentucky 2, Florida St. 1, N. Iowa 1, VMI 1.
The day has come and gone and the Steelers are Super Bowl Champions once again. Let the debates begin.
First, is Ben Roethlisberger worthy of being added to the name of greats? At 23, he won his first Super Bowl and second just three years later. His numbers are pretty impressive, but is he better than Tom Brady, Brett Favre or Peyton Manning? Nah. For some reason, Big Ben doesn't get the love as much as these other guys. He's accomplished more than some of them already, but many would argue he can't stack up to them. Don't ask me why, because I can't really give you that answer. All I do know is that I would have to agree. When you think of great quarterbacks in the NFL, the guy from Pittsburgh isn't totally on my radar screen. Now, maybe that's because I'm an NFC gal, but that's just the way I see it.
However, if Roethlisberger can produce a game like he did yesterday, he should be given some more attention. He's 26, he'll have time to develop into one of those big names. As of now, he's practically still a kid but with a hell of a lot of potential. Sure, his numbers weren't as good as Kurt Warner's but it's the final score that counts, as cliche as that is. In the Super Bowl, anything and everything will happen, which leads me to the catch.
Another dilemma. David Tyree's helmet, physics-defying catch or Santonio Holmes' perfect, game-ending snag? Now, I will say the first three quarters of SB XLII and XLIII weren't the most thrilling. I'm OK with that. Last night, my group of friends were more concerned with catching Miller Lite's one-second ad than how the snoozefest was playing out. (On a side note, I'd like to say the commercials also weren't totally entertaining. Although there were some gems.) But here's the clincher in the catch debate. Tyree's catch made Super Bowl XLII one of the best, if not the best, ever.
We're so quick to judge which SB is best but at least in my life time, there still hasn't been anything to top last year. The Steelers were supposed to beat the Cardinals...handily. They didn't even cover the spread of 7. Take what you can get in the Super Bowl and the Steelers certainly deserved it after clutch plays like Harrison's pick 6 and Holmes' catch. It was a fantastic fourth quarter, but it didn't beat Eli Manning's sudden slick maneuvering in the pocket and Tyree's improbable shining moment. It didn't match the Wild Card Giants beating the "dynasty," one-win-away-from-perfect New England Patriots.
Congratulations Steeler fans. Your team has the most Super Bowl wins in history and deservedly so, but best Super Bowl ever? I don't think so.
I'm about 12 hours later on this than normal, but that's what happens when you're glued to the TV the entire day. Between waking up at 3:30 in the morning to watch another classic Nadal/Federer duel, the Penn State-Michigan State game in the afternoon and the Super Bowl at night, it was quite a sports day.
And with an enormous win in East Lansing on Sunday, the Nittany Lions' NCAA tournament resume is looking much better. As of Sunday evening, CollegeRPI.com had Penn State up to No. 66 in the RPI, up another nine spots from last week. So once again, here is a rundown of Penn State's opponents' results from the past week (Jan. 26 - Feb. 1).
-William & Mary... L 69-56 vs. Towson, L 58-51 vs. Georgia State
-NJIT...L 73-67 vs. MD-Eastern Shore, L 85-69 at Chicago State
-Hartford... L 59-50 at Albany, L 72-47 vs. Boston U.
-New Hampshire... W 71-60 at Stony Brook, L 83-39 vs. Vermont
-Penn...W 66-60 at Harvard, L 63-60 at Dartmouth
-Rhode Island... W 67-59 vs. Temple, W 98-88 vs. La Salle
-Towson... W 69-56 at William & Mary, L 60-53 vs. Drexel
-Georgia Tech... W 76-74 vs. Wake Forest
-Temple... L 67-59 at Rhode Island, W 74-65 vs. Richmond
-Army... W 57-56 vs. Lafayette, W 76-65 vs. Bucknell
-Mount St. Mary's... W 60-42 at Quinnipiac, W 65-51 vs. Wagner
-Lafayette... L 57-56 at Army, L 78-65 at American
-Sacred Heart... W 71-51 vs. St. Francis (NY), W 77-69 vs. Cent. Conn. State
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 7-2 (17-4)
2. Purdue 6-2 (17-4)
3. Minnesota 6-3 (18-3)
3. Illinois 6-3 (18-4)
3. Penn State 6-3 (17-5)
6. Ohio State 5-4 (15-5)
7. Northwestern 4-5 (12-7)
8. Michigan 4-6 (14-8)
9. Wisconsin 3-6 (12-9)
10. Iowa 2-7 (12-10)
11. Indiana 0-8 (5-15)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record:108-164
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 140-69
Total Opponents' Record: 248-233
Amazingly, last week turned out to be a strong week for Penn State's non-conference opponents, who collectively went 14-12. The big news of course was down in Atlanta, where Georgia Tech shocked the college basketball world with an upset of Wake Forest -- who had just beaten Duke earlier in the week. Like Penn State, the Ramblin' Wreck had the week off before pulling off a weekend upset. While it won't have a big effect on Penn State's RPI, Iman Shumpert's last-second jumper to win makes Georgia Tech look a bit more respectable at least. After all, it entered the game without a win in the ACC.
Elsewhere, Rhode Island emerged victorious in the Atlantic 10 clash of teams that beat Penn State. The Rams beat Temple by eight Wednesday night despite Dionte Christmas scoring 27 points. Both teams sit toward the front-end of the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10, which is being controlled by Xavier.
And finally, NJIT got back to its losing ways -- although the Highlanders did keep it close against 6-12 Maryland-Eastern Shore.
In the Big Ten, the big news of the week was obviously Penn State's win at the Breslin Center Sunday, as it marked the Spartans' second consecutive home loss (the last being Northwestern).
The oddest score of the week had to be Thursday's showdown between Illinois and Minnesota, as the Fighting Illini managed just 36 points in a 23-point loss. The Golden Gophers led 22-16 at the half, but at least they had a respectable second half. The Illini finished the game a shooting a miserable 15-for-51 from the field, and no one on the team scored in double figures.
Also, at this point Wisconsin may be CBI bound. With a one-point loss to Purdue and a three-point loss to Northwestern, the Badgers have now dropped six straight and have faded into the back of the Big Ten pack.
Exactly 365 days ago, No. 8 Michigan State left the Bryce Jordan Center 85-76 losers against a Penn State team that seemingly had nothing left to play for.
(I know it was Feb. 2, but 2008 was a leap year.)
The Nittany Lions iced that contest by hitting 16 of their final 20 free throws. Today, the Lions' 1-for-8 showing at the charity stripe during one stretch in the closing minutes almost prevented them from pulling off another upset of the Spartans. Ultimately, their 12-point lead with as little as 4:15 to go proved too much for Michigan State to overcome in the 72-68 decision.
All season long the Achilles heel of this team has been free throws, and my colleagues and I were just wondering if and when it would ever come back to bite them. Needless to say, we were chatting it up as we saw Spartans coach Tom Izzo decide to foul Penn State early. The strategy proved smart, and would have been labeled genius had Kalin Lucas, who was automatic all-season (84-for-106) from the line, not clanked his potential tying free throw with 12 seconds left. Lucas, ironically, was 8-for-8 on the afternoon until that miss.
But as Tom Izzo said post-game, the game was not won or lost on Lucas' attempt. The Lions simply looked like the better team today, erasing a 13-point first half deficit in the blink of an eye before taking control of the second half and building a 12-point cushion.
Just how good were the Lions offensively today? They shot 56 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. Of course, that was almost all for naught because of their 47 percent showing from the stripe.
I found this forum particularly entertaining after the Iowa comeback last week.
One last note. Last night I made mention of the 12-point spread to Mink. His reply? "I'm guessing Penn State is the underdog?"
Sure enough, that conversation resurfaced after Talor Battle's layup made it 68-56 with 6:51 remaining.
Anyway, be sure to read Mink's FRONT-PAGE gamer in tomorrow's Collegian. Who would have thought Penn State would ever have a basketball team stealing headlines on a Super Bowl Sunday featuring a Pennsylvania team?
It happens in every sport, and we know it every year. There will only be two teams in the championship game, and of course just one winner. What are the odds our beloved team is in the mix? Don't bet on it.
But that fact takes a different twist when you're at a place like Penn State. It already happened earlier this academic year. The Phillies made an improbable run to the mecca of baseball, the World Series. And actually won, for crying out loud! Maybe that one was a little different. Just a season after notching their 10,000 all-time loss, a World Series win was a nice little gift for the fans of Philadelphia. Hence, the miniature riot on Beaver Avenue. I can handle that.
But then there's this little game going on today. The Steelers are now going for their sixth championship and second in the past four years. There already was a celebration three years ago.
But what are the rest of us supposed to do? The Super Bowl is practically a national holiday. If you're a football fan, you're going to pick a team in the big game even if your team isn't one of them. But let's face it, in a place like this it's not as fun.
We all want our team playing for the Lombardi trophy, but it's salt on the wound when you're literally surrounded by fans of a team that is actually in the Super Bowl. Hence, my experience last night.
Now, I know very well my apartment isn't quiet in the slightest. Weekend or not, there is always people singing/yelling/running in the streets amid the frequent fire trucks passing by. But when my head hit the pillow last night at around 2:30 a.m. I heard that all too familiar beat. "Here we go Steelers, Here we go." And again, and again, and again. Some nearby apartment was excited for "Dem Steez," and they were going to sing all night long. For a while, I thought they were. The chant continued for 15 minutes straight..no joke. Just when I thought it was over, there was that reminder that "Pittsburgh is going to the Superrrr Bowl." I'm sure it helped some of us make the start of the Federer-Nadal Aussie Open at least!
I'm impressed with the enthusiasm, but it's one of the things us out of staters envy. Last year, the Giants won arguably the most unexpected Super Bowl ever. There I was, with my fellow G-Men friends, going crazy. We took to the streets and drove around beeping our horn. But unlike those celebrations for the Steelers three years ago or the Phillies in October, we were practically by ourselves. We even got pulled over because they thought my friend was driving under the influence. No sir, we're sober but drunk with excitement. There were a few Big Blue fans we passed that understood what we were doing, but nothing compared to last night's early celebration.
So that's just a long-winded story for my point. If you're not a Pennsylvania fan, you're forced to be a sore loser. Nearly half this campus is just a reminder your team is not in the Super Bowl. That's why I'm hosting a non-Steelers party and sporting my Eli Manning jersey amid all this black and gold...in memory of the SB that was.
But in the middle of all this, there is one big thing to be thankful for. At least the team on the other side of the Steelers is not the Eagles.
To begin the third period, we see the first scoring the match, as Decker escaped from the bottom position to go up 1-0. Bugenhagen has a 10 second riding time advantage as there is now 40 seconds left in the match. As the wrestlers were about to move off the mat, Bugenhagen was able to scramble around Decker and grab his leg, recording a takedown at 18 seconds remaining. Now Decker needs a takedown if he wants to earn the victory. Or an escape would be nice. He is slowly making his way up on his feet, and teh wrestlers have called a stall point. Decker is in overtime for the second straight match, he has now grabbed his opponents leg, and is closing in on a takedown, but after a great fight of abotu 40 seconds, Eric Bugenhagen earns the takedown, the win and probably the dual meet victory.
19-13 now, with 197-pounder JR Brown coming out to face Dallas Herbst, who is ranked No. 3 in the nation. Should be a scary match with Brown being pinned on Friday. Herbst is a beast of an athlete, and has already earned five points in the first 30 seconds. Make that 8 points within one minute.
1:06 pin for Herbst.
We're going to leave you now and go down and do some interviews. The score of the dual is now 25-13 going into heavyweight. Read the Collegian tomorrow. Basketball beat Michigan State by the way. Wow.
Jack Decker and Eric Bugenhagen now wrestling at the 184-pound weight class. In the first minute of wrestling, we have the same battling that occurred at 174. Same old handfighting in the center with neither wrestler able to attain an advantage. Bugenhagen (please say that name out loud to yourself, because simply reading it on a computer doesn't give it the justice it deserves) is grabbing Decker's arm, but Decker is now trying to work on his elbow. Now they move off the mat and start up neutral in the middle.
Troy Sunderland just clapped his hands together, it appeared as if in disgust at the lack of action going on here in the first period.
I could honestly say there were no shots taken by either wrestler in that period and it ends in a 0-0 score. Now a blood timeout before the wrestlers start back up. I'll take this time to say that the men's basketball team is beating the No. 7 ranked Michigan State Spartans in East Lancing, which would be a freakin' awesome victory for the LIons, and possibly putting an NCAA bid into a cement bucket, not a solid solution yet, but in the process of converting from liquid to solid. Nice imagery there huh?
Now the wrestlers have begun wrestling the second period, if you want to call it that. The fans are now getting anxiouss, waiting for the first shot of the match to occur. It's pretty boring wrestling right now as either wrestler is making that mnuch of an effort. Bugenhagen shot for Decker's bottom, but Decker combated it. Now as the play begins in the middle, Decker appears as if he's the one who is going to push the pace, attacking Bugenhagen and going to his knees for a possible shot. 10 seconds left in the second period and we're going to be all squared away here.
Wright and Rutt have wrestled evenly thus far, with them both grappling against each other. In other news as my eyes are wandering from this somewhat boring match, Stefan Tighe appears as if he is going to go out for the heavyweight match as he is dressed and bouncing up and down behind the bench.
To begin the second period, Wright has escaped, moving the score to 2-0 now. Now the wrestlers are battling each other, stationary in the center of the mat, and the referee call a stalemate. I hear a man say "how do you call a stalemate on your feet?" True, I mean it was just laziness by both of them.
The second period ends with the score 2-0, and Wright starts off on top to begin the third period. The crowd has not been into this match at all, it's pretty lame to be honest. That's a difference from what Wright's matches usually are.
Now to begin the third period, Rutt has escaped and the score is now 2-1 in favor of Wright. Another stalemate called now, and the wrestlers are handfighting int he center. Now Wright has shot at Rutt, physically moving him out of the way and earning a takedown for himself. The score is now 4-1 as Wright is riding Rutt out. A stalemate has been called now. Now Wright has been called for a stall warning, a rare sight, but now Wright has earned the victory, 4-2.
Dual meet score now 17-13 as the 184-pounders are coming out.
Starting off in the bottom, Howe escaped easily to begin the second period. Vallimont needs a takedown and some riding action if he wants to win this one, as Howe has a 40 second riding time advantage. Now with 1 minute remaining, the wrestlers are scrambling in the middle of the mat, trying desperately to break down their opponent for a takedown. This match could very well decide the outcome of the dual. As Howe had extended Vallimont, a potentially-dangerous call is called, and with 15 seconds left, the crowd is trying to urge Vallimont on for a takedown. He earned a stall warning point from Howe, but that will be all, and the dual score now is 16-10 after that 3-2 victory by Howe.
And emotions are high already in the start of Quentin Wright's match at 174. Travis Rutt, a freshman from Minnesota, had a dirty move at the beginning of the match, and the crowd got right on the refs. They paused play and discussed what their action would be, and a point was awarded to Wright. The Wisconsin coaches were absolutely furious, signaling and gesturing to the scorer's table and the referees. Now the wrestlers move off the mat as Wright was en route to an opening takedown.
Vallimont escaped to start the second period off, earning the first point of the match. He has now shot at Howe's leg and has grasp of a single-leg, and was trying to slowly work his way around for a takedown, but it was Howe who was closest to getting the TD, but the referees called a stalemate.
Now as the wrestlers started back up, Howe records the first takedown of the match with 40 seconds remaining in the 2nd period. Now at the far site of the mat, the wrestlers move off the mat. As they start back up with Vallimont on the bottom, the fans are yelling for a stall call on Howe, but they instead called a stalemate. This at least allows Vallimont a chance for an escape, but the period ends with Howe leading 2-1.
Howe selects the defensive position to begin the second period.
Hey everybody, Stephen Hennessey here taking over after five matches here at Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions have dropped their last three matches, as the Badgers have scored 13 straight points.
Junior Dan Vallimont is now wrestling Wisconsin freshman Andrew Howe. Howe comes in with a 16-4 record as a freshman, and is ranked No. 10 in the country at the 165-pound weight class. Two minutes into the first period and there has been no scoring. A lot of scrambling in the middle and not much shooting by either competitor. Currently the wrestlers are interlocked above the neck, neither wrestler showing much desire to shoot for a takedown. Now Howe went for Vallimont's left leg on the left edge of the mat, but the wrestlers go off the mat and they will resume in the neutral position with 6 seconds remaining in the 1st. They end the period as it has been, boring, and they go into the second period scoreless. Vallimont selects the defensive position to start off the 2nd.
The final period starts with a takedown by Jordan. Everett responds with an escape. THe wrestlers are now on the floor and Everett is really fighting his opponent. His fight is not enough though as Jordan gets another takedown. Jordan is holding Everett down, but Everett manages his way to standing and records an escape. 30 seconds remaining in the period. Jordan gets another takedown, and the wrestlers are off the mat. Everett starting the period doing a good job of counter-wrestling, but he is struggling now. The period ends with Jordan leading 13-4.
The second period starts with Jordan quickly bringing the wrestlers to the the floor. A stall warning is issued to Jordan. Everett records an escape and the wrestlers are once again hand fighting. They are tied up in the middle of the mat and Everett is trying to circle in. The wrestlers are on the floor now, and Everett fights his way off the mat. Another takedown is recorded by Jordan and he will ride out the second period. Jordan leads 6-2.
Shane Everett walks on the mat for the Nittany Lions again tonight, making his second start in the 157-pound weight class. Ben Jordan takes him down pretty quickly and Everett finds himself trailing again. Wrestlers off the mat and Jordan is in control. A caution is issued to Jordan. Jordan drives Everett into the mat, and has him held onto the mat. Everett fights his way back up to standing and records an escape. Jordan manages to get him back onto the mat, but a stalemate is called. The wrestlers are handfighting and are trying to get someone onto the mat. Jordan is the first to do so, recording another take down. He has Everett held onto the mat with 30 seconds remaining in the period. Everett is putting up a good fight, trying to escape from Jordan's hold. THe period ends with a 4-1 lead for Jordan.
The crowd is getting behind Pisani here as he shows his strength out on the mat. Ruschell manages to escape. The wrestlers are hand fighting in the center of the mat, and end up tied up. Ruschell records another takedown, and is riding his opponent once again. 30 seconds left in the period. Ruschell is not letting his opponent do much of anything as they wrestle off the mat. Rec Hall is getting loud now, trying to help Pisani avoid a technical fall. 10 seconds remain in the match, and Pisani manages to fight off his opponent. Ruschell wins the match 13-0.
Pisani comes out this period with a lot more energy and picks his opponent up to try to drive him into the mat. However rolls were quickly reversed as Ruschell got the takedown. Pisani has yet to record a point this match. Potentially dangerous is called on Ruschell and a re-start is issued. 30 seconds remaining in the period. Ruschell is controlling this match with over 4 minutes of riding time already on the boards. The second period ends with Ruschell up 9-0.
With Bubba Jenkins out of the lineup again, Colby Pisani will be going up against Kyle Ruschell. Ruschell takes control right away and records a takedown. Stall warning issued to Pisani. Ruschell takes the offensive position. Pisani is stuggling to escape Ruschell's hold, and Ruschell records two back points. Not much movement is seen from Pisani right now. He somersaults to try to escape his opponent's hold, but not much seems to be working. 25 seconds remaining in the period. The two wrestlers remain on the floor, but Ruschell is definitely in control. The period ends with Ruschell up 6-0.
Molinaro escapes Tanelli's hold to start the final period, but Tanelli quickly reponds with a takedown. Molinaro escapes again, but not before Tanelli can take him down again. Molinaro fights his way back to his feet and records another escape. The process is done again with a takedown by Tanelli and an escape by Molinaro. And yet again, Tanelli manages to take down Molinaro, but Molinaro escapes once again. After one more takedown, Tanelli records a technical fall.
Tanelli escapes Molinaro's hold to start the period. The wrestlers are now on the floor, and Tanelli picks Molinaro up and drives him into the mat recording yet another takedown. One minute remaining in the period. Molinaro is in trouble as Tanelli has him held on the floor, recording three back points. Molinaro did a good job of avoiding the pin, but needs to start putting pressure on Tanelli. Tanelli has him stuck on the mat again, and the period ends with a score of 12-2.
Now the 141-pounders are out on the mat. This is a big match for Frank Molinaro as he is wrestling Zach Tanelli, the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at this weight. Tanelli quickly takes control of the meet and records a takedown. Molinaro struggles to a standing position and records an escape. A timeout is taken on the mat. Action continues and the wrestlers are hand fighting in the middle of the mat. Molinaro breaks his opponent's hold, but Tanelli still manages to record a takedown. Tanelli is showing why he is the top wrestler, as Molinaro is really struggling. Tanelli has Molinaro held to the mat, but they wrestlle their way off the mat. Tanelli is in control. One-point escape is awarded to Molinaro. 30 seconds remaining in the period. Molinaro is holding his own right now, but Tanelli responds with his third takedown of the period. Another timeout is taken on the mat. Molinaro avoids another takedown, and the period ends with him behind 6-2.
The 133 match is especially fun for me to watch considering Tom Kelliher for Wisconsin graduated from my high school in Apple Valley, MN. It's not often I get to see people from my hometown out here in Pennsylvania. Jake Strayer starts the match off with a takedown, but Kelliher quickly responds with an escape. The wrestlers are going back and forth of who's in control, but Strayer quickly responds with a takedown. Strayer is now holding his freshman opponent on the mat, and Kelliher is fighting to try to get to a standing position. Strayer has got his opponent held, and Kelliher is not moving. A pin is recorded by Strayer, and the crowd here at Rec Hall erupts.
Hammen starts the final period off with an escape. Pataky is desperately trying to record bonus points to put the NIttany Lions up after the first match. Hammen comes out much more aggressively and records a two-point takedown. However, Pataky immediately responds with a reversal. The grapplers are struggling on the floor, and move the action off the mat. 30 seconds remaining in the match. Pataky takes the offensive and is forcing Hammen into the mat. 15 seconds remaining. Pataky is trying to hold on here for the final seconds. Winner at 125 is Pataky by a score of 12-4.
Pataky quickly escapes his opponent using a spinning get away. He then takes down his opponent and records back points. He is controlling Hammen again, and is holding him down on the mat. Pataky is using a lot of force here and is not allowing Hammen to get up. Hammen gets called again for stalling again, giving another point to Pataky. Wrestlers off the mat, and Pataky is in control. End of the second period, Pataky leads 9-1.
We'll start the day off with the 125-pounders. No. 17 Brad Pataky vs. Drew Hammen. They get off to a quick start with Pataky quickly bringing his opponent to the floor and recording a two-point takedown. Pataky has his opponent trapped on the floor, and Hammen is struggling to escape. Wrestlers off the mat, and Pataky in control. Pataky comes off the offensive quickly and pushes Hammen to the mat. Again he is contolling his opponent and is not letting him get up from the mat. Stall warning issued to Hammen. Hammen is really struggling to get up off the mat, but finally manages to get to his feet and gets a one-point escape. The two wrestlers are now hand fighting with 45 seconds remaining in the period. Stalemate. The handfighting continues. End of the period. Pataky leads 2-1.
Big news for the Penn State wrestling team, junior Bubba Jenkins walked onto the mat in street clothes. He gave high-fives to every starter on the team and joined the huddle in the center of the mat with his teammates. Looks like his ankle is still bothering him.
Hey all. This is the live blog of the Big Ten dual meet against Penn State and Wisconsin. This is Jocelyn, and I will covering the first five matches of today's dual. It's about five minutes away from the start here in State College and fans are still trickling in. I'll be back in a few to bring the action of today's meet to you.