All right, welcome back everybody. Matt Brown here to quick check in with you all. As Mink said, the late start means tight deadlines, and tight deadlines mean we don't have too much time to blog this one.
Nothing too much new to report as Penn State continues to control this one with ease, and the Penn State fans continue to dominate the arena. It's worth repeating how impressive the turnout has been for PSU fans.
We've reached the under-eight media timeout and Penn State holds a 49-35 advantage over the Irish. Not to jinx anything, but it's looking like the Lions have a date with Baylor Thursday night for a "championship of a national tournament," as Ed DeChellis would say.
Notre Dame's made a couple plays to cut the lead back down to 49-35, but this one still looks firmly in the grasp of Penn State.
I wish we could bring you some more compelling in-game commentary, but that'll have to do it for the live blog. We'll be sure to check in later on Hardwood Hits to wrap everything up from the Garden.
Thanks for following along.
Unfortunately Lion fans, this reporter has a deadline to meet, so the blog will go to Matt Brown for the second half. If ya'll readers get bored with his commentary, flip over to ESPN2 and watch it on the tube.
Penn State probably could've stretched its lead a bit more toward the end of the half. But if you hold Notre Dame to 18 points, what else do you want? Penn State is playing at a level that wins these tournaments. It helps ND is shooting 24 percent, too.
Cornley has to leave the game with about 40 seconds to play. It appears his shoulder got hit. Then, Jackson hit the deck hard, but he rubs it off and gets backs down the court to play defense.
Notre Dame holds for the half's final possession, and Harangody gets a reverse lay-up to drop.
PSU 31, ND 18
Battle smiling to the front row spectators at the Garden after a lay-in rims out that would've given him a shot at a 3-point play. It's that kind of the night for the Albany native, nothing but fun for the guys in white.
Penn State keeps opening up this lead. It's grown to 15 with less than one minutes to play.
The Lions are playing like an NIT champion basketball team.
Battle drives hard inside and absorbs the contact to finish with a 3-point play. Then he ventures back into the paint and lays a pretty pass to Jones, who gets Harangody off his feet with a pump fake and gets an easy lay-in.
Harangody got in the box score with a fast break lay-up, but keeps missing his go-to move, the jump-hook.
3:55 left 1st half
PSU 25, ND 10
Harangody and the rest of the Irish can't but a bucket. Penn State is getting sloppy in its possessions and aren't stretching the lead out much during the Irish drought.
Harangody is getting ticked off at his performance. By my count, which doesn't say much, he's 0-for-6 and I still haven't seen him shoot from outside the paint.
6:03 left 1st half
PSU 20, ND 8
Penn State still keeping a pretty comfy lead here midway through the first half. Pringle and freshman Chris Babb knocked down mid-range jumpers and Battle closes this scoring spurt with a 3. Huge crowd advantage for Penn State and they're feeding off it.
7:20 left 1st half
PSU 20, ND 8
The shot clock forgot to start. Or the people in charge of the shot clock. So, we get an extra cheerleading routine.
Morrissey hits a 3 coming off a screen. Harangody still hasn't made a shot. He's missed everything in the paint.
Jones hits a jumper over Harangody for the game's first points. And Penn State has come out stormin'. Battle drilled a 3 from the left wing, and the Nittany Lions have played uptempo in the early stages.
Pringle had to catch up to an outlet. But once he did, he sped right past McAlarney and finished with a reverse lay-up around Harangody.
PSU 11, ND 2
Cornley has his bandage on, and we're underway.
Here are tonight's starting lineups.
12 G Talor Battle
11 G Stanley Pringle
15 F D.J. Jackson
2 F Jamelle Cornley
22 C Andrew Jones
44 F Luke Harangody
42 G Randy Ayers
23 G Kyle McAlarney
33 F Zach Hillesland
2 G Tory Jackson
It sounds Penn State has a slight edge in the crowd advantage.
We're about seven minutes till tip. This place is filling up fast, so we should be in for a much louder, boisterous atmosphere than the first game.
A very loud WE ARE chant is heard booming around the venue right now. Touche, Penn State.
Jamelle Cornley is out shooting around without the massive bandage on his left shoulder. Last Friday, DeChellis said his power forward would need it again tonight. Maybe he'll get it wrapped once he's in uniform.
Penn State will wear the home whites tonight.
I don't think ND has "lucky" Green jerseys for basketball.
Shocker. Baylor won 76-62 to advance to the NIT final.
The game all you readers are here for though is about a half hour from tip-off. For some the reason the Baylor Bear is pumping up the Penn State student section gathered behind the hoop. I guess that Bear wants to go mano e mano with a real mascot Thursday. The Notre Dame Leprechaun is one ugly short dude.
Both teams are out for their shoot arounds now.
Well, Baylor appears on its way to the NIT final Thursday night. They lead San Diego State by about 15 with two minutes left. San Diego State gets the award for "Hottest cheerleaders in attendance"
The Nittany Lions take aim for a school record 26th win tonight at the Garden. And at a fan pep rally at 6:30 p.m., Penn State football coach Joe Paterno made it clear Lion fans won't need to pray for a victory against the Irish. Paterno was the last special speaker to appear at the rally. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney also made an appearance along with AD Tim Curley, and former Nittany Lion mascot James Sheep was basically the host of it.
Curley especially thanked Sheep for his contributions on the field.
The Baylor cheerleaders on my side of the court look like a high school squad -- looks that is, not talent -- although the talent wasn't much better.
Hey Penn State basketball fans, Mink here taking you through the Nittany Lions' NIT semifinal matchup against Notre Dame tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Special shout-out to Hannan Abdul for transporting us from the Garden to Fortuna's Manhattan apartment. That kid can drive a cab through Central Park like no other.
This Baylor-San Diego State game is about eight minutes from being in the books, and then it's the Lions' time under the lights here in New York.
Stay tuned for more updates to come as this game unfolds and we draw closer to game time.
And that'll do it. Penn State get's its 15th win on the year against the Bison.
Check back tomorrow for action against Kent State at 5:35 p.m.
Scott Kelley - who is the No. 2 guy in the starting lineup - will try to save this one for his team.
Zach Brown looks to at least move this one into extra innings as he walks to the box. Really high pop up into dead center, one away.
David Duffett up to bat. The count is at 3-0, and Kelley finally puts one over. But the next is high, and the go-ahead run is at the plate.
Sokirka up to bat. Two more balls, and Bell waltz's out to the mound to talk to Kelley. The very next pitch goes inside anyway, and the next is way outside.
Robbie Wine comes out to end Kelley's night. Lutz is coming out to try his hand at cleaning this mess up.
I don't want to gloat, but who called that - Wine going to Lutz when things got iffy? This guy did.
Ben Allen to the plate, and the first pitch is a 80 m.p.h. strike. There's why Lutz is Wine's go-to guy - the second pitch is grounded right to second, toss to Wine, double play, game over.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 left; 6-5 PSU, Final
Picconi is up, looking to regain a lead for his team. Full count, the fatball is high, Picconi lays off, and the leadoff man is aboard.
Deese up to bat. Deese pulls around for the bunt, a sacrifice to move Picconi to second.
One out, Wine up to bat with Picconi in scoring position. Wine takes four straight, they weren't going to give him anything to work with.
Two on, one away, Steranka up to bat.The Bison's coach waltzes out to the mound to have a quick word with his hurler.
Another new pitcher. Surprise, surprise. Mike Dallanegra on the mound. Steranka takes the third pitch and flies out to left center.
Heath's getting his shot now to bring the leading run home. Bucknell is making all kinds of switches, this is like little league. First baseman Shribman will move over onto the mound, and a new first baseman - Russell Seidell.
Heath back to the plate after some mayhem with all the switches. All the switches don't matter - Heath drills one right up the middle. Picconi is around to score.
Marlin up to bat with men on the corners. Marlin grounds to short, and the force is applied at second.
But Penn State is back in the lead heading into the ninth.
1 run, 1 hit, 2 left; 6-5 PSU after 8
Cianciolo's night is over. Mike Franklin will come to the mound. The final line for Cianciolo - 7 IP, 1 run, 9 hits, 1 K, 2 Walks. Find me a manager who wouldn't be thrilled with that coming from your No. 4 guy.
Zach Brown will be the first Bucknell batter to test Franklin.Franklin brings a little more heat than Cianciolo was: Paul was hitting radars around 83 or so, Franklin is at 88. He walks Brown though.
David Duffett up with one man on. the 2-1 pitch goes over second base. Two one now - one on first, one on second, no outs.
Sokirka will try to turn this opportunity into a rally for the Bison. Sokirka will be set down with a fastball.
Ben Allen up to the plate now. There's an 85 m.p.h. fastball that Allen will take off the hip.
Bases loaded, one away, Donato up to bat. The 2-2 pitch is off the bat and into the left field gap. Two runs will score as Donato pulls into second.
Robbie Wine comes out to the mound to end Franklin's night. Scott Kelley is in to pitch. There's what I was talking about earlier - an up-and-down bullpen for the Lions.
Kelley gets ahead on Grandizio fast, 0-2. Whew, 92 m.p.h., Grandizio doesn't even try to swing at that one, that's a strike out.
Brouse up with men on second and third and two outs. Brouse hits one into left field, two score, and we're tied.
Man on first, two away, Shribman up to the plate. Shribman draws a walk.
Two on, Loucks up to bat. The first pitch is high and inside. Coach Bell out to talk to Kelley. Loucks takes the sting out his bat, the ball lazily dribbles to short stop, and a force out is applied at second.
Really a shame for Cianciolo - he can't get a win now despite going seven strong.
4 runs, 3 hits, 1 left; 5-5 into the bottom half of 8
Another Bucknell pitching change. Alex Cillo is on the mound now.
Glantz up to bat. A second pitch groundout.
Deegan up to the plate. Deegan hammers one into left. The left fielder dances around a bit, back tracks to his right, and makes the play.
Two away for Borden. Borden takes the full count pitch and drives it into the dirt in front of the short stop. Easy play at first, the side is retired.
Maybe the PSU players want to catch the NIT game too -- another fast inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 5-1 PSU after 7
Donato is up. Picconi makes a Webgem type play - he dives completely flat out to stop the ball from getting to the outfield. But his throw is pathetic, I don't think it went six feet past him. That's a hit for Donato.
Grandizio is up, and hits a quick single to left.
Brouse is up with one first and one on second with no outs. He takes the 1-1 pitch, and hits a high pop up to left. Deese has plenty of time to get underneath it and secure the first out.
Shribman up with the Lions at double play depth. 1-1, and Cianciolo beans him with some 74 m.p.h. junk. Pitching coach Jason Bell comes out of the dugout to have a word with his starter.
Loucks up to bat, four ducks on the pond, one out. Loucks takes the second pitch and drives it into the dirt infront of Picconi at second. The Lions turn the double play and Cianciolo gets himself out of a jam.
Paul's going strong - he's given up 9 hits, 2 walks and pegged one, but just one run allowed.
0 runs, 2 hits, 2 left; 5-1 PSU after 6.5
It's becoming a ritual - another new Bison pitcher. Jack Boehm is on the mound, and Zach Brown will be his catcher.
Jordan Steranka will lead off for the Lions this inning. He pops the first pitch up to left field, and one is down.
Ben Heath is up to bat. Heath bounces one right back to Boehm, and that's two very quick outs - just three pitches so far.
Marlin is up. He takes the 1-0 pitch and drives far... just short. It falls right at the wall where a Bison defender is waiting.
Five pitches that inning for the Bison. Robbie Wine can't be too pleased with his club after that.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 5-1 PSU after 6
Loucks is up to bat. He takes the 1-1 pitch and hits a low line drive over third base to get himself a single.
Drew Constable is pinch hitting now for catcher Drozin; after some sloppy handling behind the plate, Drozin's night is over. The count's at 2-0, and Loucks takes off for second. Heath's throw bounces in the dirt, and Loucks is in there. Constable hits a high popper behind first. He's out, but it's far enough to move Loucks to third.
Duffett is up with one away and a man on third. Duffett fans with two strikes and Cianciolo gets his first K of the night.
Two down and Sokirka is up to the plate. Sokirka forces the walk.
Ben Allen up with men on first and third and two outs. Allen takes a 2-2 pitch and drives into the dirt to retire the side.
0 runs, 1 hit, 2 left; 5-1 PSU after 5.5
Andrew Clarke now pitching for the Bison.
Glantz is up to bat. He hammers one with some steam right up the middle and has a lead off single-bagger.
Sean Deegan up bat with a man on first. A passed ball and Glantz goes to second. Deegan hits a fly ball way back into center field; he's out, but Glantz is on third now.
Wes Borden up to bat. The 3-1 pitch is no good, Borden is on first.
Men on the corners and one out down for Picconi. Another bad handle on the pitch, and Borden is on second. Two in scoring position now, the count is at 1-2 for Picconi. Picconi hugs one down the left field line - a two run double.
Mike Deese is up to bat now, looking to start a streak after putting his drought to bed. A high, foul pop out to first base, and two are down.
Cory Wine into the box with one in scoring position and two away. Wine hammers one, but it hangs for a bit too long and the center fielder is under it.
2 runs, 2 hits, 1 left; 5-1 PSU after 5
The Bison are on their third pitcher, but Penn State is still liking what its seeing from Cianciolo. 4 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs thus far.
Ben Allen is ready for his at bat to start the fifth. A lead off single as the ball bounces in front center fielder Sean Deegan.
Bob Donato up to the plate with one on and none out. Donato gets one to fall in front of right fielder Rick Marlin, and there's men on first and second now with still no outs.
Maybe I spoke too soon for Cianciolo...
Grandizio up to bat. He grounds to SS Glants, force out at second, but Grandizio has some speed and beats the throw to first.
Men on first and thrid, one out, Brouse up to bat. Brouse grounds lazily to Glantz, who tage second, but the ball made its way to the shortstop too slowly for the double play. Allen crosses the plate.
Shribman up to bat, he flies out, and no more damage is done.
1 run, 2 hits, 1 left; 3-1 PSU after 4.5
Another Bucknell pitching change. Ryan Ebner will take over mound duties.
Freshman thridbaseman Jordan Steranka up to bat. The two strike pitch looks like its in the dirt, but the ump says otherwise and Sternaka is sat down looking. His head is going wild as he tenses his body and walks to the dugout - he didn't like that call.
Ben Heath up to bat. The catcher flies out behind the shortstop, and there's two outs.
Rick Marlin walks onto the diamond for an AB. Another K looking, and the inning is over.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 3-0 PSU after 4
Andrew Loucks up to the plate. A ground out to Glantz at short, one down.
Drozin up for his second try. Another grounder to Glantz, but the throw is in the dirt. Wine had it for a second, but the ball hops out of his glove and Drozin is on with a error.
Duffett hits a grounder, Drozin is out at second, but the throw to first again hops out of Wines glove. No error there, but a man is on with two away.
Sokirka up to the plate. A hard grounder to Picconi, who touches down on second to end the half inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 left; 3-0 PSU into the bottom half of 4
A pitching change already for the Bison; Sean Driscoll is on the mound. That's two games in a row the Lions have chased out the starting pitching less than three innings in.
Lou Picconi is up to bat for Penn State against Bucknell's fresh arm, and it's a quick ground out.
Mike Deese is up to the plate. Mike Deese hits one into left field, and he has a single. It's been five games since he has reached on a hit, but his drought is over.
Cory Wine into the box with one on and one away.
Back to Deese for a minute. It was a 0-15 drought he just ended. He's taking off for second now, and its a perfect throw and a close play, but there's out No. 2.
On the next pitch, Wine goes down swinging.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 left; 3-0 PSU into the fourth
Allen is up, and he grounds out, followed by an immediate fly out by Bob Donato.
Grandizio is up, he puts on in left field for a two out single.
Brouse steps to the plate with two away one man on. Brouse is on after he puts one in the same spot in left - just out of reach of the SS.
Two on for Shribman, but he pops out on the first pitch, and the side is retired.
0 runs, 2 hits, 2 left; 3-0 PSU after 2.5
Clean up man Cory Wine into the box. Wine belts one to deep left, it had the distance, but it went just foul. The count is full. The pitch is inside, and the lead off man is aboard.
Steranka up to bat. Wine guns it for second after a passed ball on Drozin. Steranka hits a grounder through to right field, Wine is around to score. Sternaka moves to second on the throw to home.
Heath up to bat with Steranka on second and no outs. Heath hits a high bouncer over the pitchers head. He's out at first, but Steranka is on third with only one away.
Rick Marlin up to the plate. He rips one through to left field and Steranka taps home plate.
Glantz is up with Marlin on first base. Glantz goes down swinging.
Deegan up to bat with Marlin on first and two away. Deegan hammers the ball to the left field gap. The ball drops right at the wall - that's his first career tripple. Marlin scores.
Wes Borden is up with Deegan on third. A ground out to second, and the side is retired.
3 runs, 3 hits, 1 left; 3-0 PSU after 2
Andrew Loucks up to bat for the Bison. He cranks one to center field, Sean Deegan is under it, and one is away.
Kevin Drozin up to bat. The count is full, the pitch is low, and Cianciolo walks Drozin.
David Duffett up with one on first. Duffet hits a grounder through to left field. He's on first, Drozin is on second, and there's one out.
Bret Sokirka up to bat. He hits a slow roller to Picconi at second. Picconi tosses it to Glantz covering second, Glantz rockets the ball to first, and the double play is turned.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 left on; 0-0 after 1.5
Wes Borland comes to the plate. Borden drives one through the first-second gap and has a lead-off single.
Lou Picconi is up to bat. Picconi grounds a hard one to the shortstop, it bounces up, but the play is made. He tags second, over to first, double play.
Deese up to bat with two away. A high pop-up to the first baseman, and the side is retired.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 left on; 0-0 after 1
Cianciolo to the mound to about as rousing of a welcoming you can get from the what looks like 100 in attendance.
Ben Allen takes the first pitch and drills it to center. A misjudged play; the center field takes a step in and watches the ball sail over his head. A lead off double for the Bison.
Bob Donato to the plate. He takes a bunch of pitches, fouls off a few, but the full count fly out goes to Deese. One away, Allen still on second.
Dane Grandizio to the plate. Grandizio grounds to Steranka at third, a strong throw to Wine, and two are away.
Andrew Brouse comes to the plate with two away and one in scoring position. Heath has one bounce off his glove behind the plate and Allen moves to third. The 3-1 pitch goes outside, and Brouse is one.
Men on the corners for Doug Shribman. He flies out to center, and the side is retired.
0 runs, 1 hit, 2 left on; 0-0 after .5
Looks like Wine is using tonight as an opportunity to get some different guys a little playing time.
Still no word from Bucknell. Your Starting lineups for the evening:
1. Wes Borden
2. Lou Piconi
3. Mike Deese
4. Cory Wine
5. Jordan Steranka
6. Ben Heath
7. Rick Marlin
8. Mike Glantz
9. Sean Deegan
SP Paul Cianciolo
Still now word... I'll ad-lib as they come to the plate for you.
SP Dan Hart
About five minutes until the first pitch.
Lineups coming shortly, I promise. There's something wrong with the lineup Bucknell handed into the press box here, but things will be fixed up shortly.
A few random thoughts in the meantime:
The weather right now, in this writers opinion, is literally perfect. It's 60 degrees out right now, the sky is bright blue with just a few scenic white clouds above. The wind is ripping across the field, however; the flags at center field are taught from right field to left.
Although he's pitched a good bit the last week, once Ciancilo is done tonight, don't be surprised to see David Lutz make his way to the mound. After Sunday's slug-fest with the Buckeyes, coach Wine didn't have much of anything nice to say about his bullpen, but did mention Lutz has been a bright spot thus far this season. We'll see if that means extra innings for the 3-0 reliever.
Still waiting on those lineups...
Hello baseball fans, and welcome to another chapter of Inside the Dugout. Eddie here, and in case you decided to stay in tonight in favor of watching some NIT action, I'll be here to take you through tonight's matchup against Bucknell.
The Bison make their way to The Medlar Field at Lubrano Park with an 11-13 record, but have largely turned their season -- after dropping each of the first seven games, the team has gone 11-6 since.
The Lions head into tonight's contest on the heels of a 1-2 weekend series against No. 28 Ohio State. Before putting up 15 runs in the final game of the series, the Lions struggled to handle the Buckeye pitchers. The players and their coaches feel those struggles are behind them now and the batters believe they have a new-found discipline at the plate.
Finally, Paul Cianciolo will be under center... excuse me, on the mound, for the Lions tonight. Cianciolo has started three games this season and has 1-0 record with a 6.46 ERA. The Hurler last started mid last week against Temple, and after giving up two early runs was shut-down against the Owls. More recently, on Sunday, Cianciolo saw less than an inning of relief work as he allowed three hits and one run.
Head coach Troy Sunderland's status as Penn State wrestling coach is still unclear as reports he had a meeting with Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley have not been confirmed by the athletic department.
Sunderland talked to the team at practice Friday, but then left practice and the assistant coaches ran practice Monday (a normal occurrence for them to run it).
So you thought the drama Syracuse and Virginia experienced this weekend was enough excitement in the Top-10? Think again!
No. 7 Johns Hopkins and No. 12 North Carolina decided they wanted to get into the mix as well, leading to one of the most exciting lacrosse weekends in my recent memory. In the end, the Tar Heels wound up victorious, winning 10-9 in overtime and giving head coach Joe Breschi his 100th career win.
UNC's Sean Delaney provided the game-winning goal with a minute and a half left in overtime to topple the Blue Jays. Delaney was one of four Tar Heels to finish with two goals, and each of Johns Hopkins' nine goals was scored by a different player.
The victory bumped North Carolina ahead of Hopkins in this week's rankings, as the Heels snagged the 10th spot and the Blue Jays slid down to No. 11.
Here's the rest of the Top-10, with Penn State's opponents in bold and each team's ranking last week in parentheses:
1. Virginia 11-0 (1)
2. Syracuse 7-1 (2)
3. Cornell 6-1 (T3)
4. Notre Dame 7-0 (T3)
5. Princeton 7-1 (5)
6. UMBC 6-2 (8)
7. Hofstra 6-1 (6)
8. Maryland 6-3 (9)
9. Duke 8-3 (10)
10. North Carolina 8-3 (12)
Other Penn State opponents to break the rankings this week are UMass at No. 14, Loyola tied with Colgate for No. 15, and Fairfield breaking into the party at No. 20.
Georgetown and Villanova both received votes but did not earn a ranking.
The struggling economy just got a little bit easier to stomach for PGA Tour officials.
Why? Tiger Woods is back in full force.
If you missed Tiger's final round charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then that's too bad for you -- it was Tiger at his finest -- but judging by the television ratings not many golf fans weren't tuned in. The tournament earned the highest television ratings since last summer's U.S. Open, not coincidentally the last tournament Tiger won.
There's no denying that it's a whole different viewing experience when Tiger is in contention on Sunday, and yesterday was no exception, as Woods charged back from five strokes behind to beat Sean O'Hair.
What's so great about Tiger is that he turns it on when it counts, even if he hasn't been playing his best. Watching on Saturday, I made the conclusion that Tiger was not playing his best golf. He wasn't holing putts, or sticking enough approach shots close to make birdies. He struggled mightily on the finishing holes Saturday, and needed a lengthy putt to save bogey on 18 and preserve his spot in the final pairing Sunday.
He carried that momentum over to Sunday, conquering the 18th hole with a birdie to break a tie with O'Hair. It was evident how much Tiger relished being in contention yesterday, and it is no coincidence that the best stretch he has played since his return came with a title on the line.
That said, I think we all know that Tiger is ready for Augusta in two weeks.
Last week, I mentioned that Stuart Appleby was also in danger of missing the Masters. While the Aussie is currently ranked 54th in the world, he will be playing at Augusta by virtue of his 14th place finish at last year's Masters. Sorry about the mistake.
Another player who earned his spot at the Masters by virtue of playing well in a major last year is world No. 234 and fabled Augusta goat Greg Norman, who finished tied for third in last year's British Open. In the 1996 Masters, Norman shot a final round 78 to squander a six stroke lead. It was a lot of fun watching Norman in contention at last year's Open, and a lot of attention will be focused on him at Augusta.
Hey folks, I'm coming to you live from the 8th floor of the Marriot Marquis on 46th and Broadway. The elevators here are, for lack of a better word, sick.
But that's not the only perk here. We've got a very wonderful selection of pasta, soup, beef and turkey to choose from for lunch, not to mention the endless supplies of brownies that will surely await me after.
The one downside? I must pay for internet. Not cool.
Just myself and Blue-White Illustrated's Nate Bauer are in attendance from the Penn State side. A lot of the local media has made it, however. I've already spotted the New York Post and Newsday people, not to mention a few local TV stations.
Talor Battle and Jamelle Cornley were the only players made available from PSU, accompanied by Ed DeChellis, Dave Baker and Brian Siegrist, who just confirmed for me that Joe Paterno will actually be in attendance at tomorrow night's game. Guess all it takes is a lil' home cookin' for the Brooklyn boy to get out of Happy Valley.
The Nits arrived in NYC yesterday morning, and Cornely still can't believe the chaos that resides in the Big Apple.
"It's crazy. It's so fast. There's so many activities going on everywhere. Every time you turn around there's somebody doing something or some group of people doing something," the senior captain told me. "There's conferences, there's socials, there's a lot of traffic, so you gotta get used to the pace and understand that you gotta keep on moving, but its been fun so far."
Battle, meanwhile, was unable to make any progress on his RPTM 300Y class project because of yesterday's rain.
The sophomore captain said he wasn't much help to his teammates on their tour of the city either, despite growing up in nearby Albany.
"This is maybe two hours and some change form my house, so I don't get down here that much except for when I wanna go shopping or something like that," Battle told me. "There's some great shopping places down here but they know that, I think everybody knows that."
He said he and the rest of his teammates are thrilled to see a Big Ten team in the Final Four, and they hope Michigan State can take advantage of playing in nearby Detroit.
"What's even better is that we know we beat that team, so if they win it we can just say we beat the national champions or a team that made a run to the Final Four," Battle joked.
Notre Dame's hot-shooting guard Kyle McAlarney had bigger preseason goals than the NIT, but finishing his career at MSG is no small consolation for the Staten Islander.
"This is the brightest lights. Obviously, if the [NCAA] tournament wasn't going on right now this would be the brightest lights in college basketball right now," the Moore Catholic product told me through his thick Island accent.
(I told him my Xavier squad took care of them the years after he graduated, to which he laughed.)
McAlarney said he expects countless friends and family members in the stands tomorrow night, but most of them have already learned the drill when it comes to scoring tickets from their hometown hero.
"I think I'm experienced with it and I think people have experience with it as far as not bothering me and my parents too much anymore," he said. "I've learned to just try and take care of my family and let everybody else get their own and that's how it is. People have been really good about it."
Not long after, longtime college coach and broadcaster Fran Fraschilla stepped to the podium, where the Brooklyn native talked about how he "loves guys who sound like me," in reference to his fellow New Yorker, McAlarney.
Fraschilla acted as host for those at the podium, which included all four teams' coaches to his right and the NIT selection committee on his left.
The former St. John's coach kicked things off by introducing San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, who thanked Fraschilla for passing up the SDSU job in 1999 and opening the door for the Aztecs to hire the former coach of the 1989 national champions and, of course, the infamous Fab Five.
Every year, it starts the same way. Selection Sunday rolls around, and you get your first look at the clean, empty bracket. You close your eyes and just do your best impression of the Oracle from The Matrix and predict which teams will prove to be victorious. We're all hopeful and are more than confident showing our bracket to everyone we know repeatedly telling yourself that this is your year.
And then, the games actually start. One by one, you see your Cinderella picks get blown out. You see your eventual champion struggle to get to the Sweet 16. All of a sudden, your investment in college basketball is the most important thing to you. You actually care about Pittsburgh basketball.
But that's the fun of it all, isn't it? You make your ballsy picks and you're a genius if you're right. I, on the other hand, am not a bracket wiz. For the second year in the past four years, I picked the Pitt Panthers to win it all. Why you ask? I have no idea. I'm not a Pitt fan, but gosh darn it the Panthers are going to win a championship one of these years! I had a decent bracket going into the Sweet 16, but as always, I failed. Thanks Kansas, Memphis and Pitt. Ironic since my only correct pick in the Final Four came from my beloved Tar Heels, who I refused to pick as a champion because of bias and the fact that I was bold enough to pick Pitt in December.
With all this heartache, however, I know I'm not alone. There are you guys out there with Louisville, Memphis and maybe even Syracuse in a spot they didn't even come close to filling. But hey, it's called March Madness for a reason. You can't predict the future, no matter how sure you are before the first tip. And for those of you that have a near-perfect bracket, brag and brag again. You deserve it. But be nice about it, it hurts for those of us whose careers as fortune tellers are kaput.
It Was Over When...: Penn State's players woke up in the morning.
Player of the Weekend: Brad McCoy. On a weekend where everyone played, the sophomore had one kill and it ended the match against Mount Olive. Plus I have to give some love to the only person rumored to have beaten Dennis Del Valle at "tennis."
Stat of the Weekend: 30-27, the score of the third set against Princeton, proving the Penn State second is probably good enough to win the EIVA.
Quotable: "I think that pretty much speaks for itself" - Jon Sherrick about a sign in the stands that said "Sexy, can I?"
Player of the Weekend: Jon Sherrick. He's earned it. The guy just does it all. He has stepped up in a big way twice when called upon to replace an injured teammate. There's a reason Sherrick is a captain and it's performances like these.
Stat of the Weekend: .010. Mount Olive's hitting percentage for the match Saturday night.
Quotable: "It was pretty provocative.:- Max Holt on a sign in the stands that said "Sexy, can I?"
...well, technically from my couch. But, contrary to Ed and his buddies' demands in the Big Ten Network commercial, I will leave the couch early tomorrow morning to make it to Broadway for the NIT Final Four press conference. From there, it's filing and welcoming the rest of the crew to the Big Apple before heading off to MSG to cover the semifinals Tuesday night.
For an NYC native, this week will hold a special place in my heart. Sure, covering an NCAA tournament would have been nice, but just the mention of the word "Garden" evokes memories dating back to when I was six-years-old, when my father woke me up early on a Sunday morning with the news he scored a pair of tickets to Game 7 of another epic Knicks-Pacers clash, this one taking place in the 1995 Eastern semifinals.
You all probably know the story from there (my bio to the right tipped you off, I know). Patrick Ewing missed the open lay-up -- right in front of the basket I sat directly behind, mind you -- and it was onto another offseason of futility for New Yorkers.
So, seeing MSG from the other side of the fence will certainly be interesting Tuesday, but until then, I urge you all to check in throughout Monday, when I'll be filling this space with as much possible information on the people who are actually playing in the games you're so interested in.
The Syracuse-Loyola epic wasn't the only tight game this week that featured ECAC teams. On Wednesday, Georgetown and Harvard took their game into overtime before the host Hoyas finally won 9-8.
With 1:19 to go in overtime, Craig Dowd found Ricky Mirabito, who netted the game-winner and sealed up a hat trick at the same time. Georgetown fired 41 shots compared to just 28 for No. 11 Harvard and went 2-for-4 with a man advantage.
The win was a big relief for the Hoyas, who had just come off a stretch of five of six games on the road, most of which came against ranked opponents to boot. Among the teams Georgetown has played this season are currently ranked No. 2 Syracuse, No. 9 Maryland and No. 10 Duke.
Unfortunately for Georgetown, it couldn't keep this momentum going into Saturday's matchup with No. 16 Navy, losing 10-8. The Hoyas only scored one goal in the first half, and the Midshipmen won behind three goals by Brendan Connors, three assists by Tim Paul and 15 saves by Tommy Phelan.
Now for the other ECAC matchups:
Syracuse 13, Hobart 4: Before taking on the Greyhounds on Saturday, Syracuse faced Hobart. And crushed them. The No. 17 Statesmen were outscored 9-1 in the first half and outshot in the game 49-26. Stephen Keogh led the scoring effort with four goals and Kenny Nims dished out four assists. On the plus side, goalie Max Silberlicht made 15 saves for Hobart. So that's nice.
Fairfield 9, Hobart 7: Hobart probably wishes it could've had this week back. This time, it was the second half that killed the Statesmen. Fairfield outscored them 5-1 in the second 30 minutes, using a balanced attack to stay perfect in league play. Ryan Mulford led the Stags with three goals, and goalie Charlie Cipriano made 12 stops.
Princeton 13, Rutgers 6: The No. 5 Tigers came into Piscataway and demolished Rutgers, needing only 23 shots to score those 13 goals. Princeton went 3-for-6 in man-up situations and scored four goals in every quarter but one. Mark Kovlar led the assault with four goals, while Rich Sgalardi pitched in a hat trick of his own.
Rutgers 14, St. John's 10: Unlike Hobart, Rutgers bounced back from its early-week trouncing to win over the weekend. Both the Scarlet Knights and the Red Storm came out firing, but only Rutgers could sustain it into the second half. The visitors outscored St. John's 6-3 in the second half, pulling off the upset behind four goals from Kory Kelly and two each by Hunter Burnard, Gerhard Buehning and Michael Diehl.
So with this week behind us, let's look at the ECAC standings.
1. Fairfield (3-0, 5-2)
2. UMass (2-0, 5-3)
T3. Loyola (2-1, 5-4)
T3. Rutgers (2-1, 3-6)
T5. Hobart (1-2, 5-3)
T5. St. John's (1-2, 5-3)
7. Georgetown (0-2, 3-5)
8. Penn State (0-3, 3-5)
Things aren't looking good for Penn State in the ECAC race, but it can start making up ground Saturday at home against Hobart.
Three league teams play Tuesday. Fairfield and Rutgers host Vermont and Wagner, respectively, while Georgetown heads out to Mount St. Mary's. The Stags and Hoyas face each other in Washington on Saturday.
Rutgers welcomes Loyola on Saturday, and St. John's and UMass do battle in Amherst.
Dan already touched on it, but here's a deeper look into the epic played earlier today between the Terrapins and Cavaliers. After all, the longest game in NCAA history deserves some attention...
In one of the best college lacrosse games ever played, the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers rallied past No. 9 Maryland -- in SEVEN overtimes.
The win kept the Cavaliers' bid for an undefeated season alive and came only after many near-misses during both regulation and overtime.
Although it was long forgotten by the time the teams had played the seven overtimes, Maryland had Virginia in a hole late in the game.
Leading 9-6, the Terrapins allowed three goals in a 62 second-span to tie the game at 9 and force overtime. The next goal wouldn't come until Brian Carroll finally broke the tie early in the 7th overtime.
Between the end of regulation and that goal, though, there were a number of things that will be remembered for a long time to come.
The first came just moments into the first OT when it looked like the game was actually over. Maryland won the faceoff, brought the ball up the field and fired what appeared to be a game-winner into the back of the net.
However, whistles had clearly blown just before the shot was taken. It turns out the refs blew the play dead for a Maryland timeout -- but Maryland didn't ask for one. The refs ended up calling it an "inadvertent whistle," granting Maryland possession of the ball, but taking the goal off the board.
The end of that overtime period provided some drama, as well. After Maryland finally controlled a ground ball in an unsettled situation, the Terrapins had a player all alone in front of the net with time winding down. Instead of giving up a point-blank shot on goal, Cavaliers goalie Adam Ghitelman left the crease and checked the Terrapins player, preventing him from catching the ball.
As a result, Ghitelman was called for an illegal body check and was forced to go to the penalty box with just one second remaining in the period.
So, with the Terrapins starting the second overtime not only a man-up, but against the Cavs' backup goalie, it looked like the game was over.
But after swinging the ball back-and-forth for about 30 seconds, the Terrapins fired their only shot on goal during the man-up situation.
Backup Mark Wade made a sprawling save and controlled the rebound, pumping his fist as he stood up with possession of the ball. As Virginia cleared the ball and called a timeout to get Ghitelman back in net after his penalty expired, the Cavaliers sprinted on the field jumping up and down, mobbing Wade as if they had just won the game.
It would take another five overtimes, but after both teams had multiple man-up opportunities, shots on goal and scoring chances, the Cavaliers finally ended the longest game in NCAA history with a 10-9 and an undefeated 11-0 record so far on the season.
Lynd gets on again with a single to the left side. He has yet to be retired today.
The CF takes off and steals second. PSU took a chance there and gets the reward of a runner in scoring position with none out.
Nakata lines one to the left side to get on safely. There are now runners on the corner as PSU tries to tie the game after surrendering a five-run lead.
A hitter's count for Deese as it's 3-0. He walks on the very next pitch to move the bases loaded, still with no out.
Wine hits one that just falls in safely in front of the LF to tie the game and keep the bases loaded. 8-8 tie
For what seems like the 100th time in the past week, Steranka comes up with the bases full. Steranka stays hot with the bases loaded with a single hit to the right side to score to and give the Lions the lead again. 10-8 PSU
Another pitching change for the Buckeyes, as Drew Rucinski comes in with the rain falling.
Boonie gets the job done with an RBI groundout and is able to move Steranka to second. 11-8 PSU
Youngblood earns another walk to make it first and second in what is starting to become the game that may never end.
Heath strikes out swinging for a key out.
Glantz comes through with a two-out double to drive in to. PSU seems to have taken a page from OSU's book with a two-out score. 13-8 PSU
A blunder for the Lions ends a strong inning as Glantz is picked off second trying to steal.
Deese grounds out to third for the out. Wimmers is starting to show signs of getting into a groove, and as his record and ERA show, that's not a good sign for the Lions.
Wine has a solid at-bat to earn a walk on a fullcount.
Steranka bloops one right along the line for a single to push runners to first and second.
The rain has started up again. It's not as heavy as it was before, but it's probably enough to be bothersome to the pitchers.
Just as I say this, Boonie gets his in the back to make the bases loaded.
Wimmers is very frustrated now. He falls behind 3-0 to Youngblood and the right fielder earns a walk to bring in the tying run with only out. 2-2 tie
Heath smacks one into right center in the gap to clear the bases for what is definitely the biggest hit of the series for PSU. 5-2 PSU
That takes the ace Wimmers out of the game. Lefty Andrew Armstrong will come in for relief.
Another walk for Penn State, as Glantz walks to reach base.
On weather news, the sun is starting to sneak through the clouds. Here's hoping this means the rain is finally over with.
Armstrong is struggling even more than Wimmers right now. The lefty has thrown eight straight balls and some haven't even been close. The last one walks Lynd and loads the bases once again this inning.
The rain is back. Perhaps I should stop talking about the weather forever.
Nakata earns an RBI with a fullcount walk. That finally closes the book on Wimmers, who went 2.1 innings and gave up six earned runs. 6-2 PSU
Deese gets out but earns an RBI by hitting a grounder to the right side and another run. 7-2 PSU
Another walk for the Lions as Wine walks to make the bases loaded once again.
That brings up Steranka, the player with the hottest bat for PSU.
The freshman can't extend the inning any further as he grounds out to second.
6 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left; 7-2 PSU after 3
Dew tries to make things happen right away by flies out to shallow RF on the first pitch.
Another easy out, this time by a groundout to second.
Grumley is getting ahead early, something Wimmers has been unable to do so far. Still, it's only a one-run game.
Of course, as I say this, Streng works a walk for the Buckeyes' first runner of the game.
Hurley moves in trying to extend the inning. He does with a hard-hit single through the right side. Again, OSU's two-out threats remain strong.
Kovanda blasts one to center for a two-RBI double. Kovanda almost ran his team out of its second run by overrunning second, but just beat the throw back. As has been the case all series, the Buckeyes' two-out rallies are killing the Lions. 2-0 OSU
Penn State finally ends the inning with a shallow fly to RF.
2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left; 2-1 OSU after 2 1/2
Steranka walks on four pitches for PSU's second straight leadoff man on.
A wild pitch for Wimmers sets the Lions up nicely with a runner on second with no out. The ball went right to the dirt to give Steranka time to take off.
Boonie, making just his fifth start, goes up 3-0 before falling to a full count. He first thought he walked on five pitches, but the ump called the close pitch a ball. Boonie then advances the runner to third with one out with a deep enough flyball to RF.
Youngblood steps up with a chance to hand the Lions the lead. He falls behind quickly at 0-2 but earns a fullcount before reaching and striking out swinging. Big out, as Penn State couldn't pull off a sacrifice to bring in the game's first run.
Wimmers gets a new ball after pitching a ball. It's clear this could be a recurring theme considering the weather.
Another three-ball at-bat for Penn State, as Heath goes up 3-0. He earns a two-out walk to put runners on the corners.
The struggling Glantz steps in. Batting at .211, he steps up with a key at-bat early. He works the count full before good luck hits.
Glantz hits a grounder that manages to bounce off the thirdbase bag so Miller can't make the throw. A run comes in as PSU enjoys a rare lead in the series.1-0 PSU
Another fullcount leads to a walk for Lynd. The bases are now loaded for Nakata.
The second baseman can really break the game open here. But OSU will first have a meeting at the pitching mound.
Andrew Armstrong starts working in the Buckeye bullpen. OSU is not taking any chances here.
Nakata earns a hitter's count at 3-1 but grounds out weakly to 3B to end the inning.
1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 3 left; 1-0 PSU after 2
The rain is starting again, but it remains only a strong mist.
Miller goes down swinging for Grumley's third K of the game.
Burkhart grounds to second for a routine out. Besides a long first at-bat of the game, Ohio State hasn't had a solid at-bat yet.
An easy fly to RF ends the inning. I know it's early, but Grumley is cruising right now.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 0-0 after 1 1/2
Lynd punches one to shallow center for a leadoff single. Let's see if Wine and Co. choose to play smallball to grab an early lead against such a dominant pitcher.
Penn State goes with the hit and run and Nakata grounds one to second. Lynd almost beat the throw to be safe at second, but was thrown out. Nakata does reach safely, however, as the throw to first caused Streng to step high off the bag.
Another batter, another potential doubleplay wiped out because of a throw to first. Deese lines one to third but is able to reach safely. It was a tough doubleplay to make, but a quick turn and throw could have ended the inning.
The Lions are showing they are going to take chances to grab the lead, as Deese steals second.
Wine strikes out on a dropped third strike to end the threat.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left; 0-0 after 1
The rain has stopped (for at least the moment). Let's hope I'm not jinxing it...
A long at-bat to get us started. Grumley finally gets the out, though, with a strikeout.
Grumley earns another K, this time against Kovanda. While that's the second out of the inning, if there's anything this series has showed, it's that the Buckeyes are still a threat with two out.
But any two-out rallies will have to wait for another inning, as a soft grounder by Stephens retires the side.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 0-0 after 1/2
Hello, baseball fans.
It's Wayne giving you updates from today's series finale between Penn State (13-10) and Ohio State (20-3).
It's raining here at the park, so most fans are standing under cover to stay dry. Here's hoping we don't suffer from any delays.
Anyway, here's today's starting lineup and pitchers:
Zach Hurley, LF
Cory Kovanda, 2B
Michael Stephens, CF
Justin Miller, 3B
Dan Burkhart, C
Michael Arp, RF
Ryan Dew, DH
Tyler Engle, SS
Matt Streng, 1B
Alex Wimmers: 5-0, 1.62
Blake Lynd, CF
Landon Nakata, 2B
Mike Deese, LF
Cory Wine, 1B
Jordan Steranka, 3B
Ryan Boonie, DH
Grant Youngblood, RF
Ben Heath, C
Michael Glantz, SS
Calvin Grumley: 2-1, 5.84
The rain seems to be picking up for now, but it remains more of a heavy mist than anything else.
Mount Olive had started to rally themselves back in this match but Penn State still leads 24-21.
Sherrick with another block, that's seven for Mr. Sherrick.
Alan Mars is now in as Sweitz gets a curtain call.
Here comes Brad McCoy for Jay Stauffer who gets his ovation from the crowd.
Mark Shipp is prepared to enter for Sherrick as the Lions lead 28-22.
Match point. The Lions lead 29-23. Joe Sunder enters for Max Holt, who gets a standing ovation.
Game over. Penn State rolls as Brad McCoy finishes off the third set 30-23.
We'll see ya when we see ya. Peace!
The set is still tied at 13 but it just feels like Penn State is just waiting to strike with viper like quickness and put this match to bed. With Stauffer, Sweitz and Sherrick out there, there's no way they'll lose this set.
Penn State now leads 16-13 and Mount Olive calls a timeout.
The t-shirts are out and the crowd goes wild. Yep, still a recession.
On a side note, I was hoping for a more vibrant student section but we haven't seen anything. No chants, no nothing. Hopefully between now and the EIVA championship they find a groove.
Jason Ambrose is now in for Mr. Thomas Pereira.
Yep, Penn State's put the foot on the throat, they're just waiting to finish it off. The Lions lead 21-17 and Mount Olive has called a timeout. They've used all six of their timeouts tonight.
Mount Olive actually has a lead, albeit slight. The Trojans lead 4-2 early on. Let's hope the Lions don't give us a scare like last night and tease us with a possible fourth set.
Well order has been restored to the universe as Penn State now has regained a 7-6 lead. This has been a well balanced weekend for the Lions and they've gotten most of their players involved this weekend. The only missing Lions are Jason Ambrose, Brad McCoy and Mark Shipp.
The set is tied at 9-9 but the Trojans continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
Edgardo is making an exit as my boy Tor Covello enters the game at 24-11 Penn State.
Thomas Perieira is now in for Joe Sunder and the good times continue to roll.
Easiest kill of Max Holt's career right there. He just flips it lazily to the floor and the Lions now lead 27-13. It's one of those empty the bench nights for Mark Pavlik and co.
Max Holt likes the service aces tonight. Another one ends the second set 30-15. Use the 10 minute intermission to get the gear in the bus if you're Mount Olive
Penn State's on cruise control right now. The Lions lead 17-11 and even the crowd is starting to snooze through this massacre.
Jon Sherrick is having himself a night. 3 kills, six blocks for the senior.
A major problem for Mount Olive tonight is that they're so undersized that Penn State's serves just knock the Trojans deep in their own court, limiting their offense. Timeout by Mount Olive again as Penn State leads 19-11.
A hitting error puts Penn State up 9-3 and a timeout by Mount Olive.
The block party is still going strong. Holt and Sweitz get in on the action. For the record, the Lions had 7.5 blocks in the first set while Mount Olive had a grand total of zero.
We're not exactly seeing the same intensity from the Lions in the second set. It's 10-7 right now but Penn State has these stretches from time to time. When you're superior to your opponent in every way, it's a little hard to stay fired up.
Mount Olive commits a service error courtesy of Mike Carroll who hit the ball under the net. Just one of those nights. It's 13-8 Penn State.
Joe Sunder making an appearance as well as Jesse Wagner as Penn State starts the second set. Missing are Will Price and Dennis Del Valle.
Well that didn't take long. Another ace from Max Holt.
Holt decides he could use another. Three aces in a row going back to the first set.
Sherrick fires a kill home. 3-1 Lions.
Well that's a shame. Mount Olive missed the ball while going up for a kill. When you're hot you're hot, when you're not....you play like Mount Olive is right now.
Another service error by the Trojans and Penn State leads 6-3.
As a quick aside, let me stress how hot it is in Rec Hall. Note to Penn State, please turn the heat off. PLEASE!
Sherrick is the captain of the block party, that's six on the night. Just another night for Mr. Sherrick.
Sweitz decides to get in on the action and pushes it to 29-18, set point.
Mount Olive decides to delay the inevitable for a bit.
Penn State wins the first set 30-20 with a Trojans hitting error.
Jay Stauffer with the kill. Now every senior has registered a kill.
Penn State is just flexing its muscles and blowing Mount Olive off the court. The Lions lead 22-15.
Dennis Del Valle is that dude. Del Valle flew into the empty gap in the Penn State defense to save the ball and keep the play alive for the Lions. It's those type of hustle plays that Del Valle makes every night that spark Penn State and win championships.
Sherrick fires a kill and stood over the court looking like Ali over Liston. Max Holt decides its time for his 181st service ace and puts Penn State up 26-17. Timeout Mount Olive.
"That is the weakest student section I've seen in my life."- Mike Oplinger
Penn State with an 11-5 advantage and it's not looking pretty for Mount Olive. However, a couple of service errors have slowed Penn State some since the timeout.
Max Holt is a dangerous, dangerous man. That kill thundered off the court into the stands. Look out below when you're under Maxwell Holt's shadow. I actually believe the US Government created Duck and Cover in the 1950s because they went into the future and saw Max Holt coming.
Holt's serve is as good tonight as it's been all year. The Lions lead 15-9 and it's just a matter of time.
Penn State's throwing a party. What kind of party? A block party. Who's invited? Everybody. The blocks keep on coming for the Lions and Penn State leads 18-10.
Mount Olive with a service error to start the match. "Game's over."- Mike Oplinger.
Already 3-0 Lions with a great crispness to the offense so far. Max Holt's a smidge fired up with his serve so far. And by a smidge I mean it'll rip your face off.
Edgardo with the thunderous kill. Yes, I just typed that. I think he even looked a little shocked. 4-2 Penn State.
Now it's 6-2 Penn State as a block just lands on the line. Timeout Mount Olive.
Senior Day festivities are underway and the senior cheerleaders have been introduced, followed by one of the Lions' team managers.
Here come the seniors...
92-21 all time. 43-2 in conference. Quite impressive.
Max Holt doing his best Richard Nixon impression on the way out flashing the V for Victory signs with his hands.
Jon Sherrick is out next and gets a well deserved thank you from the fans.
Jay Stauffer coming out holding his little sister's hand, so cute.
Last, but certainly not least, Ryan Sweitzer who was clearly the crowd favorite out of the group. People were holding up Sweitz signs. Impressive.
On to the starting lineups....
Dennis Del Valle
So thanks to some investigative work by my intrepid partner Mike Oplinger, we have the text of what it says on the student section's signs.
- This is our house
- Hit it hard
- Sexy can I (any reader who emails Mike or I with what this means, who isn't a member of the student section gets a shoutout in this blog)
- Can you dig it?
- Bring 'em out!
- Thank heaven for #7
Again, color us unimpressed.
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. It's Tom Kinslow coming to you live from Rec Hall where your Nittany Lions are set to take on the Trojans of Mount Olive.
Tonight is Senior Night and the program is all set to honor Max Holt, Jon Sherrick, Jay Stauffer and Ryan Sweitzer for all they've contributed to the program during their stay in Happy Valley.
Penn State is 2-0 against Mount Olive all time in a series that started in 2005.
I see the "student section" (and I use that term loosely seeing as I see a lot of gray hair in this section) is back in action. Maybe they'll have a better turnout and be more vocal than last night. Somehow I doubt it.
No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 Syracuse got more than they bargained for Saturday, and it was all on national television.
The Orange got off easy, needing a dramatic comeback in Baltimore to defeat No. 15 Loyola, 14-13. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, went into a record seven overtimes against ACC-rival and No. 9 Maryland, eventually winning 10-9.
The great thing was, both games were on TV, and both at the same time. Lax fans flipped from Syracuse's comeback effort on ESPNU to the Virginia-Maryland marathon on ESPN2. The only people upset with this were North Dakota and New Hampshire hockey fans, whose NCAA regional matchup was forced off the air while the Wahoos and Terps finished up.
Here's how both epics panned out.
Virginia 10, Maryland 9
It was the longest game in Division I history, but this game could have been over 10 seconds after the first overtime's opening faceoff. Maryland's Dan Burns won the faceoff and got a great fastbreak opportunity, feeding Grant Catalino for what seemed to be the game-winner. But an official blew an inadvertent whistle, negating the goal, much to Terps coach Dave Cottle's chagrin.
Then at the end of the first OT, Virginia goalie Adam Ghitleman had to make a hit to save a goal. Ghitleman went to the penalty box, and his replacement, freshman Mark Wade, made a sweet save at the start of OT No. 2, pumping his fist afterward.
After several good looks and a lot of great defense, Brian Carroll switched to his left side, rocketed a shot over goalie Brian Phipps' stick and kept the Wahoos undefeated. Steele Stanwick led the Cavaliers with four goals, while Danny Glading contributed a goal and four assists.
Maryland's attack was headed by Will Yeatman's five points (two goals and three assists).
The real stars of this game were both teams' defenses. The goalkeepers in this game were phenomenal, with Phipps recording 10 saves for Maryland and Ghitelman grabbing 18 for Virginia.
Syraucse 14, Loyola 13
Loyola was up by four with 12 minutes to go, but that's when the 'Cuse got hot. Stephen Keogh scored twice in 50 seconds, and after Dan Hardy put one in 40 seconds later the Orange were down one.
A Jimmy Daly goal at the 4:21 mark proved to be the only goal for the Greyhounds in the deciding 12 minutes of the fourth period. Kenny Nims responded for Syracuse less than a minute later, then assisted the equalizer 12 seconds later to Hardy. Hardy scored again with 1:17 left, sealing the comeback for the Orange.
Cooper MacDonnell's five goals and Collin Finnerty's four assists were both career highs. Shane Koppens added three goals to Loyola's upset bid.
For the victorious Orange, three players recorded five points: Stephen Keogh (five goals and zero assists), Dan Hardy (four and one) and Patrick Perritt (one and four). Kenny Nims added four points on two goals and two assists.
That does it from the Med today, join us again at 1:05 Sunday for the series finale.
Thanks for following along.
Zach Hurley makes a circus catch that probably didn't have to be a circus catch out in left to retire Borden for out No. 1.
Glantz strikes out and the Lions are down to their final out with Rick Marlin stepping to the plate. Marlin pops up to center field and that is the ball game.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Lefty David Lutz (2-0, 3.18) with his sidearm delivery enters the game for the Lions to replace Ignas on the mound.
No. 5 hitter Dan Burkhart leads off for the Buckeyes in the final frame. He rips a single out of the reach of Nakata into right. And another base hit as Michael Arp singles to left. Every Ohio State starter now has a hit in this on, with 15 total for the game.
And another single. Dew pops one into right and it falls in between Nakata and Marlin for a hit. Bases loaded with nobody out for Tyler Engle. Engle draws a walk to score Burkhart, 8-2 Buckeyes. Mound visit for the Lions and lefty Mike Pierce (0-0, 6.75) will replace Lutz after a rough four batters.
1B Matt Streng has an opportunity to add to his big day, as he already has 2 homers and 4 RBI. He walks, and that will get him another RBI. 9-2 Bucks.
Penn State finally records an out in the 9th as Hurley pops one up and the infield fly rule is in effect. Bases loaded, 1 out for Cory Rupert. Another infield fly for out No. 2.
Chris Griffin pinch hits for CF Michael Stephens. He hits a grounder to shortstop but Glantz goes to 2nd and his throw is off the mark. 2 runs score, runners on 1st and 3rd after the error.
RBI single for Miller up the middle. 12-2 Buckeyes. The inning finally comes to an end as Burkhart pops up to short.
5 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 2 LOB
Ohio State 12, Penn State 2 mid 9th
The new pitcher for Ohio State is righty Jake Hale, and he gets Deese to ground out to start the inning.
Wine taps a slow roller just a few feet and Hale picks it up and throws him out, 2 away. Hale cruises through the inning as he Steranka goes down swinging.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Ohio State 7, Penn State 2 after 8
Michael Arp leads off the 8th and flies out for out No. 1. We have a 3-4-3 put-out as Dew hits a sharp grounder at Wine. Wine can't control it, but Nakata picks it up and tosses the ball back to Wine to just beat Dew for the second out.
Tyler Engle draws a two-out walk and Matt Streng (2-3, 2 RBI) comes to bat. Make that 4 RBI as he blasts a 2-run shot into the bleachers in right. That makes 2 homers for Engle to almost the exact same spot. 6-2 Buckeyes.
Hurley hits a grounder down the first base line and Wine can't field it cleanly. Hurley is safe and that'll be scored an error on Wine. Hurley swipes 2nd and just beats Jacobs' throw.
The steal works for the Buckeyes as Rupert drives a single into left center, just out of the reach of a diving Blake Lynd. Hurley scores, 7-2 Buckeyes and a mound visit for PSU.
Stephens reaches base as he hits a grounder to shirt but beats the throw by a split second. 1st and 2nd, 2 outs for Justin Miller. With a full count, Miller flies out to Deese in left to retire the side.
3 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 2 LOB
Ohio State 7, Penn State 2 mid 8th
Glantz drives a base hit into left-center to get things started for the Lions in the bottom of the 7th.
Back-to-back its to start the inning as Marlin singles to right. 1st and 2nd, nobody out for Bobby Jacobs. It looks like that'll be it for Ohio State starter Eric Best after 6+ innings of work. Righty Drew Rucinski will take the mound in relief.
Jacobs squares to bunt and successfully executes a sacrifice to advance both runners. Blake Lynd comes to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out.
Lynd grounds out to Engle at short, but it's enough to get Glantz home as the Ohio State lead is cut to 4-2. Marlin stays at 2nd.
Nakata pops one up in foul territory to Streng and that will retire the side.
1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 4, Penn State 2 after 7
Cory Rupert with a sharp grounder to 3rd but Steranka handles it and throws him out for the first out to bring up Michael Stephens.
Ignas drills Stephens on the elbow with an 88 mph fastball. Man aboard, 1 out for Miller.
Miller flies one deep to right but it's a routine catch for Marlin, out No. 2.
Stephens advances to 2nd as an Ignas pitch bounces and gets away from Jacobs. Full count and Burkhart grounds out to Nakata at 2nd.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 4, Penn State 1 mid 7th
The final line for Scott Kelley: 5.2 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 81 pitches.
Mike Deese leads things off for PSU in the 6th. He lines one into center but the ball hangs up enough for Stephens to make the catch. Wine pops up to SS Tyler Engle in shallow left for out No. 2.
Steranka picks up a single as he rips the first pitch up the middle. 2 outs, runner on 1st for Borden. Steranka steals 2nd and the throw bounces away to allow him to advance to 3rd. Borden flies out to right and the Lions strand a runner on 3rd.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 error, 1 LOB
Ohio State 4, Penn State 1 after 6
Miller hits a deep fly to center but Lynd catches it at the warning track, 1 away.
Burkhart picks up his first hit of the day as he lines a pitch into center just in front of Lynd for a single. Arp flies out to Marlin in right, 2 outs.
And we have an unexpected mound visit. Ryan Ignas has started to get loose in the PSU bullpen.
Ryan Dew nearly takes Bukhart's head off with a liner that falls in for a hit in right. Dew is now 3-3 for the day. 1st and 2nd, 2 outs for SS Tyler Engle.
Base hit up the middle Engle. Burkhart scores from 2nd and Lynd's throw sails over the head of Jacobs. That'll be an error as both runners advance a base.
Streng rips a hard grounder at Wine at first, and Wine can't handle a tough hop. One run scores and runners are safe at 1st and 3rd. 4-1 Buckeyes and that will end the day for Scott Kelley. RHP Ryan Ignas (2-1, 5.50) gets the call from the bullpen.
Top of the order now for Ohio State. LF Zach Hurley will try to do more damage for the Bucks here in the 6th. Hurley grounds out to Glantz at short and Ignas gets PSU out of the inning.
2 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 2 LOB
Ohio State 4, Penn State 1 mid 6th
DH Wes Borden leads things off for PSU in the 5th. Borden is rung up on a 2-2 pitch that looked outside from our vantage point. Borden has a few words for umpire Jim Schaly as he walks to the dugout.
Glantz draws a walk, and that's Best's first walk allowed in the game. 1 out, man on first for Rick Marlin. Glantz takes off on a 3-1 pitch, but it's called a ball for back-to-back walks. Jacobs to the plate with two on, 1 out, and that prompts an Ohio State mound visit.
Jacobs rips a base hit to right field to get Penn State's first run across as Glantz easily scores from 2nd on the play. Lynd now at the plate with the tying run in scoring position on 2nd. Lynd hits into a fielder's choice with Jacobs out at 2nd. 1st and 3rd, 2 outs and Nakata batting.
Nakata comes inches away from tying the game as he slaps a pitch the other way, but it just misses hitting inside the first base line. Lynd swipes 2nd easily with no throw from Buckhart behind the plate. Best gets out of the jam as Nakata grounds a 1-2 pitch to shortstop and is thrown out.
1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State 1 after 5
Matt Streng taps a slow-roller down the 1st base line. Kelley picks it up and throws to Wine for the out... although I'm not so sure that was the right call.
Hurley follows up his run-saving play in left by collecting a single up the middle.
Rupert rips one to deep left but it doesn't have enough behind it and Deese catches it at the front of the warning track for out No. 2.
Looks like Ohio State is going for the hit-and-run as Hurley takes off and Stephens swings, but he hits it foul and out of play.
Lynd gets a good jump on a Miller fly ball to right center and puts it away to retire the side.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State mid 5th
Nakata leads off the bottom of the 4th by hitting a groundball back to Best, and Best makes the play for the first out.
Deese pops one up in the infield and Cory Rupert puts it away for out No. 2.Best continues to cruise as he's allowed just one baserunner so far.
Looks like I jinxed him as Cory Wine drives a ball down the right field line and heads into 2nd with a double and the Lions' first extra-base hit of the day. That's Wine's 10th double of the season -- 6 more than anyone else on the team.
What a play out in left by Zach Hurley. Steranka drove a pitch into the gap in left, but Hurley made a terrific dive and came up with the catch to rob Steranka of a hit and rob Penn State of a run.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State 0 after 4
Nakata continues to get a lot of action over at 2nd as he fields as a Dan Burkhart grounder and throws him out at 1st.
Michael Arp grounds out to Glantz at shortstop and Kelley has two quick outs.
And there's a base hit for Ryan Dew as he drives a pitch up the middle for a two-out single. Engle hits a deep fly ball to left and Deese gets under it and records the final out.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State 0 mid 4th
Nice play by Miller at 3rd as he handles a sharp grounder by Wine and just gets him out in time over at first.
Bobby Jacobs hits a high pop-up in foul territory and it's caught by 1B Matt Streng, two away.
Blake Lynd grounds out to 2nd as Best easily sits the Lions down in order in the 3rd.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State 0
No. 9 hitter Matt Streng jumps all over Kelley's second pitch of the inning and hits a shot over the fence into the right field bleachers to put Ohio State up 2-0. That's Streng's fourth homer of the season. Chants of "throw it back" from the student contingent succeed as one of the dozen or so fans out there tosses it back into the outfield.
Zach Hurley hits a sharp grounder toward the hole on the right side of the field, but Nakata cuts it off nicely and throws him out.
With the count full, Cory Rupert grounds out to Nakata for out No. 2. Stephens steps up and drives a pitch straight up the middle, bouncing a few steps in front of Lynd in center for a single. Justin Miller -- who doubled his first time up -- comes to bat with 2 outs. Miller flies out to Marlin in right to retire the side.
1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 2, Penn State 0 mid 3rd
Best gets Cory Wine to fly out for out No. 1, but 3B Jordan Steranka picks up PSU's first hit of the game as he's on base with a single.
Two outs now as Wes Borden strikes out swinging to bring SS Michael Glantz to the plate. Best gets Glantz to go down swinging on a breaking ball and that does it for Penn State in the 2nd.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB
Ohio State 1, Penn State 0 after 2
Kelley strikes out Michael Arp to begin the top of the 2nd and Ryan Dew comes to the plate. Dew slaps a pitch through the gap up the middle for a base hit.
The Penn State student section behind the dugout has been having a lot of fun with the Buckeyes' bat boy this weekend.
.071 hitter Tyler Engle grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Ohio State 1, Penn State 0 mid 2nd
CF Blake Lynd (.443 avg) steps to the plate to lead off the bottom of the inning for the Lions. Lynd tries to bunt his way on both is just thrown out by pitcher Eric Best.
Landon Nakata strikes out swinging to bring up Mike Deese with nobody on, 2 outs. Deese skies a fly ball into foul territory down the right field line. Ohio State puts it away and that's it for the Lions in the first.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Ohio State 1, Penn State 0 after 1
After a good crowd last night, it's understandably not too great this afternoon. But rain in the forecast and an "early" 2 p.m. start will do that.
Lead-off man Zach Hurley begins the game by drawing a walk. Cory Rupert chops a slow roller down the 1st base line, which Cory Wine picks up before stepping on 1st to go the out. Hurley advances to 2nd with 1 out now and CF Michael Stephens batting.
Wild pitch by Kelley allows Hurley to advance to 3rd now. Stephens grounds out on a chopper to 2nd, but it's enough to get Hurley across for the first run of the ball game. 1-0 Buckeyes.
Cleanup hitter Justin Miller jumps on a Kelley pitch and delivers it to the warning track in left field for a double as .376-hitter Dan Burkhart comes to the plate with two outs. Burkhart grounds out to Glantz at shortstop and that'll do it for the top half of the first.
1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB
Ohio State 1, Penn State 0 - mid 1st
Good afternoon baseball fans, Matt Brown here to take you through today's game between No. 16 Ohio State (19-3) and Penn State (13-9) here at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The big question today is the weather. Right now, the sky is overcast but the rain is holding off. AccuWeather says there is a 40% chance of rain from 1-4 p.m. and a 56% chance from 4-7.
Scott Kelley will take the mound today for the Nittany Lions. The right-hander tossed seven innings of scoreless baseball in his last start in Game 2 of the NYIT series. For Ohio State, lefty Eric Best brings his unbeaten 3-0 record to the hill.
In the first game of the series last night, T.J. Macy pitched 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before allowing 5 runs with 2 outs in the 5th as the Buckeyes ended the Lions' six-game winning streak, 8-3.
1. LF Zach Hurley
2. 2B Cory Rupert
3. CF Michael Stephens
4. 3B Justin Miller
5. C Dan Burkhard
6. RF Michael Arp
7. DH Ryan Dew
8. SS Tyler Engle
9. 1B Matt Streng
SP Eric Best
1. CF Blake Lynd
2. 2B Landon Nakata
3. LF Mike Deese
4. 1B Cory Wine
5. 3B Jordan Steranka
6. DH Wes Borden
7. SS Michael Glantz
8. RF Rick Marlin
9. C Bobby Jacobs
SP Scott Kelley
About 15 minutes until the first pitch as wrestler Quentin Wright throws out the first pitch.
Sunder starts the second set with a huge kill from the back row.
Sherrick is in the match. He should get some playing time this weekend because of senior night and some weak opponents.
Some good journalistic work by my partner Tom Kinslow. Penn State hasn't lost at home since Jan. 14, 2006. Expect an article on that next week.
Sunder with another kill as Penn State can do no wrong this set. Penn State 11-2.
Our GoPSUSports.com broadcasting colleague Brian Tripp noted the first set only took 18 minutes and this one is on pace to be much quicker.
Holt sends it back on the overpass.
Stauffer in for Price as Pavlik is getting the seniors some PT tonight.
Sweitzer serves into the net but the Lions still lead 16-5. Sweitzer exits for Mars.
Color me unimpressed with the student section so far. The numbers haven't really increased. Maybe they should have left a trail of breadcrumbs or Creamery ice cream instead of signs. Clearly, reading isn't high on the priority list of things for Penn State students to do on a Friday night. For Princeton fans, it might be. But hey Penn State is the Princeton of Central Pennsylvania.
Jay Stauffer makes a quick appearance in place of Lipsitz to serve.
If there's a better playing in the country than Max Holt, I'd like to see him because this guy just does it all. He can serve, he can swing, he can pass and he can play a little defense when the occasion rises. Holt has four kills and two blocks as the Lions lead 21-14.
A kill attempt hits the Nittany Lion trainer. Can she get some medical attention from the trainer?
If I had a nickel for every Max Holt ace this year, well I'd have 50 nickels. Penn State leads 25-16.
Call it a set. Lipsitz puts back the overpass.
And Price adds in an ace that bounces off a Tiger and into the stands. Repeat the same thing again as Price gets two aces in a row. PSU 29-18.
Tigers are making this interesting. Two balls have weakly fallen to the floor on the Lion side.
But Sunder's had enough. He pounds it into the ground as Penn State takes the first set 30-20.
Some ladies in the first row have tried to create a student section but it hasn't been too successful. They hung up signs guiding students to the proper seats but it seems to just be the original ladies sitting there.
Holt starts with a service error and Princeton matches.
Goas then goes back and gets a rare ace. Don't see that too often.
On the overpass, Price to Goas to Holt for the monster kill. No chance for the Tigers. Penn State leads 7-4.
Passing has been an issue for the Lions early on.
Del Valle with three digs so far tonight, just being his usual self.
The blocking intensity is still way up there for the Lions. I believe they have five so far.
Sunder with the kill to put the Lions up 17-10 as he tries to work himself out of his slump.
Hey Penn State men's volleyball fans, Mike Oplinger here to take you through tonight's match.
It's another brains versus brawn (and brains) matchup tonight at Rec Hall as Princeton visits Penn State at Rec Hall. We had another one earlier this year with Harvard and we all remember how that one ended.
Princeton comes in 7-7 (2-4 EIVA) while the Nittany Lions are 18-3 (8-0 EIVA).
Steranka is up to bat. If anyone can something started, it's this freshman. He has 6 RBI in his last three games.
And sure enough, he smacks a lead-off tripple all the way to the deepest part of center field.
Borden is up to bat, looking to make the score respectable with Sternaka on third.
There aren't many people left, but there are enough to let the pitcher know the home town fans don't like those high inside pitches.
Borden flies to deep center, but Stephens is under this one. Give Borden an RBI anyway.
Youngblood hits one to the pitcher, and we're one away from wrapping up game one of this three game series.
Glantz goes down swinging for out number three.
And that'll do it. Ohio State takes down the Nittany Lions tonight, 8-3. Check back tomorrow at 2 p.m. more Inside the Dugout and game two of the Big Ten series opener.
1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left; 8-3 OSU, Final.
Lutz is still in to finish this thing out. A quick ground out to second by Dew, and Arp makes his way to the plate.
Arp hits one to the 375 marker in the right field gap to get himself on with a double. He's in scoring position, and Streng looks to add to the Buckeyes lead.
Streng grounds out, Arp to third, two away, Hurley at bat. Oof, Jacobs saves a wild pitch to the outside with a dive from his knees. Good thing, Arp was ready to fly in for another run.
Streng has the count full, chases off a few close pitches by fouling them off, and finally grounds out to Kovanda.
Penn State has half an inning to make up a six run deficit.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left; 8-2 OSU after 8.5
Wolosiansky's evening is done, and in comes Drew Rucinski - the guy who held No. 2 Miami without a hit in his three innings of relief duty earlier this week.
Another abnormally high pop up to the gap in left field for Nakata. The fans chant "drop! Drop!" But it doesn't. One away.
Deese is up. A slow bouncer up the middle, over to first, and two are down.
Wine is up to bat. Wine strikes out, and we head into the final stanza.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 8-2 OSU into the ninth
Jesse Alfreno will relieve Macy for the start of the eighth.
Hurley is up to bat. He smokes one to the right field corner. He probably could have had three, but stops halfway between second and third to retreat.
Man on second, zero outs, Kovanda up to bat. Kovanda repeatedly pulls down to bunt Hurley to third, but Alfreno wont give him anything to work with yet. The second baseman draws a walk.
Robbie Wine comes out to talk to Alfreno. Men on first and second, no outs. This could be make or break time for the Lions with only two innings left to make a comeback.
Stephens makes his way to the plate. A wild pitch, and both runners advance. Someone just screamed an obscenity onto the field. I'm not sure who it was meant to be at or which team the fan was rooting for, but it was uncalled for.
Stephens hits one to the right field fence. A fly out sacrfice, both runners advance, one scores for OSU.
Miller is up, and with the second pitch, he sends the ball flying over the left field wall. Two more runs, 8-2 OSU.
Robbie signals to the bullpen. A pat on the rear for Alfreno, a pitching mound to work on for David Lutz.
Lutz relieves Alfreno, fans make their way to the exits an inning early.
Another hit as Burkhart gets one to fall in front Youngblood.
Rupert is up to the plate. A ball hit up the middle, but Glantz was swung around from short. The home work pays off, a double play.
3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 8-2 OSU into the bottom half of 8
Seventh inning stretch, and, of course, with some coaxing from the PA guy, the fans take the term too literally and stand up to loosen up.
Still Wolosiansky out there. He's been hot since his shaky start. He's earned 5 K's tonight.
Youngblood is up to bat. Force out at first.
Glantz is up to bat.
Side note: there is zero wind tonight, and you can tell. The balls are just sailing and sailing when the batters get underneath of them. A ton of high pop ups, a ton of out-of-the-park fouls.
Back to the game now. Glantz gets himself a single. One on and one away for Jacobs now.
Jacobs strikes out, and a quick throw to first almost gets Glantz too.
A smoker to SS for Lynd's at bat. He looks safe, but the ump calls him out. Robbie Wine quickly makes his way to the umpire. He keeps his hands behind his back, and the conversation looks calm from here.
Take it for what it's worth. Still 5-2 OSU.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left; 5-2 OSU heading into the eigth.
Robbie Wine still has confidence in his ace. Macy is back out there as Dew steps in. A high, high infield pop up to Cory Wine, and one away.
Arp is back up to bat now. Another pop up, this one behind first, and two are down.
Streng is ready for his crack at Macy. Another super-high pop up, another out.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 5-2 OSU into the stretch.
Cory Wine steps in, hoping to get some offense going for his squad. Second pitch ground out to second base, and one away.
Jordan Steranka makes his way to the plate now. Second to first again, two down.
Borden is up to bat now. Borden went to swing, pulled back, but the ball hit his bat anyway.
The ball bounces a few feet from home, and after about five seconds, everyone realizes the awkwardly hit ball is staying fair. Weird, weird play. Borden is tug out.
Wolosiansky really settled himself in now, only a handful of pitches that inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 5-2 OSU after 6
Macy is back on the mound, looking to redeem his last half inning.
Miller is up, looking to spark another big Buckeye inning. Miller grounds out to second.
OSU catcher Burkhart is up. Burkhart falls back 0-2 quickly, but one sails high. Guess what? Someone else behind third is assaulted by a foul ball. Burkhart hits one right to Lynd at center, two away now.
Rupert steps up. He hits low liner to Deese in left field, who retreats back a step or two to retire the side.
Just what the doctor ordered for Macy - a quick inning to move into the offensive half of the inning for his team.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 5-2 OSU after 5.5
Glantz is hit by a pitch.
Jacobs up with one on first and no outs. Uh oh, Wolosiansky hits Jacobs now. The crowd is irate. The ump issues a warning and Burkhart comes out from behind the plate to settle his pitcher.
Lynd comes up with two on and none out. Now a coach visits the mound, and the next pitch is over for a strike. The rest of the at bat follows suit, and Lynd strikes out looking, but doesn't seem to agree with the call. He spins immediately to have a word with the ump.
Nakata up, and hits one to short. The baserunners advance, so no double play, but Nakata is out.
Deese up with men on second and third and two away. Right back to Wolosiansky. He juggles the ball, but makes the play to save the inning from getting away from him.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 2 left; 5-2 OSU after 5
The PA announces: "Leading off for Ohio State, number 28, Justin Miller." Miller flies out to center on the first pitch.
Burkhart walks onto the field. Strange couple of happenings there. Jacobs drops the pitch, the ump appeals to third base judge. Burkhart went around. Throw over to Wine, two away.
55 pitches now for Macy as Rupert steps up to bat. Rupert shoots one over the left field and gets himself a two-out single.
Dew comes in with two outs and one on. Dew gets one to fall in front of Lynd. Rupert rounds second a little too hard, and back tracks. Close play at second after Lynd's throw, but Rupert is in there.
Men on first and second, two outs, and Arp is up to bat. The Penn State fans chant "arp" like the seagulls annoyingly say "mine" in "Finding Nemo."
A serious threat to PSU's lead now as Arp shakes the chants and gets a walk to load the bases. Robbie Wine strolls to the mound to calm his ace down.
Bases loaded, two outs, Streng comes up. Full count, can't walk him, Macy stares down and throws, misses outside anyway. OSU will walk a run in.
Bases still loaded with two outs as Hurley steps to the plate. Down goes the Lions lead as Hurley smokes one right up the middle. Two runners score, Hurley takes second as the throw goes in to home.
Men on second and third, two away, Kovanda walks into the box.
This one's getting away from Macy as he walks Kovanda to again load the bases for Stephens, who walks to the plate. Another hit for OSU. Two more score, but Kovanda rounds second way to hard and is tagged out as he tries to retreat.
The damage has been done, however, and OSU moves out in front.
5 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left; 5-2 OSU into the bottom half of 5
Wine walks onto the diamond. Wine hits a foul over the fans sitting behind third again. Is there anything as entertaining as watching foul balls bounce around? That one hits a chair and rockets back into the concessions. Everyone "ooooo's." Grounder to right field, a lead off hit for Wine.
Steranaka comes to the plate, looking to do more damage; he scored two back in the first. Looks like the hit and run is on as Wine sprints to second, but its a foul, he'll have to return. Steranka strikes out, but Wine will steal second standing up, no throw.
Wine on second, one out, Borden steps into the box. OK, maybe it's time to get those people behind third out of there. That one was a blur, right into a pile of folks. I don't think anyone got hit, but the entire stadium held their breath as the ball screamed off Borden's bat. Borden strikes out a couple of tosses later.
Youngblood up to bat. Youngblood struck out. It may be safe to say Wolosiansky has settled in, three K's that inning.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left; 2-0 PSU after 4
Hurley to box for the Bucks'. Let's see if they can solve Macy the second time through the lineup. A hard grounder to Nakata that eats him up, Hurley gets a hit. Finally the scarlet squad has one on.
Kovanda in the box with a baserunner on. Hurley takes off, stong throw by Jacobs. Hurley slides, but it doesn't matter, Nakata was waiting for him. Caught him stealing. Kovanda strikes out immediately thereafter.
Stevens up with none on and two outs. Pop's one up to Deese, and the side is retired.
On an important side note: ABC won the Jukebox vote. We get to listen to little Mike while we wait for the teams to switch sides.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left; 2-0 PSU into the bottom half of 4
Lynd into the box for his second crack at it. He's looking to bunt if the first pitch means anything here. Draws the walk, pulls a Pete Rose as he takes off down the first baseline anyway. This guy must enjoy sprinting; first he robs OSU of a sure double, now taking off for first on a free advance.
Nakata to the plate with Lynd on first. Pitch out to Lynd. Good try, but the guy is fast. Nakata hits one to the SS, over to second, over to first, double play.
Deese to the plate with none on and two outs. Deese takes strike three looking. The crowd erupts, Deese looks at the ump. The ump aint havin' any of it, he turns his back and walks to the backstop.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 2-0 PSU after 3
Macy's kicking some dirt around on the mound as Dew steps in the box. Struck him out looking.
Arp to the plate. There's a "WOW" play from Lynd, who covered a whole lot of ground to get to a high ball at the fence. From dead center to the far back of the right field gap, that guy was movin'.
Streng to the plate. Another strike out for Macy.
Nine up, nine down for Macy, retiring them in order so far.
Youngblood to the plate. Grounder to Miller at third, force out at first.
Glantz to the plate. Over to Miller again, another put out at first for Streng.
Jacobs steps to the box. Miller to Streng for a thrid time.
After a shakey first, Wolosiansky looks to have put it together. Three quick outs, and we head to the third.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 2-0 Lions heading into the third
Macy back on the mound. Second pitch and Miller hits a fly out to Deese. One out, Burkhart to the plate.
Yeeesh. Someone might have just a lost windshield as a high foul goes up and over the press box. Maybe Miller is trying to take someone out, the next one is a bullet into the third baseline stands.
Miller draws the full count walk. Miller on first, Rupert to the plate for OSU. Steranaka digs one out, tosses to Nakata, over to Wine, and the half inning will end for second straight time on a double play.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 2-0 PSU heading into the bottom half of the second
Lynd to the plate, hits a one hopper over the pitchers head. The ball ends up behind the first baseman, but they'll give him a hit. That's 14 straight games with a hit for Lynd.
Nakata to the plate. Nakata successfully pulls off the hit and run, the ball passes behind Lynd as he advances all the way to third.
Men on first and third, no outs, Deese to the plate. Deese is up 2-0 in the count, and OSU will exercise a mound visit in the first to settle down Wolosiansky. No help, Deese walks on four straight.
Bases loaded, no outs, Wine to the plate.
Wine hits one right back to Wolosiansky. Force out at home, a close play at first but Wine is out. Men on second and third, two outs, Steranka to the plate.
Steranaka belts one in the 3B-SS gap, both runners score. Penn State takes a quick 2-0 lead. That makes three straight games with at least one RBI for the freshman third basemen.
Borden up the to the plate with one and two outs. Hits one right back to Wolosiansky, force at first, and the side is retired.
2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left; 2-0 PSU after 1
T.J. Macy to the mound, with the Big Ten's best 1.41 ERA.
One, two, three, and Macy sits Hurley down swinging.
Macy walks Kovanda after a full count, but Stephens chases the first pitch and the Lions defense turns the double play to retire the side.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 0-0
A few side notes before we get started:
I had a suspicion I caught a glance of Jamelle Cornley as I walked into the Med, and sure enough, injured shoulder and all, #2 tossed out the opening pitch.
The stands look to be stratified right now - down the left field line, scarlet colored caps and sweatshirts await the Big Ten opener, while the rest of the stadium looks to be PSU faithful. The stadium still can't be more than 25 percent full.
As for the weather, the earlier sun has been hidden by a glazed-up overcast, but the temperature remains baseball worthy, especially for State College standards.
Welcome baseball fans to another edition of Inside the Dugout. Eddie Gentile here, and I'll be taking you through this evenings game.
Big Ten play opens up tonight with Ohio State rolling into University Park with a 18-3 record while Penn State looks to lengthen its season best six game win streak.
The Buckeye's come into State College ranked No. 28 in the Baseball Writers poll, and they hold the best Big Ten record.
The lineups for the evening
1. LF Zach Hurley
2. 2B Cory Kovanda
3. CFMichael Stevens
4. 3B Justin Miller
5. C Dan Biurkhart
6. SSCory Rupert
7. DH Ryan Dew
8. RF Miichael Arp
9. 1B Matt Streng
SP Dean Wolosiansky
1. CF Blake Lynd
2. 2B Landon Nakta
3. LF Mike Deese
4. 1B Cory Wine
5. 3B Jordan Sternaka
6. DH Wes Borden
7. RF Grant Youngblood
8. SS Michael Glantz
9. C Bobby Jacobs
SP T.J. Macy
Just a few moments until the teams take the field to start the Big Ten season. Stay put.
Last-place Indiana will certainly be substantially better next season. The second-to-last-place team? It doesn't look too promising.
Jake Kelly, who Nit fans may best remember for likely ruining their NCAA dreams, is leaving Iowa. The sophomore wants to be closer to his friends and family after the death of his mother in a 2008 plane crash.
The honorable mention all-Big Ten player isn't alone in his departure. Hawkeye coach Todd Lickliter announced today that Jermain Davis, David Palmer and Jeff Peterson would be leaving the program, as well.
Because of some odd scheduling, Penn State somehow plays its last home matches of the regular season this weekend against Princeton and Mount Olive.
Penn State is a combined 38-2 against the two teams. Yes, somehow the Nittany Lions have lost twice to Princeton. The weaker opponents will give the Lions some leeway to continue to tweak the offense.
The blocking seems to have come around and should be on display as the Lions will again have a large physical advantage. Expect Penn State to roll in both matches and to be back at Rec Hall at the end of April to host the EIVA tournament.
What to Look for: Mount Olive Cole Tallman offering an olive branch to Mark Pavlik after the second set in hopes of ending its misery.
Player of the Weekend: Jay Stauffer. Saturday will be Senior Night and the senior outside hitter deserves to have one last hurrah in front of the home crowd.
vs. Princeton: Penn State 3-0 (30-21, 30-18, 30-18)
vs. Mount Olive: Penn State 3-0 (30-17, 30-18, 30-16)
I can't believe it's already the end of the home portion of Penn State's regular season. It seems like just yesterday Mike and I were sitting in Rec Hall clueless as to what in the world was happening on the court.
As Mike laid out, the Lions have what I'd consider two easy matchups lined up for their home finale in Princeton and Mount Olive. However, I'm personally looking to see if the Lions bring the intensity in these two matches. There have been stretches this season where Penn State seems to coast for stretches, something it can't do against the top teams in the country if they want to repeat as national champions.
If Penn State can bring the pain early and often on Friday and Saturday while tweaking its scheme, it should be a quick two nights for the Lions and their fans.
What to Look For: Penn State's senior foursome being honored before Saturday's matchup (sure I know it's in the paper today on the Grid but it gives me a chance to shamelessly plug my story)
Player of the Weekend: Edgardo Goas. It starts and ends with Edgardo for Penn State. If he's on and running the offense quickly and efficiently, there's no team in the nation that can stop the Lions. But if he's off just a smidge or he becomes predictable, it could spell some stretches of trouble for Penn State. I'm predicting the latter.
vs. Princeton: 3-0 (30-26, 30-25, 30-27)
vs. Mount Olive: 3-0 (30-20, 30-22, 30-24)
After a rough overtime loss at home last week to Fairfield, Penn State hits the road to square off against the high-flying No. 14 Massachusetts Minutemen.
This is the last time Penn State and UMass do battle in ECAC play, so to commemorate this occasion, let's take a stroll down Memory Lane and look back on the matchup through history.
UMass leads the series 6-3 and has won the squads' last two meetings. When the Minutemen made the trip to State College last year, they only took 21 shots but still took the 7-5 victory. The Nittany Lions went just 1-for-6 in man-up situations, and UMass goalie Doc Schneider made 12 saves to shut out Andrew Mackrides and the Penn State attack.
The Lions last beat the Minutemen in 2006 with a 7-5 decision in State College. Then-rookie goalies Schneider and Drew Adams made 13 and 12 saves, respectively.
This year's 14th-ranked UMass squad not only has Doc Schneider guarding the cage, but also the top-ranked offense in the league. The Minutemen rank first in goals per game (10.7), assists per game (5.0) and shooting percentage (.279).
Five players have double-digit points for UMass, led by senior attackman Jim Connolly's 22 off 19 goals and three assists. Senior attackman Tim Balise and junior midfielder Bobby Hayes both have 19 points, while senior middies Rory Pedrick and Evan Blum have 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Schneider's stats at goalie are as good as ever, with a 7.48 goals against average and a .614 save percentage.
Now the Collegian's lacrosse writers offer their thoughts on this weekend's showdown:
Dan: Last week's loss to Fairfield was especially tough considering how hard Penn State had to work to crawl back to .500. The Lions had to beat two ranked teams (Ohio State and Villanova) and play three games in eight days to get back to 3-3. Then they came home and hoped to get back on the winning side, only they forgot to show up against Fairfield. Now Penn State has to go to Amherst to deal with an offense whose lowest scoring output this season was seven goals, and UMass won that game because of Doc Schneider. This is going to be a tough game for a Penn State attack that sometimes struggles to get good shots.
Prediction: UMass 11, Penn State 7
Hen: As Chris Hogan said after the Fairfield game, the schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out. The Nittany Lions face another ranked team, this time the No. 14-ranked Minutemen. UMASS defeated Loyola last week and is riding high. Goalie Doc Schneider was named National Player of the Week by LaxNews last week, so after a four-goal performance from Penn State's offense last weekend, things are not going to be easier. Should be a tough game for the Nits.
Prediction: UMass 8, Penn State 5
Paul: Although the other guys are taking UMass in this one, I'm not so sure. Sure, looking at this game on paper, UMass has to be the favorite. As Hennessey mentioned, Penn State is coming off a four-goal performance last week and now will be going up against the National Player of the Week in goal for UMass. But if Penn State is going to make something of this up-and-down season, it has to start with this game. Coach Glenn Thiel had no problem telling us last week his team was just not very good right now and was in a lot of trouble. If he told us that, I can't imagine what the coaches said to the players about where the team is at now. Penn State will have to play a flawless game to pull this one out, but with so much on the line and the team desperate to turn the season around, it should be an aggressive game with the Lions leaving nothing on the field.
Felix Hernandez may be Seattle's King. Geovany Soto may have the hearts of Chicago. And Matt Wieters may be knocking on the door of stardom. However, there is another who could be the next Great One.
Stephen Strasburg, a pitcher at San Diego State, is making headlines as the next great flamethrower and is being considered the top player available in the upcoming June MLB Draft.
He's been creating buzz with his tremendous stats, fastball, makeup, repatiore, and well, just about everything about him is causing a rave.
In 5 starts this season, he is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA. That not good enough for ya? In 34.1 innings pitched this year, he has only 7 walks and 74 (yes, 74) strikeouts. Does it get better? Yep. His fastball regularly touches 100 mph. And a little more background information -- he struck out 23 batters in a game last season. For his career, he has 254 strikeouts and 38 walks in 168 2/3 innings. He was on the USA Olympic team in Beijing last year, tallying 62 strikeouts in 41 innings.
The stats are all insane, but scouts rave about his stuff. His fastball has been clocked at 102 mph multiple times this season. His breaking pitch is a combination between a curveball and a slider and is clocked in the upper-80s. One scout said he's as surefire front-of-the-rotation starter and another said the scary thing is he still has room to develop.
His coach at San Diego State is someone who's seen good pitching, Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn. He's impressed with his pitcher's stuff and has been taking care of his prized pitcher, limiting his pitch count.
Scouts have said he could start for any MLB team right now, and one scout even said right now Strasburg is better than a healthy A.J. Burnett. One thing that might scare teams away his who he is represented by -- avenging agent Scott Boras.
Boras has said he wants to get Strasburg a big contract out of the draft. However, some team will pay up, even if it isn't the Nationals, who have the first overall pick.
Strasburg is something special, and he will catch everyone's attention shortly.
Here is a video with every one of his 23 strikeouts from that game:
Luke Harangody poured in 30 points and 11 boards as Notre Dame punched its ticket to MSG by topping Kentucky, 77-67, tonight in South Bend.
This sets up an NIT semifinal showdown between the two football schools on basketball's grandest stage Tuesday at 9. It's also another reunion for Lewis Preston, who served as an assistant for the Irish for six years before his two-year stint at Florida.
Kentucky became the third SEC team to fall in the quarterfinals. The last team out was St. Mary's, which lost by four at San Diego State tonight.
The Aztecs will take on Baylor before Penn State's contest Tuesday, with each game's winner playing for the title next Thursday.
For the forth consecutive week, the Penn State men's volleyball team has dropped in the rankings to eighth. Despite a USC loss since the last rankings came out, Penn State still drops after wins over IPFW and Loyola-Chicago.
I, for one, I'm shocked the Lions have dropped again. I know most of the coaches don't get to see any of the matches or most of the teams, but still, show the Nittany Lions some love for a good weekend.
Maybe with another solid weekend and some slip-ups in the Top 7, we'll see the Lions move up.
Rank, School (First-Place Votes), Total Points, 2009 Record, Last Week
1. UC Irvine (15), 239, 7-3, 1
2. Cal State Northridge, 220, 19-3, 2
3. Pepperdine, 211, 14-2, 3
4. Southern California, 289, 13-6, 4
5. BYU, 173, 13-8, 8,
6. Long Beach State, 156, 10-10, 5
7. Stanford, 143, 14-8, 6
8. Penn State, 137, 17-3, 7
9. UC San Diego, 114, 10-10, 9
10. UCLA, 90, 9-12, 10
11. Lewis, 80, 16-5, 11
12. UC Santa Barbara, 51, 6-13, 12
13. Hawai'i, 47, 6-13, 13
14. Ball State, 24, 13-7, NR
15. Loyola-Chicago, 17, 10-8, 15
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Ohio State 14; George Mason 5
Three teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of 10 points.
If you're like me, you love to have as much information provided as possible while watching a broadcast of a sporting event.
I would love to know what the catcher and pitcher discuss during a visit to the mound, or what the quarterback says in the huddle to rally his team before an important play.
Well, the idea of providing this kind of inside information to viewers is being discussed on the PGA Tour, as some caddies will be miked up during the Shell Houston Open. This is just an experiment, mind you, the comments won't air.
A main concern from the caddies' standpoint is not that their conversations regarding key shots will be aired, but rather that everything they utter throughout the round will be recorded.
This idea definitely will need to be tweaked and perfected, but I personally love it. As a golfer myself, I watch golf in part to pick up new things I can add to my own game. Hearing the discussion between players and caddies would allow me to study how players handle certain situations even more acutely, and would provide another way for me to absorb something new about the game.
From a marketing standpoint, the PGA is nothing without dominant personalities, and if this is successful, it would create a closer connection between fans and players, and would make the PGA more appealing.
On another note, this week is the last chance players have to qualify for next month's Masters. The top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the week automatically earn invitations. Some big names sweating it this week will be world No. 47 Davis Love III and No. 52 Stuart Appleby.
Should be an interesting week as players scramble to earn the coveted Masters invitations. Playing at Augusta is one of the greatest honors in golf, and even veterans like Love and Appleby don't want to be excluded from it.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Well, the live blog had to be shut down with about 5 minutes to go so I could get to writing, but as I'm sure you're all aware of now, Penn State held off Florida 71-62 and will play the Notre Dame-Kentucky winner next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in the NIT semifinals. Of course, that game will also be at 9 (in other words, more tight deadlines for us!).
Anyway, I'm back to the hotel after staying at the O'Connell Center until about 12:30 a.m. One short game story will appear in the print edition of the Collegian, while a longer, more in-depth game story will be published online.
Some final stats from the game:
Field Goals: PSU 48.1%, UF 41.7%
3-pointers: PSU 8-25, UF 5-22
Free throws: PSU 11-12, UF 7-9
Rebounds: PSU 37, UF 27
Turnovers: PSU 10, UF 13
Jamelle Cornley 23 points, 12 rebounds
Stanley Pringle 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
D.J. Jackson 14 points, 4 rebounds
Talor Battle 13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists
Erving Walker 16 points
Alex Tyus 15 points, 8 rebounds
Nick Calathes 10 points, 7 assists
That'll do it from Gainesville for me. It's 1:07 a.m., and I have to leave by 8 to drive to Orlando, drop off my rental car and catch my 12:10 p.m. flight back to Philadelphia... where I'll get in the car and drive another 3 1/2 hours back to State College.
Cornley completes a 3-point play at the line, Penn State now has a 57-48 advantage with 7:54 to play.
Tyus answers Cornley now with a big two-handed slam to get the crowd going here at the O'Connell Center. DJ Jackson misses a 3 and Florida takes control. Tyus misses a hook shot against Drew and the ball goes back to the Lions.
Cornley with a big offensive rebound for Penn State, Jackson gets the feed down low and he scores plus the foul on Tyus. Jackson's free throw rolls in and the Lions have a 10-point lead.
5:29 second half
Penn State 60, Florida 50
That will probably do it for the live blog here as other work needs to be done. Check the Collegian for a short write-up tomorrow and the Collegian Web site for a longer game story. I'll be sure to check in here later. Thanks for following along.
Morrissey misses a 3 after the timeout. On the other end, Calathes draws a foul on Danny and heads to the line for 2 shots. Calathes hits 1-of-2, 52-46 Lions.
Cornley backs down into the paint and turns aroundfor 2, Calathes answers for 2 on the other end. 54-48.
Morrissey almost picks up his fourth foul on a loose ball collision but the call goes the other way. Cornley is having his way with Tyus as he ducks in, scores and draws the foul. He'll go to the line after a timeout to try to complete a 3-point play.
7:54 second half
Penn State 56, Florida 48
Calathes brings the ball up for Florida out of the timeout as PSU shifts to a 1-3-1 zone. Calathes misses a 3 and Florida misses a second-chance opportunity. Morrissey's 3 just rims out and Jones is stuffed again on a follow-up attempt.
Alex Tyus scores down low to end the Florida drought, we go to the under-12 timeout.
10:13 second half
Penn State 52, Florida 45
Battle with the lucky bounce as his deep jumper falls with the shot clock expiring. 44-41 Lions.
Calathes draws a foul on Morrissey and heads to the line for 2. He sinks both, 44-43 PSU.
What a block by Chandler Parsons as he stuffs Drew Jones. He picks up another block but gets called for a foul. Drew Jones at the line for PSU's first free-throw attempts of the game. Jones knocks down both.
After a Florida miss from deep, Battle finds Morrissey spotted up in transition, and he connects from downtown. 49-43 Nitttany Lions.
Another 3 for Stanley Pringle. Amazing how much he has heated up since his slow start. 52-43 PSU and Donovan uses a timeout.
10:53 second half
Penn State 52, Florida 43
Penn State to start the second half with the ball and a 33-32 advantage over Florida.
The starting five is out there for the Lions. Drew Jones committed 2 first-half fouls and played just six minutes, but he's back out on the floor now.
Good start for PSU as Cornley hits a jumper from the free-throw line. 35-32 Lions.
Florida's first-half star Erving Walker hits another 3 and the lead is back down to 1. Penn State now coming toward me on offense as DJ Jackson throws the ball in right in front of me.
Back-to-back missed 3s on one possession for Florida. Battle hits a floater down the baseline but it's taken off the board with an offensive foul.
Steal by Erving Walker and it looks like he got away with stepping out of bounds. Florida hits a 3 and the game is tied up at 37. The energy is back in the arena.
With the shot clock winding down, Pringle gets a kick-out at the top of the key and knocks down a 3 for the lead. Calathes with a deep 2 to answer and Florida gets a chance to press again. Nice job by PSU to get the ball up the floor easily this time. Jackson just misses a jumper, and Shipman hits a jumper to give Florida a 41-40 lead.
Cornley gets the feed inside and goes up strong for 2. 16 now for Cornley to lead all scorers.
The ref completely misses a call as the ball bounced off Battle's foot and rolled out of bounds, yet the ball stays with PSU.
13:19 second half
Penn State 42, Florida 41
Some quick halftime stats:
FGs: PSU 46.7%, UF 41.9%
3-pointers: PSU 5-15, UF 3-8
FTs: PSU 0-0, UF 3-3
Rebounds: PSU 16, UF 18
Turnovers: PSU 6, UF 7
Jamelle Cornley, 12
Stanley Pringle, 9
D.J. Jackson, 7
Talor Battle, 5
Erving Walker, 9
Alex Tyus, 7
3 players with 4
The second half is about to start, although my updates probably won't be as frequent with deadline rapidly approaching after the game.
PSU gets the ball in low to Cornley, and he kicks out to Pringle on the wing for a 3. 32-30 Gators.
Another 3 for Stanley in transition, and all of a sudden Penn State has taken the lead back. That's an 8-0 run for the Lions.
Under a minute to play now in the first half after some sloppy play on both ends of the floor. Battle now patiently dribbles before hitting Morrissey. Morrissey drives the baseline but picks up an offense foul. A 3 second difference between shot clock and game clock as Calathes walks the ball up the court and Florida sets up. Florida loses control and gets hit with a shot clock violation. PSU has just 1.9 seconds to work with as Morrissey throws it in to Battle across the court, and his last-second shot just rims out.
PENN STATE 33, FLORIDA 32
Pringle with a terrific bounce pass into Jackson, and he goes up for 2 to tie the game at 25. Calathes comes up empty again and PSU can take the lead, but Cornley's short jumper rims out.
Nice tip-in by Werner off a miss to give Florida a 27-25 lead. Erving Walker pulls up for 3 in transition and knocks it down for the Gators after a Babb miss. Florida gets a steal and Calathes finally gets his first points with an easy uncontested lay-up. 32-25 and the place is rocking here. Battle misses, but DJ Jackson gets the tip-in. May have been offensive goaltending, but the refs didn't call it.
3:42 first half
Florida 32, Penn State 27
An exchange of steals by the two teams, and Battle ends up with a fastbreak layup to cut the lead to 2. PSU comes up with another steal but Battle gets called for a walk. Timeout again.
7:16 first half
Florida 25, Penn State 23
Jeff Brooks now on Calathes, and Calathes with a great feed down the baseline to Parsons for 2. Florida's press gets PSU for the first time as 10 seconds is called. Cornley back into the game for Brooks
Calathes misses a 3, he's yet to score. He does have 4 assists already though.
Another 2 for Cornley, but Walker answers by draining a wide open 3 from the wing. Two times in a row now PSU has a complete miscommunication on defense as Walker gets a wide open 3 from the same exact spot.
8:12 first half
Florida 25, Penn State 21
Chris Babb now in the game for the first time. He kicks out to Brooks, who misses everything on a 3 from the corner. And another timeout.
10:01 first half
Penn State 19, Florida 17
Shipman at the line shooting 2 after the timeout. He sinks the first, Jeff Brooks replaces Drew Jones and Shipman also buries the second. 13-9 Gators.
After a Pringle miss from 3, Morrissey replaces Jackson. Battle-Pringle-Cornley-Morrissey-Brooks now for the Lions.
Pringle drives and kicks back to Battle for an open 3 from the corner to cut the lead to 1. Tyus gets it back to 3 on a second-chance bucket in the lane. Another 2 for Cornley, he has 8 already. Make that 10.
A terrific drive by Hodge and he sinks a floater to retake the lead 17-16. Pringle finally connects on a 3 and it's 19-17. Billy Donovan uses his first timeout.
10:52 first half
Penn State 19, Florida 17
In other NIT news, Baylor has beaten top-seeded Auburn 74-72 on the road to become the first team to advance to MSG. Baylor will take on either San Diego State or St. Mary's.
Florida controls the opening tip and we're underway here in Gainesville. Walter Hodge misses a 3 and PSU gets a chance to grab the first bucket. Cornley does just that with a short hook shot. Good thing the injured arm is his left arm. Way too easy for Alex Tyus as he beats Drew Jones and draws the foul. Tyrus knocks down the free throw and Florida goes into its full-court press.
After a Pringle miss, PSU grabs an offensive board and Cornley ends up with another short bucket. 4-3 Lions.
Walter Hodge with a quick bucket on the in-bounds pass after a Battle foul away from the ball. A short jumper for Tyrus is good and it's 7-4 Florida. On the press, Erving Walker gets called for a foul away from the ball.
Ray Shipman with an easy bucket in the lane and Florida takes a 9-4 lead. Florida's goes back into a matchup zone, but Calathes is guarding Battle on the press. Another bucket for Cornley. Getting it inside is clearly PSU's gameplan early, injury or not.
DJ Jackson with a big 3 from the corner and we're tied at 9. Jackson is guarding Calathes in PSU's man-to-man. Calathes comes open and feeds Chandler Parsons for 2.
Ray Shipman draws a foul on Drew Jones and will head to the line after a timeout.
14:22 first half
Florida 11, Penn State 9
Starting lineups being introduced now... Cornley left shoulder is very heavily wrapped, but he is starting.
A video is played calling the O'Connell Center the "House of Horrors," and well, it's hard to argue against that one. Florida is 18-1 at home, and a win tonight would set the school record for homes win in a season.
And we're about to get underway here. Should be a great one.
Among the PSU contingent here is athletic director Tim Curley to the right of me. And the cheerleaders did manage to find the place...
Still a lot of empty seats on the two ends but the rest of the place is pretty full as we get close to tip-off. Definitely not a bad NIT crowd. Good student turnout too it looks like.
I mentioned the lousy chant by one PSU fan earlier, but to be fair, there have been plenty of not-so-clever insults coming from the people behind me as well. That's all I'll say.
For some reason the Florida pep band plays the National Anthem 10 minutes before tip-off. Apparently Penn State didn't get that info because the Lions went back to the locker room beforehand. Oops.
A Penn State fan keeps screaming "Nick Calathes sucks." Well, that's just not true.
Calathes is the obvious player to watch for the Gators. Not only does the 6-foot-6 guard score 17.4 points per game, but he has broken the Florida single-season assists record in each of his first two seasons in Gainesville.
With his height, he will be a tough matchup for the Lions. Expect DJ Jackson to get a shot at defending him early.
Not that it wasn't expected, but good news for PSU fans as team spokesman Brian Siegrist informs me Jamelle Cornley is ready to go tonight.
The usual contingent of Penn State family members is seated to my left behind the bench, but I've also spotted a Penn State fan sporting a No. 12 shirt in the Florida student section. Apparently the Nittany Lions' cheerleaders are supposed to be here, but no sign of them yet. Florida's student section has filled in nicely but I'm curious to see how the rest of the place looks at game time. For a program that just won back-to-back national titles, it's understandable if the fans aren't too excited about the NIT.
Today's probably starting lineups:
G- 11 Erving Walker
G- 15 Walter Hodge
G- 33 Nick Calathes
F- 21 Dan Werner
C- 23 Alex Tyrus
G- 12 Talor Battle
G- 11 Stanley Pringle
F- 15 D.J. Jackson
F- 2 Jamelle Cornley
C- 22 Andrew Jones
Just under 20 minutes until tip.
Matt Brown here, coming to you live from the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. After a 3 hour drive to my hometown of Perkasie last night, a 1 hour drive to the airport in Philly this morning before sunrise, a 2+ hour flight to Orlando and a 2 hour drive from Orlando to Gainesville, I am in my seat with about 35 minutes until tip-off of tonight's third-round NIT showdown between Penn State and Florida. The winner advances to Madison Square Garden to take on Notre Dame or Kentucky Tuesday in the semifinals.
I have a great seat on the end of the baseline press row, with only the tunnel separating me from the Penn State bench. Should be a great vantage point. Unfortunately, it's a 9 p.m. tip, meaning an extremely tight deadline for writing after the game. I will do my best to keep the live blog updated, but given that it's a one-man operation here along with the tight deadline, things will be busy.
One of the complaints being leveled at the NCAA tournament this year is the abundance of basketball bluebloods presiding over this year's Sweet 16.
Indeed, this year's tournament has favored the classic programs, as the only double-digit seed still alive is 12-seed Arizona, a program that has won a national title, and features McDonald's All-American Chase Budinger, and that could hardly be labeled a Cinderella.
Why the lack of Cinderellas? Well some are crying foul that 'Zona was included over mid-major darling St. Mary's, given their late-season slump, but other than that selection, exactly what beef do people have with the selection committee? Penn State certainly had a case to be included, but there was an equally compelling case against the Lions as well.The true reason behind the lack of Cinderellas: the mid-majors (Cleveland St. and Western Kentucky notwithstanding) didn't come to play.
If say, Arizona and Wisconsin had met in the play-in game as opposed to Morehead State and Alabama State, what would have been accomplished? Instead of getting a nationally televised game with the entire nation watching, both schools would have been sent immediately to be pummeled by one of the blue bloods in the first round. With the play-in game, those teams not only get the chance to win an NCAA tournament game, but they get twice as much exposure as before, exposure that Arizona and Wisconsin don't need quite as much.
ESPN's Pat Forde laments the growing divide between mid-majors and major conference teams, but Forde doesn't actually offer up any evidence for this theory, other than the fact that this year's Sweet 16 doesn't include any Cinderellas.
Back in 2006, when George Mason's Final Four run led a parade of mid-majors that made deep tournament runs, all the talk was about parity. Now, just three years later, everyone is whining about the opposite thing.
If Western Kentucky had escaped against Gonzaga on Saturday, would we have parity or would we still be consolidating power at the top?
If the lack of small schools still left dims the tournament's star for you, then it's your loss. Duke-Villanova, UNC-Gonzaga, Syracuse-Oklahoma are just some of the epic matchups awaiting us. Big-time players, big-time coaches and big-time teams.
Not too much happened this week in the Top-10, but plenty of shifting occurred in the bottom half of the USILA polls.
Harvard jumped up five spots from 16th to 11th after starting off 4-1 and scoring 29 goals in its last two games. Granted, that came against Hartford and Penn, but still that's very impressive.
By beating then-No. 12 Loyola, Massachusetts moved from the unranked to No. 14 just in time for Penn State's visit to Amherst this Saturday. The loss pushed the Greyhounds down to No. 15.
A week removed from its first 5-0 start in more than a decade, Hobart's loss to Rutgers dropped it to a tie for 17th. The Statesmen fell four spots in the rankings and are now tied with Colgate, which was one of four Top-20 teams that were unranked last week. Joining Colgate and UMass are Villanova at No. 19 and Denver, which is tied with Albany for the 20th spot.
So here's how the Top-10 panned out. As always, Penn State's opponents (a.k.a. Notre Dame) are in bold, and each team's ranking last week comes in parentheses.
1. Virginia 10-0 (1)
2. Syracuse 5-1 (2)
T3. Notre Dame 6-0 (T3)
T3. Cornell 5-1 (T3)
5. Princeton 5-1 (5)
6. Hofstra 4-1 (6)
7. Johns Hopkins 3-3 (9)
8. UMBC 5-2 (7)
9. Maryland 6-2 (11)
10. Duke 7-3 (8)
A couple of Penn State's opponents received votes in the poll but weren't officially invited: St. John's, Georgetown, Bucknell, Ohio State and Fairfield.
Maryland's Greivis Vasquez is known for his loud, unfiltered mouth. He's had his share of antics such as cursing at his own fans apparently.
But picture this scenerio. Vasquez's Terps just squeked into the NCAA tournament with a decent run in the ACC tournament. Kudos. Maryland, a 10 seed, actually topped No. 7-seeded California to advance to the second round. Double kudos. Next up? The Memphis Tigers. Yeah, last year's runner-up and one of the teams to beat in this year's Big Dance.
And the eloquent Venezuelan couldn't help but make comments like these just 24 hours before the game.
"If [Memphis] played in the ACC Conference, they'd have a losing record in the league," Vasquez said. "They'd probably win all of their games outside the league and have a losing record in the league. The ACC is too tough."
"Even the President's bracket has them in there," Vasquez said. "Every team Memphis has played was intimidated because they went to the Final Four, but we're not intimidated by anybody.
"If they underestimate us, they're going to be in trouble."
Come on now. Are you serious? He honestly couldn't have been that arrogant going into a game like that. Memphis is gigantic compared to Maryland, and he had to have known his team was going to have to play perfect to beat the Tigers. It's not even worth making those remarks knowing there's a pretty good chance you're going to eat your words.
And he did. Big time. The favorites advanced to the Sweet 16 with a thrashing of Maryland, 89-70. Ouch. Sucks for that guy.
Memphis, of course, had some fun with it and purposely messed up his name and things like that. But in the end, it was deserved. It falls under the ole "talk the talk, walk the walk" adage. You just can't say those things with a 19-point whooping following.
The Nittany Lions leave for sunny Florida tonight at 6, and I'll be following in the morning. Matt Brown here, getting ready to fly down to Florida to cover Tuesday night's NIT third-round showdown between Penn State and Florida in Gainesville.
I'm making the drive back home to Bucks County tonight and my flight leaves Philadelphia International Airport bright and early at 7:55 a.m. and should arrive in Orlando by 10:45. From there, it's about a 1 hour, 45 minute trip north to Gainesville and the University of Florida.
I'm hoping nothing too eventful happens in my trip, but I'll be posting regular updates on the Hardwood Hits Twitter, along with a live blog here of the game from press row at the O'Connell Center. Also be sure to check the Collegian for stories from the game Wednesday and Thursday.
It Was Over When...: Penn State struggled against IPFW and Loyola-Chicago a month ago. No chance this team would lose to Loyola again.
Player of the Weekend: Max Holt. The big middle hitter had 11 service aces to lead a powerful Nittany Lion service game.
Stat of the Weekend: 22. Loyola had 22 service errors, almost handing an entire set worth of points over to the Lions.
Quotable: "The end," Max Holt as he finished his answer to the last question of the press conference.
Tom's Look Back
It was Over When...: IPFW: When they entered the gym. Loyola: When the Ramblers squandered a first set rally.
Player of the Weekend: Edgardo Goas. Edgardo ran the offense to perfection on Friday night. He experienced some trouble on Saturday but overall was a standout.
Stat of the Weekend: 20. Penn State had 20 service aces this weekend, while its opponents only had four.
Quotable: "They were scared. They were."- Max Holt on why Loyola had so many service errors.
Setter: B+. As we said earlier, Edgardo ran the offense perfectly on Friday. However, on Saturday, especially in the first set, the offense became predictable and you could see who was getting the ball from a mile away.
Middle Hitters: A. Max Holt was a standout this weekend with his service game while Max Lipsitz had another strong weekend.
Outside Hitters: B-. Not the best weekend from the duo of Joe Sunder and Ryan Sweitzer. Sunder struggled on Friday, hitting .091. On Saturday, Sweitzer hit .000. However, he did have five aces from Sweitz. Overall, we've seen better days from the duo.
Libero: B+. DDV (thanks Mike) was himself this weekend. He's the major vocal spark plug for this team and his intensity really helped the team this weekend.
A hard liner for Deese to get the third consecutive leadoff batter on.
Steranka is able to advance Deese as the latter was taking off. It was a routine grounder that would have been a DP if not for the jump.
The Bears are trying to catch Deese off-guard for a pickoff but have yet to deliver a throw.
Glantz floats one over short to bring in Deese, who checked to make sure the ball wasn't caught before turning on the afterburners to score. That ball just seemed to float in the air before falling in safely in the OF. 4-0 PSU
Yet another DP hit into by the Lions, as Youngblood grounds out softly.
1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left; 4-0 PSU after 3
Grumley surrenders a leadoff walk on a full count to Ruffler.
Grumley shows a good pickoff move and almost gets Ruffler. He continues to throw it over to Wine to make sure there's no large lead.
The walking issues seem to have lingered on the mound. Grumley walks another batter and there's a conference on the mound.
A blunder by Neill on a bunt. He hits it too high in the air and Grumley catches it. He wanted to throw it to second but then threw it to first just in time to get Carr out. A rare doubleplay on a sacrifice bunt attempt.
An easy popup for Steranka, who handles it cleanly and ends what was once a good threat.
A solid at-bat for Lynd, who works a full count from Ryan and then looks at ball four for a leadoff walk. That's now 18 baserunners allowed by Ryan in 8+ innings.
Lynd is caught stealing thanks to a good throw by Carroll. Penn State is trying to be aggressive early, but it got bit that time.
Another walk for PSU, this time from Nakata. Let's see if the Lions attempt another steal, as they were very successful yesterday.
Nakata went for the steal, but Wine hits a sharp grounder for the out at first. But because of Nakata's jump, he's in safely at second for a RISP with two out.
Deese lines one hard right back to the pitcher and the speedy Nakata gets in safely for the first run of the game. With the throw home, Deese is able to go in to second. 1-0 PSU
Steranka strikes out to end the side, but the Lions take the lead going into the second.
1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left; 1-0 PSU after one
Grumley falls behind early before throwing three straight strikes to punchout Neill.
Smith lines one between short and third that is scored a hit but could have also been an error.
Valdez can't advance his teammate, as he pops out to Wine in foul ground.
Smith successfully steals second but the highlight--or lowlight--of the play was Heath's throw to second. Perhaps a little rusty after not playing lately, Heath and his throw almost hit Grumley in the back.
Grumley works out of a little jam by striking out Grazziani.
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left; 0-0 after 1/2 an inning
Sunday brings warm(er) weather and the weekend's final game as the Nittany Lions look to sweep New York Tech.
Where have all the fans gone? The student contingent on the third base side is no where to be seen. So it should be a quiet day.
While I wish I was in St. Louis covering the NCAA Wrestling Tournament, the Daily Iowan (Iowa's student newspaper) is there, and the staff is doing a great job covering it.
The coverage is good, but what has stunned me is the photographs taken by Julie Koehn. These beautifully capture the sport of wrestling, the mystique of the tournament and the dedication and incredible intenseness displayed by these wrestlers at the biggest collegiate tournament in the world.
Take a look, especially picture No. 8 of 39. Truly awesome.
The Ramblers may not be dead yet. Loyola has cut the lead to 24-20 and their fans have once again risen to let their presence be known.
However, Will Price will have none of that. Price fires home a kill, his 10th of the night.
Okay, now it's just about over. The Lions lead 27-21 with Lipsitz back to serve. Penn State played much better this weekend than last and looked like the team we've seen most of the season. If the Lions can find their consistency, there's no reason they shouldn't be competing deep into May.
Amazing dig to keep the play alive by Sweitzer but despite the hustle, Loyola still walked away with the point.
Loyola then promptly fires the serve out of bounds and it's match point.
Penn State sets up Holt and Max delivers to emphatically end the match and the crowd roars its approval as the Lions walk away with the 3-0 win.
Max Lipsitz and Ryan Sweitzer are throwing a party. What kind of party? A block party. Who's invited? Everybody. The duo combine to thwart another Rambler attack and lengthen Penn State's lead and keep up the blocking intensity the Lions have had all night.
On a side note, Mike Bunting has been held in check all night. Seven kills tohis name with two blocks and two digs.
Another service error from Loyola. Sad display tonight from the Ramblers.
Well get the bags ready and start the buses cause this one is just about over. The Lions lead 23-15 as Goas and Lipsitz keep the block party rocking.
Loyola has started to rally and now only trails 12-10. Too bad they cannot serve tonight to save its own life. Double digits service errors and they've come at the worst times tonight for the Ramblers.
Will Price is still fired up as Loyola commits a hitting error and keeps digging itself a hole, now trailing 16-11. They'll have to turn it around quickly because their backs are starting to be pressed against the wall.
Max Holt is still a bad, bad man. Another ace by Holt to give him five for the match. Penn State leads 3-1.
An intense rally ends up with another Penn State point and Will Price jumps to the air pumping his fists as the Lions take a 7-5 lead as the crowd roars in approval.
Penn State continues to roll as Loyola calls a timeout trailing 9-5.
So Will Price can jump high. REAL high. Price touches the sky and hammers home a kill to put Penn State up 26-21.
There's no stopping Penn State and Max Holt now. Holt has had an amazing match so far tonight and the Lions are right on the verge of sending it to the intermission up 2-0.
The crowd rises to their feet and are willing the Lions to put the nail in the set. Loyola fires it deep out of play to end the set 30-23.
We'll be back after the intermission.
Great blocking by Penn State as they block two consecutive Loyola attacks to send the crowd into a frenzy.
Max Holt keeps them on his feet as he hammers home his fourth service ace of the match.
Penn State continues to roll and leads 23-18.
Another service error for Loyola and the Lions widen their lead. The Ramblers just keep shooting themselves in the foot all match long.
The Ramblers have rallied to tie and their fans stomp their feet accordingly.
Penn State is starting to slip and now trail 14-2 and Pavlik calls a timeout to settle the Lions.
I'm not sure what just happened but Sunder was back to serve, Sweitzer ran back to get the ball and served it. I think Penn State didn't rotate right but managed to get the point anyway.
Jay Stauffer makes his first appearance of the match as the Lions trail 17-15. Interestingly, Stauffer was not in to serve, as is his specialty.
Another service ace as Holt fires it home to give Penn State the 19-18 lead. The service game has been strong all night for the Lions and has carried them all night long.
First Half Stats
Penn State hit .185 in the first set, led by Max Lipsitz who hit .667, on the flip side, Ryan Sweitzer hit -.286.
Loyola committed nine service errors in the first set.
Penn State had six service aces, led by Joe Sunder's three.
Mike Bunting, who destroyed Penn State in the first set had two kills, two hitting errors and a hitting percentage of .000.
The two teams are yet again keeping it close in the second set, with Penn State holding the narrow 7-5 advantage.
It's just one of those nights for the Ramblers. Sweitzer's serve hits the net and rolls over for an easy point.
Give credit where it's due. After mentally collapsing to end the first set, Loyola has managed to hang in there and it's 11-9 Penn State.
Since Loyola put the Lions' backs to the wall in the first set they've done a much better job of running their offense and confusing the Ramblers.
Loyola continues to rally and its sidelines are rocking now. The Lions need to cut this rally off now.
The Ramblers have quite the vocal fanbase and now it's turned into a battle of the fanbases. The score is 19-17 as the chants of "LU" echo off the walls.
Penn State cannot run its offense. You could see Sweitzer coming from a mile away and so did the Ramblers. Too bad Loyola can't serve to save their lives. Eight points off of service errors.
Now the Lions start to respond and have opened up a 25-18 lead. Loyola's fans are trying to will the Ramblers back into the set but Joe Sunder will have none of it. Sunder has hammered aces home on three of the last four Penn State points.
Another service error by the Ramblers and when Loyola looks at the boxscore from this set, it'll wonder where it all went so wrong. Nine service errors by our count.
Penn State continue to pour it on and take an 28-19 lead. Loyola just let this set slip away from them.
How fitting, a tenth service error ends the set 30-21.
It's starting to get to the point of no return in this set for Loyola, Penn State leads 17-8 and seems to be scoring at will. The crowd is into it and everything is going the Lions' way.
The Ramblers are starting to show some signs of life. Three straight points have cut the lead to 17-11.
However, Loyola just shot themselves in the foot with another service error to give Penn State the serve.
Maybe I spoke too soon. Loyola has rallied and has cut the score to 18-14. Pavlik calls a timeout to settle his team.
Out of the timeout, Loyola can still not stop the Lions' attack and lead 11-6. Penn State is getting good, clean looks and driving them home with accuracy, something that was lacking last weekend for the Lions.
Max Holt fires home a beautiful service ace, keeping up his great service game from last night to put Penn State up 13-6 and another timeout is called by Loyola.
Penn State is looking to send a message tonight and it's being heard loud and clear so far: Get out of the way, or we'll knock you out of the way.
The two teams are keeping it close so far in the early going but Penn State holds the 4-3 advantage and still have not trailed all weekend.
Another service error from Loyola and that's the third of the match by my count. If Loyola wants to pull the upset twice, it'll have to limit its errors or it could be a long night.
A service ace by Sweitzer puts Penn State up 8-4 and a timeout is called from the Rambler bench. Gotta stop the bleeding.
Dennis Del Valle
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans, it's Tom Kinslow coming to you live from the press box above Rec Hall where your Nittany Lions are set to take on the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago.
Penn State will try to avenge their loss to Loyola earlier in the season. This was a loss that ended Penn State's shot at an undefeated season. A loss that ended the Lions shot at the top seed in this May's national tournament.
It's the Rumble in Rec Hall, the Street Fight in State College. Only in America!
We'll be back with the starting lineups and first set action in bout 15 minutes.
Does it annoy anyone else that anytime there are NCAA tournament games played in Philadelphia, Villanova gets assigned there?
Well it bugs the crap out of me, because it's unfair that the Wildcats get to play "neutral" games at Wachovia Center. After all , when my Syracuse traveled to play a road game at Villanova back in February, they played the 'Cats at Wachovia. The NCAA allows teams to be assigned to arenas as long as they haven't played more than three home games there during the season, and Villanova thinks it's mighty sneaky by playing all but three of its home games at its crummy, glorified high school gym, The Pavilion (arrogantly named as if it's the only pavilion in the world).
Well I think it's bunk that teams can play at their home arena as Villanova does, and I wish they would change the rule.
As you can probably tell by now, I don't much care for Villanova. Why? Because they pummeled Syracuse twice this year? Partially, but here are my reasons why I'm rooting for the Bruins:
1. Because I picked UCLA in my bracket. (Seriously questioning this pick after watching the Wildcats come out of the gate pretty strong).
Right-hander Drew Palen enters the game to close out this one. With a 13-run advantage, it's safe to say the Lions won't have much trouble. NYIT even cleared out its bullpen already.
Palen has allowed 9 earned runs in five appearances so far this season. Wayne points out that NYIT has more errors (5) than hits (3). Ouch.
Make that 4 hits as Neill hits a single up the middle. Palen jams Smith and he inside-outs a pop-up to 2nd base for the first out.
Pinch-hitter Mike Morrelli enters the game for Valdez and gets a nice welcome as Palen drills him in the back with a pitch. Pinch-hitter Steve McNamara hits a single to left and the bases are loaded with just one out, prompting a mound visit.
Another pinch-hitter as part-time pitcher Steve Faulkner steps up to the and pops up to short. NYIT is down to its final out as Eric Cos is at the plate. He's 1-3 today with a single. Cos walks, and there goes the shutout.
Greg Gilroy gets ahead 3-0 as Jacobs goes out to settle down Palen. But it's a 4-pitch walk and another run scores. That'll do it for Palen.
Two-sport player Jesse Alfreno (Football cornerback) will take the mound and try to get the game's final out with the bases loaded. Alfreno boasts a 3.27 ERA in six relief appearances. He'll face NYIT No. 8 hitter Sebastian Grazziani.
Alfreno gets ahead of Grazziani 0-2, and on a 1-2 pitch he gets him to fly out to centerfield.
Penn State takes the first two games of the series, with the finale coming at noon Sunday. Thanks for following along, we'll be back tomorrow.
Sean Deegan pinch-hits for Wes Borden and grounds out to first to start the inning.
Mike Deese reaches on yet another error at third base, and Joey DeBernardis pinch hits for Cory Wine and rips a single to right center. 1st and 3rd, 1 out for Steranka.
Steranka flies out to center, but it's deep enough to easily get Deese home. 13-0.
Roth gets Glantz to strikeout swinging, and that'll do it here in the 8th.
1 run, 1 hit, 1 LOB
PSU 13, NYIT 0 after 8
Scott Kelley leaves after a very strong 7 innings of work and no runs and just 3 hits. In for Penn State is lefty Mike Lorentson (0-3, 8.15).
Lorentson easily retires the first two batters and Chris Ruffler steps to the plate. Ruffler flies out down the right field line and that's it for the Bears in the 8th.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 12, NYIT 0 mid-8
The student section is small, but somebody did manage to bring a cowbell to use after "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Another pitching change for NYIT as right-hander Chris Colleran takes over for Bernardi after just 1 inning of work. Colleran promptly walks Bobby Jacobs to start the inning.
Now Colleran throws a wild pitch and Jacobs easily advances to 2nd. Rough start for the new pitcher. With a full count, Landon Nakata draws a walk and PSU has 2 on base.
And that'll do it for Colleran as he's pulled for lefty Bobby Tesseyman. Tesseyman carries a 6.00 ERA and a 0-1 record in three appearances.
Lead-off man Blake Lynd back at the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. Lynd walks. I wonder if NYIT is questioning taking out Bernardi after nis solid relief work in the 6th.
Nobody out and Wes Borden steps up with the bases loaded... and walks. I'm sensing a theme this inning. That'll score Jacobs, 6-0 Lions. Finally NYIT gets something going as Tesseyman gets Mike Deese on a 64 mph pitch.
Cory Wine looks to continue his strong showing, as he's 2-3 with two runs scored. Of course, he walks. In comes Nakata for another run.
Jordan Steranka hits a single to score Lynd and advance each runner a base. This one is getting out of hand. Glantz lines out to third, and Wine should have been doubled up at 2nd but the 2nd baseman dropped it.
This time, Youngblood takes 1st base as he's hit by a pitch and another run comes across. At least the Bears are coming up with new ways to give PSU free passes. Penn State has now batted walked around this inning and Jacobs will come to the plate again. Another pitching change as right-hander Mike Roth takes the hill (0-1, 3.86 in 5 appearances).
After 2 balls, Roth works Jacobs to a full count. Jacobs drives a sharp grounder to Valdez at 3rd, and it's too much for Valdez to handle. Safe all-around and another run scores. We've reached double digits... Penn State lead 10-0 with 2 outs here in the 7th.
With a full count, Naka hits a slower ground ball to 3rd. Valdez handles it easily, but 1B Christian Dienna drops the throw. Safe all around again, 11-0.
Now Carroll lets a pitch get away from him behind the plate and Youngblood scores. Nice play by Valdez as he dives and stops a sharp grounder hit by Lynd and throws him out.
The marathon inning is finally over.
7 runs, 1 hit, 2 LOB
PSU 12, NYIT 0 after 7
Clean-up hitter Christian Dienna leads things off for NYIT in the 7th. He has the Bears' only extra-base hit, as he hit a double in the 4th. Another wild pitch for Kelley as that one sails over Jacobs' head. At least he's only lost control with nobody on base. Next pitch, Dienna hits a routine ground ball to 2nd and is retired.
Kelley gets a favorable call from home plate umpire Ben Drew as George Carroll is rung up on what looked like a low pitch out of the zone.
And Kelley cruises through another inning as he gets Eric Cos to fly out to left.
Stretch team at Medlar Field.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 5, NYIT 0
I guess the "Chicken Dance Challenge" is going to be a daily event here at the ballpark. Riveting stuff as 3 kids do the chicken dance on the visiting dugout.
Cory Wine drives a pitch into deep left-center and rolls into 2nd safely for a lead-off double. That's Wine's 3rd double of the series.
3B Jordan Steranka skies a pop-up down the left field line in foul territory, but it drops between the shortstop and third baseman. Steranka rips the next pitch into center field for a single, Wine is held up at 3rd. Two on, nobody out for Michael Glantz.
And that'll bring out NYIT's coach out to the mound for a pitching change. Wasmund is pulled after 5+ innings and the new NYIT pitcher is righty Louie Bernardi.
Bernardi has posted a 7.88 ERA in 5 appearances (2 starts) this season. His first pitch is a 71-mph breaking ball that dives in for a called strike against Glantz. Glantz grounds into a 6-4-3 double play, but it's enough to get Wine across from 3rd and the PSU lead climbs to 5-0. That run will be charged to Wasmund.
Bernardi ends the inning as Youngblood grounds out to second.
1 run, 2 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 5, NYIT 0 after 6
9-hole hitter Chris Ruffler leading-off the 6th for NYIT with Kelley still going strong on the mound for the Lions. Ruffler inside-outs a pitch into foul territory and 1B Cory Wine catches it for an out.
Kelley blows a 91-mph fastball by Denten Neill for his 4th strikeout of the game and the second out.
SS Brian Smith now batting and he loops a single into shallow right-center. 3B Effrey Valdez at the plate with 1 on and 2 out.
Gotta love the sound effects here at Medlar Field. A foul ball into the Penn State bullpen draws a cow sound effect... nothing wrong with playing into the Centre County stereotypes.
Kelley ends the inning by getting Dienna to pop a lazy fly ball up to Youngblood in right.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 LOB
PSU 4, NYIT 0 mid-6
Preston Wasmund still on the mound for the Bears after a shaky 4th inning. Lead-off hitter Blake Lynd steps the plate. He's 1-2 today and hitting .451 for the season. Wasmund jams Lynd on a 3-2 pitch and Lynd hits a sharp ground ball to first. Lynd nearly beats the toss to 1st on a head-first slide but is called out.
Borden taps the ball back to Wasmund and he easily throws to 1st for the second out.
A quick inning for Wasmund as Deese flies out to left-center to retire the side.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 4, NYIT 0 after 5
No. 6 hitter Eric Cos leads the inning off for the Bears. He singled in the 2nd for the Bears' first hit of the game. Cos strikes out swinging for out No. 1.
Kelley drills Gilroy with a pitch, but apparently it hit Gilroy's bat for a strike. That's gotta hurt. Gilroy walks anyway and NYIT has a man aboard with 1 out and LF Sebastian Grazziani coming to bat.
Grazziani rips a 2-2 pitch to Glantz at short, and it is an easy 6-4-3 double play for the Lions to end the inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
Penn State 4, NYIT 0 mid-5
Cory Wine leads things off for PSU with a single to right, and Jordan Steranka does the same. 2 on, nobody out for the Lions.
And Cory Wine scores on another poor throw by the Bears. Mike Glants grounded to shortstop and Smith flipped to Ruffler for 1 out, but Ruffler's throw to first got away. With the error, Wine scored and Glantz advanced to 2nd.
Youngblood grounds out to second and Glantz advances to 3rd with 2 outs now.
C Bobby Jacobs up at the plate now with Glantz on 3rd. Jacobs works a full count, and on the 3-2 pitch he drives a pitch deep into the "Nittany Bank Nook" in left center field. Glantz scores, Jacobs heads to 2nd safely and it's 3-0 Penn State.
Nakata at the plate with a chance to do more damage before this inning is finished. And he does just that on a sharp single to left field, Jacobs scores standing up and it's 4-0 Lions.
George Carroll finally guns down a runner as Nakata is caught stealing at 2nd.
3 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB
PSU 4, NYIT 0 after 4
No. 2 hitter Brian Smith is back at the plate after being stranded there last inning. Smith skies a 2-2 pitch to left-center and Lynd puts it away for the first out.
3B Effrey Valdez lines a 2-2 pitch to right field but Youngblood easily puts that one away for another out.
NYIT gets its second hit of the game as Christian Dienna ropes a ball down the left field line for a 2-out double.
Youngblood makes a nice catch down the right field line to retire the side.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 mid-4
2B Landon Nakata makes his first plate appearance and flies out to Neill in center for out No. 1.
Lead-off man Blake Lynd lays down a bunt but C George Carroll's throw doesn't come close and Lynd advances to second. That's a two-base error by Carroll and Wes Borden steps up the plate.
Borden hits into a fielder's choice, as Lynd gets caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd and is tagged out.
2 outs, Mike Deese at the plate. He hit an RBI single in his first at-bat. Nothing doing this time thought as he pops up to shortstop to end the inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 after 3
No. 8 hitter Sebastian Grazziani leads off for the Bears and is having trouble catching up to Kelley's 90-mph fastballs. With an 0-2 count, Kelley blows another one by him for out No. 1.
With 2B Chris Ruffler at the plate, Kelley lets go of a wild pitch that sails way over Ruffler's head. And he does it again. Ruffler walks on 4 pitches.
Man on first, top of the order for NYIT with Denten Neill at the plate. He struck out in his first appearance. Neill pops a pitch up over the net behind the plate, just missing hitting a lady on the head. That would have heart. Neill hits a ground ball to Glantz at short, he steps on 2nd for an out but for some reason thought it was the last out of the inning. Embarrassed, he trots back to short.
SS Brian Smith at the plate, but he'll return next inning. Bobby Jacobs guns Neill down in a stolen base attempt to end the inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 mid-3
SS Mike Glantz leads off the inning with a fly out to right, one away.
RF Grant Youngblood slices a 3-2 pitch to left but Grazziani gets under it and catches it for out No. 2.
Yesterday's star Bobby Jacobs steps to the plate. He hit his first career homer yesterday and knocked in 3 of Penn State's 4 runs. Jacobs gets caught looking on a fastball over the inside corner and Wasmund retires the side with ease.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 after 2
Kelley picks up where he let off and gets Dienna to ground out to third on the first pitch. One away.
C George Carroll at the plate and works a full count. He rips a 3-2 pitch up the middle but Nakata is there to throw him out, 2 away.
RF Eric Cos collects a hit that bounces just in front of Deese in left for NYIT's first hit of the ballgame.
DH Greg Gilroy drives a pitch to deep center but Lynd calmly races back and makes the catch to retire the side.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 mid-2nd
CF Blake Lynd steps up to lead things off for Penn State and takes an 84-m.p.h pitch for ball 1. With a 2-2 count Lynd hits a slow roller to third base and beats out the throw for an infield single.
With DH Wes Borden at the plate, Lynd takes off from first and George Carroll doesn't attempt a throw. Borden goes down swinging for out No. 1.
LF Mike Deese now batting with Lynd on 2nd and 1 out. With a 1-0 count, Lynd takes off from second and beats the throw over to 3rd for another stolen base. Deese gets Penn State on the board as he singles through the gap to left field and Lynd scores.
1-0 PSU and 1B Cory Wine steps up with Deese on 1st and 1 out. PSU is coming out running today as Deese takes off from 1st and easily swipes 2nd. Wine drives a pitch into center but Denten Neill makes a nice sliding catch for the second out.
3B Jordan Steranka tops a pitch to second and is thrown out to retire the side.
1 run, 2 hits, 1 LOB
PSU 1, NYIT 0 after 1
And we're underway as Scott Kelley fires an 89 m.p.h. fastball for a ball to being the contest. Kelley rebounds with three consecutive strikes and CF Denten Neill goes down swinging for out No. 1.
SS Brian Smith promptly grounds out to 2B Landon Nakata for a quick second out.
And Kelley has an easy 1-2-3 inning as 3B Effrey Valdez hits a sharp groundball to 1B Cory Wine and Wine tosses to Kelley covering first base. That's a seven pitch inning for Kelley.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB
NYIT 0, PSU coming to bat mid-1st
It's a bit warmer than yesterday here at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Not ideal baseball weather, but it should creep into the 50s today. The crowd is not quite as strong as last night as students appear to still be sleeping. The Lions have broken out their navy blue uniforms today with white hats. NYIT is in its road grays with light blue numbers.
Welcome back to Day 2 of the New York Tech-Penn State series. Matt Brown here to take you through today's afternoon tilt between the Bears and Nittany Lions. After falling behind 2-0 Friday, Penn State came back to win 4-2 thanks to a Bobby Jacbos 2-run homer and a Cory Wine go-ahead double.
Today, right-hander Scott Kelley (2-2, 4.70 ERA) takes the hill for Penn State against NYIT right-hander Preston Wasmund (1-0, 0.73).
1. CF Denton Neill
2. SS Brian Smith
3. 3B Effrey Valdez
4. 1B Christian Dienna
5. C George Carroll
6. RF Eric Cos
7. DH Greg Gilroy
8. LF Sebastian Grazziani
9. 2B Chris Ruffler
SP Preston Wasmund
1. CF Blake Lynd
2. DH Wes Borden
3. LF Mike Deese
4. 1B Cory Wine
5. 3B Jordan Steranka
6. SS Michael Glantz
7. LF Grant Youngblood
8. C Bobby Jacobs
9. 2B Landon Nakata
SP Scott Kelley
We're a few minutes from the opening pitch. Stay tuned.
Unfortunately for Jamelle Cornley, he will not play another game in the BJC.
No. 1 Florida advanced in the second round of the NIT tonight, beating Miami, 74-60, in Gainesville.
The win means the No. 2 Nits will now fly down to the Sunshine State for a Tuesday night contest, with an NIT final four berth and trip to the Garden on the line.
It also means Penn State assistant Lewis Preston will be back in Gatorland for the first time since leaving this past summer. Preston was on the staff of the back-to-back NCAA championship teams Florida produced in 2006 and 2007. His departure came as a surprise to many.
ESPN will televise the 9 p.m. tip-off. The winner will get the winner of the following night's Notre Dame - Creighton/Kentucky game in the NIT semifinals, which start Tuesday, March 31.
We're kind of surprised we haven't seen Pavlik go to the bench yet tonight but he still might be trying to work out the kinks for the first team.
A Sweitzer kill into the stands ends the match as Penn State takes the third set 30-17.
A solid overall performance from the Lions.
The tougher match of the weekend still looms tomorrow night against Loyola. The Lions are looking to avenge an early season loss to the Ramblers.
See you tomorrow night.
Somethings in life just aren't fair. Playing against Max Holt is one of them. The senior pounds another kill to give him eight for the match.
IPFW goes on a little run but it's probably too late.
Sweitzer with a big kill on the overpass to give Penn State a 19-11 lead.
Turn out the lights, this one's over. 24-14 with Sweitzer serving.
Goas starts off the third set with one of his patented sneaky kills.
Kook gets a kill for the Dons and we have our first tie score of the match.
Some role reversal here. Goas makes the spectacular diving dig and Del Valle sets to Sweitz for the kill.
Practice seems to have paid off for the Lions. IPFW's outside hitters have been shut down as Penn State has been strong with the block tonight. A slow-developing IPFW offense helps too.
Holt with the big block. As always, Holt leaves his arms raised in the air in celebration.
Well, at least IPFW has the coolest nickname in college sports. This match seems to be over. Timeout IPFW with Penn State leading 13-4.
Stats from the second set:
The Lions sided out at 85% and led the entire way.
Sunder is still hitting .778 for the match. It's been one of those matches where the big freshman is just on. Of course he has his down matches but his talent is showing tonight.
IPFW has only 18 kills for the match and is hitting only .070.
I'm starting to feel bad for the Dons. Holt with a mammoth kill from the back row. IPFW has been unable to get a hand on many of the Lions' kills.
IPFW's Kook hits the ball into the net to end the second set. Lions win 30-21 and take a 2-0 set lead.
Stauffer again in to serve for Lipsitz.
Give the Mastodons credit for being energetic. They seem to be constantly yelling and certainly having fun, despite getting beaten pretty badly.
Holt continues to dominate from behind the service line.
Penn State leads 27-21 as IPFW calls another timeout.
Goas gets block on his kill, but then sneaks one by the block for a point.
Surprisingly, we've just reached our first timeout of the match. Penn State leads 18-12 and seems well on its way to another set victory.
The Lions haven't trailed so far in this match.
Goas brings the ball back from over the net for a one-handed set to Sweitzer, who pounds it into the floor.
Penn State is just better physically than IPFW. The Lions continue to jump higher than the Dons.
Holt's serve goes into the net. Nobody's perfect.
Lipsitz barely gets a piece of the ball but it's still good enough for a kill.
Holt with the block and then the kill giving Penn State a 15-11 lead.
Some stats from the first set:
Sweitzer leads with seven kills. Sunder had four kills and four digs, hitting .800.
Penn State sided out at 88%. Going to be a long match for the Dons if that keeps up.
And Penn State gets out to a fast start again. Holt's serve is really on tonight, knocking the Dons out of their offense.
Sunder comes flying from the back row for a huge kill to put the Lions up 4-2.
Holt back to serve looking to end the set, but his serve hits the net and goes out of bounds.
Price back to serve on the first of 13 game points.
A Don kill hits Goas in the face and we will go to another game point.
Blocking, blocking, blocking. The third Penn State block of the volley by Lipsitz ends the set. 30-17
Jay Stauffer comes in to serve for Max Lipsitz in what has become customary late in games.
This Lion offense certainly looks improved. The sets are quicker and on target, utilizing all the weapons so far.
Price with a weak kill attempt that Kook sends back over the net with two hands. But Penn State still leads 25-14 as this set is as good as over.
Penn State gets out to a fast start behind the service of Max Holt.
A long rally puts Penn State up 7-1.
Edgardo has it going early. A quick set to Lipsitz for the kill puts the Lions up 9-2.
Looks like a bad day to be a Mastodon. Penn State dominating early up 12-6. IPFW is cheering when it digs a ball.
Holt with an ace that bounces off a Don into the stands. And Holt with another ace that IPFW can't get a hold of. 18-8 Lions
The Starting Lineups
Dennis Del Valle
Hey Penn State men's volleyball fans, Mike here to take you through tonight's match vs. the IPFW Mastodons.
The Nittany Lions have already defeated the Mastodons early this season. But the Lions are coming off two five-set losses last weekend
Penn State leads the series with IPFW with a record of 36-13.
Before the match even begins, it seems there is good news to report. Coach Mark Pavlik appears healthy enough to roam the sidelines tonight as he is currently talking with IPFW coach Arnie Ball and former Penn State coach Tom Tait. Some impressive knowledge and victories there.
Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament and we're still waiting for some big upsets.
Yes, the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky won as a 12-seed last night, but other than that, nothing major has been transpiring. We are used to some 13 seeds taking out 4s and even the occasional 14-3 upset.
More upsets are coming, hopefully, or my bracket will be in the toilet like most years. Arizona is gonna take down Utah in another 12-5 matchup, and watch out for Portland State against Wake Forest.
Despite all the chalk picks doing well so far, it's only a matter of time before the Cinderellas of the world make their presence known.
Some consider this the best weekend of the year, and I don't want to upset them by disagreeing, so let's go with it. But unless we see some big upsets, this will be one of the least exciting tournaments in recent memory.
The music choice here is apparently tied to Fenway, as "Sweet Caroline" echoes in the stadium. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the same effect as it does with 100,000+ at football games.
The wind helped take Deese's hit to the wall, where Neill was unable to nab it for the out.
Wine is now up with the chance to give the Lions the lead. He gets a pitch and hits hit down the LF line for a soft double and the game-leading run as of now.
Steranka advances Wine to third with a grounder. An insurance run would be huge as Penn State tries to complete its comeback.
Costa takes over pitching duties for the Bears as they try to escape the inning only done one run.
After Nakata gets HBP, Marlin gets hit himself to load the bases.
The side is finally retired, but not before Penn State gets the big insurance run by Jacob's fielder's choice.
2 runs, 2 hits, 2 left; 4-2 PSU after 8
Ryan Ignas replaces Macy on the mound.
Macy's stats: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K and another no-decision to stay 2-1
Nakata fields an easy grounder for the first out. That's 10 straight Bears batters retired.
Make that 11 with Grazziani's strikeout.
Yet another 1-2-3 inning with a grounout.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 2-2 tie after seven and a half
Picconi grounds out to short for the out. Guarassi is still in the game, and it seems he may have weathered the storm from a few innings back.
Lynd hustles out a grounder but is beaten by the throw. It's shaping up as another quiet offensive inning for these teams.
Borden flies to RF to end the inning. Both teams are now down to their last six outs.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 2-2 tie after 7
Macy stays on the mound for the start of the inning.
Ruffer hits one right back to the mound for the inning's first out.
Neill strikes out on a full count.
Macy finishes off his second straight 1-2-3 inning by earning another groundout.
o runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 2-2 tie after 6 and a half
Wine gets the Lions started by hustling right after making contact for a leadoff double. That should have been a single, but Wine kept running and took advantage of a slow throw in.
The Bears then take advantage of an easy bunt to gun down Wine, who was trying to advance to third. Steranka is safe at first, however.
Steranka gets his second SB of the year and then advances to third on a throwing error by Carroll.
The Lions almost grab their first lead, but Nakata's liner is grabbed for the second out.
Marlin then works out a walk to put runners on the corners.
Jacobs smacks the ball hard right at Guarassi, who throws to first to retire the side. He hobbles a bit in pain but I'm sure he'll take the out.
0 runs, 1 hits, 1 left; 2-2 tie after 6
Cos strikes out for Macy's seventh K.
Gilroy fouls out quickly for another out.
Dienna gets a couple of good swings off Macy and just lays off a high pitch to stay alive. But on the next pitch, he grounds out to Macy for a 1-2-3 inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 2-2 tie after five and a half.
Nakata is working the pitcher now. He lines one hard for a single.
Marlin and PSU are playing small ball, as he gets down a sacrifice bunt. Nakata moves to second.
Jacobs sends one deep and OUT for a two-run home run. The bench cleans out to meet him. It's his first homer of the season -- PSU carrer -- and ties the game. It may be that Penn State has finally solved Guarassi. 2-2 tie
Picconi goes down swinging. It looks like he was swinging for the fences on that one.
Lynd's speed then leads to another hit. The Bears had no shot to get the speedy Lynd out, so PSU now has a two-out rally on its hands.
There's a meeting on the mound as Tech is trying to get out of the inning still tied.
Four straight balls for Borden, and the fourth one reaches the backstop. First and second now.
Deese can't extend the inning, as he grounds out softly to SS to end the threat.
2 runs, 3 hits, 2 left; 2-2 tie after five innings
Another hit for Tech, as Neill gets his first hit of the contest. Yet again, an early runner is on for the Bears.
Macy shows a nice pickoff move and almost Neill out. Smith is fighting off a deep count. He's hit two foul balls out right up and out of the park. His hard work pays off as he lines one through the infield for a single. Tech is in business now with runners on first and second with no out.
No action in the PSU bullpen just yet.
Huge K for Macy as Valdez strikes out. Runners can't advance. The fans chant "left, right, left, right..." as Valdez walks over to the dugout.
One pitch, another out as Grazziani flies out to Marlin. Tech's potentially big inning may be on life support now.
Carroll grounds out to end the threat. A huge rebound to keep it a two-run game.
0 runs, 2 hits, 2 left on base; 2-0 NYIT after four and a half
Deese continues to struggle on the day with a quick out. Another failed attempt to get the leadoff man on.
PSU's strongest hitter so far this season, Wine, is up next. But he grounds out for an easy putout.
Steranka lines out foul and it clangs off something. I honestly missed it but I certainly could hear it. On the next pitch, Steranka Ks. That's the sixth strikout of the inning.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left; 2-0 NYIT after 4
Another hit for the Bears, as Cos lines one just out of the reach of Picconi for a leadoff single.
Gilroy advances Cos to second with a sacrifice. The Bears seem content with getting just one run this inning.
Dienna flies out to middle center for an easy, key out.
Ruffler is then retired to end the threat.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 left; 2-0 NYIT after three and a half
Penn State continues to have trouble getting a leadoff man on, as Jacobs strikes out looking.
Picconi drives one to the warning track in left center but Neill makes the catch. That was the best hit of the day but it remains another out. Still no hits for the Lions.
PSU gets speed on base and its first hit with Lynd just finding space in front of the right fielder. Let's see if he gets sent.
Borden can't extend the inning as he flies out to RF.
0 runs, 1 hit, 1 left; 2-0 NYIT after 3
Macy notches his third K of the game already to start the inning.
Valdez crushes one to the wall and Deese is unable to catch it. It bounces away from him for a second but Valdez is safely on second for a one-out double. He just missed a home run on that one.
Macy falls behind 3-0 but quickly earns a strikeout for a huge out. He's now one away from getting out of this inning.
He does just that and retires Grazziani.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 left; 2-0 NYIT aftet two and a half
Wine strikes out to start the inning and Steranka grounds out for another quick out.
Guarassi is doing a nice job of getting ahead early in the count.
Of course, just as a say this, Nakata promptly walks on four pitches for the first base runner of the game for the Lions.
NYIT is making sure Nakata doesn't get a big lead. He has yet to steal a base this season, but the Bears aren't taking chances. It's all a moot point, as Marlin pops out to Dienna.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 left; 2-0 NYIT after 2
Grazziani strikes out. But since Jacobs can't hold on to the pitch, he has to throw to first for the out.
Carroll lines one right up the middle for the first hit of the game. Nakata does a good job of cutting it off for a close play at first, but is not in time. A small chorus of boos comes up from the small crowd.
Macy works himself into trouble by walking Cos on five pitches. This is the first real threat of the game.
Macy gets two quick strikes against Gilroy before the batter fights off a tough pitch that falls in no-mans land in shallow left-center to get the bases loaded with one out.
Dienna can now put his team ahead and does with a flyball to left field. Deese's throw home is high so Carroll gets in safely. A lower throw could have meant a double play. 1-0 NYIT
Ruffer keeps the inning going with a hard hit single through SS and 3B. Steranka thought about reaching out for it but realized it was too far out of reach. 2-0 NYIT
As Neill comes up for his second at-bad of the game, the PSU faithful start singing, "Oh, Canada," as Neill hails from Quebec. Perhaps a better song would be "Blame Canada" in honor of South Park.
But back to the game, another runner almost scored from a hit by Neill that can't be contained by Picconi. Gilroy tries to score from second on the play, but is gunned down at home to end the inning.
2 runs, 3 hits and 2 left on base; 2-0 NYIT after 1 1/2
Lynd gets a 2-0 count but grounds out to second. He hustles down the line but is just out.
Borden goes down on a full count. Penn State is making Guarassi work hard, but it has nothing to show for it just yet.
Deese is making good contact, hitting consecutive fouls to the right side to stay alive. But he's caught looking to end the inning. Not very happy, he stands for a couple of seconds before tossing his bat and heading to the outfield to play defense.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left on base; 0-0 as we head to the second.
Macy is working the fastball early and Neill is very late. Macy tries to hit the corner, but didn't get the call. A good at-bat by Neill to fight off 1-2 count to earn the walk.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 left on base; 0-0 with PSU coming up for its first at-bats of the game.
Smith swings at the first pitch and flies out to centerfield. The Bears then try to get a two-out run by attempting a steal, but Neill is picked off. It couldn't have been an easier out than that.
Macy then strikes out Valdez on a 65-MPH pitch to end the inning.
Penn State (8-8) vs. NYIT (3-9)
Starters: T.J. Macy, PSU (2-1, 1.08) vs. Andrew Guarassi, NYIT (1-2, 6.27)
All-time Series: PSU, 4-2
Some stats (PSU/NYIT)
Batting Avg: .306/.251
A cold but sunny day here in Lubrano Park at Medlar Field for Penn State-New York Institute of Technology. It's Wayne keeping all you baseball enthusiasts up to date with Nittany Lions baseball.
The Lions' home opener comes after they went 6-3 in Florida during Spring Break. PSU scored seven or more runs in all but two games, including 18 vs. Florida Gulf Coast. On the season the Lions are led offensively by Cory Wine (.466-2-24). His batting average ranks second in the Big Ten and his RBI total is tied for fifth.
On the mound, Macy has surrendered only three earned runs in four starts. His ERA is second in the conference and he is third in strikeouts with 30.
In the other dugout, the Bears have no real slugger, with no batter driving in more than seven runs this season. Guarrasi's strongest asset is his ability to strikeout batters. He averages more than a K per inning but has also walked 16.
The last time Penn State played IPFW and Loyola-Chicago in the same weekend, the Nittany Lions came out 1-1. But that loss was to Loyola and the Lions rebounded the next night to beat IPFW in four sets.
In the victory, the Lions relied heavily on stud middle hitters Max Holt and Max Lipsitz. Lipsitz had 22 kills while hitting .724. Holt hit .593 and tallied 18 kills. The Lions needed to lean on their All-Americans that night to carry them to victory. But they need to start getting outside hitters Will Price and Joe Sunder more involved and efficient in the offense.
With coach Mark Pavlik out sick this week (Get well soon, Pav.), assistant coach Colin McMillan led practice and emphasized a more efficient offense. The offense apparently has received some minor tweaks and we'll see how it turns out.
What to Look For: IPFW outside hitter Ben Duckworth's service game. The sophomore leads the nation in aces per set. We'll see how his serves stack up against Max Holt's rockets.
Player of the Match: Since Mike forgot to pick one in his e-mail to yours truly, we'll say Dennis Del Valle.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-21)
Coming off of two tough five-set losses the Lions will try to rebound against IPFW tonight. Penn State will need to take better care of the ball this weekend, something they weren't able to do out west.
As Mike so astutely pointed out, coach Pavlik was out sick this week (get well soon Pav) and it'll be interesting to see how the team plays if McMillian is roaming the sidelines. I expect Penn State to rebound from these tough losses and look like the team we've seen for the majority of this season.
However, if they struggle this weekend, it may be time to ask some tougher questions about this team.
What to Look For: If Mark Pavlik is coaching from the sidelines.
Player of the Match: Ryan Sweitzer. I'm gonna ride the hot hand with Sweitz on this one. Coming off of 27 kills look for Sweitzer to have another strong performance.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-25, 30-26, 30-22)
Quentin Wright loses 4-1, I lost the radio contact, so I can't give any commentary on the last period, but Wright's bid to become a national champion this year will come up short. He can still become an All-American as he'll move into the consolation bracket.
Frank Molinaro apparently had a disputed match earlier on vs. Pittsburgh's Tyler Nauman. He won 5-4, but Pitt disputed the match and protested. The officials have now officially put down the protest, which means Molinaro will move into the third round of the consolation bracket.
That's big for Molinaro's goal of becoming an All-American and also the team race, as Penn State is fighting for position. A top 10 showing is not out of the question right now for the team.
Browne will start off in the bottom position to start, and Wright is doing a nice job riding him right now. He has a cradle right now, but Byers describes it as sloppy, so they will stalemate and start back up in the middle.
Browne scores a reversal as Wright's hips were a little out of tilt with 36 seconds left in the second period. Wright trails 2-0. He has a 1:06 riding time advantage, but that will dwindle probably for the rest of the period and then will start off on bottom to start the third. He's really going to have to work on the bottom to move the match in his favor.
Browne has a single-leg, but the wrestlers force a stalemate.
As I'm trying to listen to the Penn State radio network and the ESPNU telecast, I hear an ESPNU announcer say that 14 million dollars is pumped into the St. Louis economy because of this tournament. That's a lot of money.
Wright and Browne go into the second period scoreless.
Wright is wrestling No. 3 seed Brandon Browne from Nebraska. Browne is a redshirt senior and Wright of course a true freshman. Browne defeated Wright 3-1 at the National Dual tournament in Iowa.
Browne has the left elbow of Wright, trying to turn him onto his back, but they move off the mat neutral.
1:20 left in the first period in this quarterfinal matchup.
Penn State is tied with Oklahoma State for 14th place now at NCAAs.
Quentin Wright comes onto the mat now, trying to become the only true freshman in Penn State wrestling history to become an All-American. They are waiting for ESPNU to come back from commercial for the match to get underway.
Metcalf's breakfast after his 8 a.m. workout: Oatmeal with brown sugar sprinkled on it "for extra flavor." He is also drinking chocolate milk because it's "good for recovery."
For lunch, he made his way on campus for a sandwich: Turkey with avocado, sprouts, spinach. "A lot of greens make for a tasty sandwich," Metcalf said.
The guy is unbelievable. He is going to walk away with this national championship.
He is leading Oklahoma's Kyle Terry 6-2 right now. He basically lets him escape, trying to get another takedown. The period comes to an end, and Metcalf escapes and gets a takedown, moving the score to 9-3.
Ohio State currently leads the team race, 47.5, 12 points ahead of Iowa. The Buckeyes have benefited from two great runs from Reece Humphrey and J Jaggers.
We will have an unseeded wrestler in the semifinals, as Maryland's Alex Krom is on a tear. He defeated Iowa's gritty 141-pounder Alex Tsirtsis in the first round. He has now defeated No. 12 Drew Lashaway of Kent State.
Here's the 141-pound semifinal bracket:
No. 8 Ryan Williams, ODU vs. unseeded Alex Krom of Maryland
No. 3 J Jaggers, Ohio St. vs. No. 7 Chris Drguin, Arizona State
As ESPNU went to commercial break, they said they have a segment called "A Day in the Life of Brent Metcalf." I know I'm staying tuned to watch that.
Jaggers has a reversal now as the wrestlers move off the mat to tie the bout at 2-2. He now has control, riding Gallick in the center of the match. Jaggers is the defending national champion, and is the No. 3 seed this year. Last year he came in as the No. 6 seed.
Jaggers has a cradle now, and has Gallick on his back. Such a dominant performance from Jaggers, as he made Gallick look silly as he pinned him with 1:12 left in the first period.
Jaggers yelled and pumped his fist as he ran to his coaches for congratulations. He's being interviewed by the ESPNU crew and is displaying an aura of confidence.
Great things are to come for Jaggers.
In other Penn State action, redshirt sophomore 125-pounder Brad Pataky defeated Illinois' B.J. Futrell, 12-6, to advance to the third round of the consolation bracket.
Frank Molinaro will wrestle Pittsburgh's Tyler Nauman in his wrestleback match, coming up soon.
Meanwhile, J Jaggers of Ohio State is wrestling in the quarterfinals at the 141-pound weight class. Six seconds into the match, Iowa State's Nick Gallick has taken down Jaggers, earning a 2-0 lead.
The 133-pound weight class quarterfinals are underway now. ESPNU is showing two matches: Andrew Hochstrasser from Boise State vs. Daniel Dennis from Iowa, then Hofstra's Lou Ruggirello and Michigan State's Franklin Gomez.
I'm listening to Jeff Byers for the Jake Strayer(PSU) and Reece Humphrey(OSU) results. Strayer trails Humphrey 10-5 in the third period, desperate for a big move here. Strayer is working in on double underhooks. Sounds like Humphrey is backing up and stalling, but as I say that, Humphrey has a counter takedown, moving the match to 12-5. Now Strayer has escaped, 12-6, but Humphrey has a double-leg takedown, moving the score to 14-6, essentially 15-6 with the riding time advantage. Byers said he is very, very impressed with Humphrey.
Good run for Strayer, but he will leave the championship bracket. He'll go into the round of 12 tonight. If he wins that match, he'll earn All-American honors.
The semifinals are now set for the 133-pound weight class:
No. 1 Franklin Gomez of Michigan State and No. 5 Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State
No. 6 Jayson Ness of Minnesota and No. 2 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State
Good morning, everybody. This morning, the NCAA Quarterfinal round is underway in St. Louis. March Madness is in the air.
ESPNU is covering the tournament and the first match I'm watching is Anthony Robles of Arizona State, the one-legged grappler, going against Northwestern's Brandon Precin. Robles is dominating, up 9-0 on the No. 4 seed Precin. Robles has dominated some really tough competition, as he beat Iowa's Charlie Falck, the No. 5 seed, yesterday.
He has officially won his match now, solidifying Robles as an All-American.
Angel Escobedo has also defeated Zachary Sanders to advance to the semifinals.
The semis are now set for tonight at the 125-pound weight class:
No. 1 Paul Donohoe from Edinboro vs. No. 12 Anthony Robles from Arizona State
No. 3 Angel Escobedo from Indiana vs. No. 2 Troy Nickerson from Cornell
For the first time in seven months, neither of my beat partners or I were responsible for previewing the upcoming weekend's action today -- but that doesn't mean we didn't want to.
See, for as much as there's been written on how athletes are creatures of habit, writers (at least the three who wrote in this space starting on a day this past September) are just as guilty. So the fact that there is no hockey to report on today is downright eerie.
In case you missed the Icers package in today's Collegian, here are both stories:
In the inaugural BTP post in early September, I wrote of how I could smell that it was hockey season and of how great it was that hockey had returned -- and of how my only complaint was that the smell of hockey was strangely similar to mildew. I'd prefer that smell to the summer (As an Alaskan, I'm not one for sandy beaches and suntan lotion).
If you like today's stories, here are two more that I think sum up this senior class fairly well:
It took more than a month of non-conference play, but Massachusetts finally opened up its ECAC schedule Saturday, and the Minutemen made a statement.
UMass knocked off No. 12 Loyola in Baltimore, 8-6. The Minutemen did so by shutting down Loyola's attack in the first half, going into the break up 4-1.
The Greyhounds put up 44 shots on the game, including 28 in the second half, but UMass goalie Doc Schneider rose up and made 17 saves. Loyola got a hat trick from Cooper MacDonnell, but the usually spread-out offense failed to get its other attackmen involved.
UMass, on the other hand, got a pair of goals from Jim Connolly and Bobby Hayes, and four other Minutemen put one into the net.
All this happened last week as well:
St. John's 8, Siena 7: Siena put up three and four goals in the second and fourth quarters, but had nothing to show for the first and third periods. The Red Storm used that to their advantage, using three third-quarter goals to move past the Saints andÂ catapult a six-goal second half. Drew Schanen, Trevor Michaelsen and Jamal Jones each notched two goals for St. John's, and although Siena goalie Brent Herbst made 12 saves, his team found itself a man-down too much to come through (from the 2:27 mark in the second period, the Saints had five trips to the sin bin, while St. John's had zero).
Lehigh 10, St. John's 9: The Red Storm couldn't sweep its week, falling in overtime to Lehigh. A goal a minute and a half into overtime by Brian Bienemann sent the Mountain Hawks home happy. Lehigh got out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, but St. John's held on long enough to come back in the fourth. A five-goal final frame sent it into overtime. In the end, not even five goals from Harry Kutner could win it for the Red Storm.
Fairfield 8, Marist 6: Otherwise known as The John Snellman Show. The Fairfield attackman scored four goals for the Stags and was the only one for his team to score multiple goals. Fairfield also grabbed 35 ground balls to Marist's 26.
Rutgers 5, Hobart 4: Well, Hobart probably won't be ranked much longer. A week after skyrocketing from out of the USILA polls into 13th, the Statesmen fell flat against one-win Rutgers, scoring only one goal in the first three periods. The Scarlet Knights only put up eight shots in the second half, but it was enough to get a pair of fourth-quarter goals to seal the deal.
Duke 9, Georgetown 5: The Hoyas just can't catch a break. They lost their fourth game in their last five, this one to the No. 8 Blue Devils. The Dukies got out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Duke was led by going 3-for-7 in man-up situations and a hat trick by Max Quinzani.
So now that another week of ECAC play is done, here's how the conference standings shape up:
1. Fairfield (2-0, 4-2)
2. UMass (1-0, 4-3)
3. Loyola (2-1, 5-3)
T4. Hobart (1-1, 5-1)
T4. St. John's (1-1, 5-2)
T4. Rutgers (1-1, 2-5)
T7. Penn State (0-2, 3-4)
T7. Georgetown (0-2, 2-4)
So yes, the Nittany Lions are tied for last in the ECAC. But at least they have a better overall record than the currently ranked Hoyas.
This week, two ECAC members due battle with defending champ Syracuse. Hobart heads down the Orange's way Tuesday, and then Loyola hosts the No. 2 team in the country.
Hobart also plays Fairfield this week, as the Stags visit Geneva, N.Y., on Saturday.
Rutgers and Georgetown get two games this week as well. The Scarlet Knights welcome Princeton on Tuesday then goes to St. John's on Saturday, while Georgetown hosts Harvard on Wednesday and Navy on Saturday.
Penn State and UMass square off on Saturday to round out this week in the ECAC.
Saturday's matchup on Jeffrey Field will be the last Penn State-Fairfield showdown in the ECAC. Time to look back at all the memories.
Penn State leads the series 6-2, and currently rides a three-game winning streak against the Stags. In the last three seasons, the Nittany Lions have outscored Fairfield by a total of 28-15.
The last Stags victory over Penn State came in State College on March 26, 2005, when Fairfield handed the Lions their first and only ECAC loss in their last conference-title run.
This year, Fairfield is led offensively by Brent Adams and his six goals and six assists. The Stag's leading goal-scorer is John Snellman, who has tallied 10 goals this season. Chris Ajemian has six goals and five assists, while Logan Rausse has notched seven goals.
Fairfield goalie Charlie Cipriano had made 49 saves in five games this season with an 8.60 goals against average.
Now, the Collegian lacrosse reporters offer their two cents:
Dan: Looking at Fairfield's schedule, the Stags seem to lose every other game. Since they won on Saint Patty's Day, then it's impossible for them to win this weekend at Jeffrey Field. But if you want a more statistically sound reason Penn State will win, look no further than its defense. Fairfield has the lowest shots per game in the ECAC (30.8) and the second-lowest goals per game (8.2). By comparison, the Lions' opponents this season have averaged just six goals per game since Penn State's three-game winning streak began.
Prediction: Penn State 10, Fairfield 6
Paul: Aside from the pattern picked up on by my fellow lacrosse reporter, Mr. Rorabaugh, I think momentum will play a big part in why Penn State will win this game. Despite the 0-3, the Lions showed some promise late against Notre Dame and in their matchup with Loyola. Lately, though, they have been able to play to that full potential for the entire length of the game -- resulting in a three-game winning streak against quality opponents. Looking at Penn State's and Fairfield's schedule, there is only one common opponent so far -- Ohio State. The Lions beat the Buckeyes 11-5, while the Stags of Fairfield lost 11-6. Sure, Fairfield could have had an off day or OSU may have just played really well soÂ that doesn't mean much in the head-to-head matchup between Penn State and Fairfield, but in this case I think it's a good indication of what we'll see Saturday.
Prediction: Penn State 11, Fairfield 7
Hen: Fairfield has a strong offensive attack, led by John Snellman, who had four goals and an assist in their last game against Marist. But Penn State is not Marist -- the Nittany Lion defense is playing as well as it has all season long. Assistant coach Guy VanArsdale expressed his slight concern with the sloppiness of the offense after the Vermont game, but a week of practice surely straightened that out. Watch for the defense to stay sound and the offense to break through against Stag goalie Charlie Cipriano, who only owns three double-digit save games in his career.
Battle comes jogging back from the locker room with nobody with him. He should be fine. He's left games on numerous occasions this year but always seems to come out OK.
Andrew Jones grabs a huge offensive rebound to re-set the shot clock and put Rhode Island in foul mode the rest of the way. Jones has 14 points and 10 rebounds.
It's just free throw shooting the rest of the way. Penn State improved to 2-0 in the NIT, while Rhode Island drops to 1-1. OK, they're season's over.
The Lions don't know whether to arrange a fight and settle on a pilot for a trip to Gainesville or see if Miami heads north toward the BJC for the NIT quarterfinal game next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Bottom line: One more win and the Lions head to the Garden for two games.
PSU 83, URI 72
Seawright has just fouled out of the game with 3:18 left in the second half. Battle has left the game. Not sure what happened, but he had a slight limp and needed help to walk to the trainers' room.
As we get down to crunch time, keep in mind Penn State has just one primary ball-handler on the floor now. Maybe Will Leiner will see some time late.
Morrissey sinks two foul shots to up the lead to nine.
Again the Lions break the pressure and Morrissey has to get fouled to save a lay-up. The Lions' free throw shooting is helping put this game out of reach.
1:43 left 2nd half
PSU 76, URI 66
Penn State has gotten a good look on either of its last two possessions. Ulmer skies for the ally-opp from Cothran and the Rams are within nine.
Seawright just picked up his fourth foul. Penn State is melting this baby down. Give the Lions credit for handling the full court press and half-court traps with ease, not allowing the Rams to get any quick buckets.
3:50 left 2nd half
PSU 68, URI 61
Jackson crashes the boards on the offensive end and earns himself a trip to the charity stripe, sinking both. Credit Penn State for keeping this lead around 13. Seven of the last eight home games have been decided by five points or fewer, so any type of comfy win goes a long for confidence in this tournament.
7:33 left 2nd half
PSU 68, URI 55
Pringle rattles in a 3 from the top of the key. Penn State is lighting up its home scoreboard with 66 about halfway through the second half. Again the lead grows to 13, and by the looks of this, the Lions could put up 80.
8:46 left 2nd half
PSU 66, URI 53
Penn State is doing a much better job breaking the press. Brooks found found Jones in transition for the lay-in. Seawright is out of the game at this time, so if Penn State can go on any type of runs, it'll be safe to say revenge has arrived.
Babb's 3 gives him a career-high 12 points tonight.
Penn State is taking to Rhode Island at this point, getting offensive rebounds and put-backs and a lot of chest pounding going on when running back for defense.
Baron is single-handedly keeping the Rams in it with deep 3's, and Delroy James followed up with a monster dunk on a miss.
9:45 left 2nd half
PSU 61, URI 53
Battle finds a cutting Jones in transition for a monster throw down. Jones gets another 2-foot hook to drop and the Lions lead by 13 again.
13:20 left 2nd half
PSU 54, URI 43
Rhode Island races out for four quick points to start the second half.
Pringle takes it inside to the big boys and finishes with a tough floater, but now the Rams are starting to get into a rhythm offensively. Baron hits another 3 with Battle in his face, and Seawright completes a 3-point play to cut the deficit to five.
Baron and Seawright have combined for 28 of the Rams' 41 points.
15:48 left 2nd half
PSU 48, URI 41
Battle's pacing all scorers with 14, but the bigger story is how Penn State is defending. You can chalk the 42 points up to good shooting, but keeping Seawright and Baron in check is the reason this team leads by 13 at intermission.
Jones is doing his part on Seawright, limiting his touches on the low block and containing the basketball when he does get it out of the paint.
And Baron's baskets have been tightly contested where when he hits it, you just gotta fuhget about it and move on.
We still have 20 minutes to go, but there's no excuse for blowing a 13-point halftime lead on your home court.
Rhode Island is doing a lot of pressing to perhaps tire the Lions' ball handlers. Purdue was constantly in Battle and Pringle's face in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal game, and Battle even admitted it wore him out.
Battle tried to go behind his back on the dribble-drive but lost sight of it and turned it over. Battle gets in back in transition and tosses it to Babb, who drives baseline and finishes with a reverse lay-in.
1:32 1st half
PSU 40, URI 29
Pringle finishes off the first half scoring with a pull-up 15-footer in transition.
PSU 42, URI 29
Seawright is starting to fill up his stat sheet with eight points now, but Penn State just looks one step quicker tonight. Battle will head to the line for a pair.
3:43 left 1st half
PSU 32, URI 24
Battle hits both to extend the lead to 10.
Jones picks up his second foul, forcing him to sit while Seawright reamains on the floor. Andrew Ott has to guard Seawright, and on his first touch, he blows right by Ott and draws a foul on Jackson.
Jones has got to keep himself in the game.
Ott hits both two foul shots. I guess that transfer from Villanova paid off. I picked Nova to go to the Final Four, F.Y.I.
Babb swishes about a 30-footer and the Lions' lead climbs back up to double-figures.
Jones got called for traveling, and I watched and saw the pivot stay nailed down the hardwood. The Rams are now buckling down defensively, and Penn State can't seem to get any good looks. Of course there's Battle and Pringle, who knock in back-to-back buckets to make the offense look productive.
7:38 left 1st half
PSU 25, URI 17
Battle is on pace to net a career-high in points. He's got 12 a little more than halfway through the first half.
His career high is 29, coming this year against Michigan State.
I think the Rams are wondering what the heck is going on right now. Stevie Mejia knocks down a 3, then gets knocked over by a cutting Andrew Jones. Mejia is 5-foot-9 and spells his name S-t-e-v-i-e. Obviously he's a freshman.
Rhode Island is going on a bit of a run, scoring the last 10 in the contest. Chris Babb tossed in an awful in-bounds pass and the Rams forced another turnover off their press.
9:48 left 1st half
PSU 20, URI 15
Who said anything about the Lions needing Cornley? Battle is dead on from beyond the arc tonight, and the defense is giving nothing to Rhode Island.
11:24 left 1st half
PSU 20, URI 5
Keith Cothran checks in for the Rams. This is a kid who started in the first meeting between the teams. Pringle drives left and lays it off to Jones for a lay-in.
Jones is a doing a job on Seawright underneath staying in front and keeping him off the glass. And at the other end, Brooks hits a turnaround hook to make him the high scorer early on.
Brooks grabbed an offensive rebound and got another short one-hander to drop, and just now Battle hit another 3 from the left corner.
12:10 left 1st half
PSU 17, URI 5
I guess Brooks just excels when he needs to.
Rhode Island starts out in man, and a pass goes through Brooks' hands and out of bounds. Brooks doesn't box out his man and the Rams get an offensive rebounds. Ed DeChellis is talking to Cammeron Woodyard on the bench, and appears to be pointing things out. Maybe DeChellis is giving Brooks a short leash.
Battle hits a 3 from the left baseline. Brooks and Jackson combine for five early points, and Brooks helped out on Seawright in the paint and forced a turnover.
Baron hits his first 3 of the night.
15:01 left 1st half
PSU 8, URI 5
12 G Talor Battle
11 G Stanley Pringle
15 F D.J. Jackson
22 C Andrew Jones
25 F Jeff Brooks
5 G Marquis Jones
20 G Jimmy Baron
33 F Kahiem Seawright
15 F Lamonte Ulmer
32 C Will Martell
Look for Marquis Jones to guard Battle. In the first meeting, Jones forced Battle into a 4-for-16 shooting night, including 3-for-10 from 3. Both Battle and Stanley Pringle never got going against a backcourt as quick as them. And with Cornley out, who pitched in a cool 23 against the Rams, guard play is ever more important.
Starting fives to follow.
Howdy Penn State basketball fans, Mink here to take y'all through tonight's rematch of a Nov. 28 meeting between the Nittany Lions and Rams.
Jamelle Cornley will not play tonight. He simply does not have the strength in the left shoulder. It'll be a shame if one of the greatest players to come through this program doesn't have the opportunity to play in his final game.
Good thing that No. 12 kid is playing.
Battle's electrifying buzzer-beater two nights ago sent the clear message that whether he's playing in the NCAA's or NIT, the kid just wants to play.
The Rams took the first meeting this season 77-72 at the Palestra in one of the few games the Lions had to enhance their pitiful non-conference resume.
We think Jeff Brooks gets the starting nod in place of Cornley tonight. Brooks turned in a career-high 13 points Tuesday against George Mason and wasn't afraid to pull the trigger. His confidence against an athletic, aggressive Ram frontline will go a long way toward tonight's outcome.
Tuesday night, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur got his 552nd career win, surpassing Patrick Roy for the most all-time wins by a goalie. It was a tremendous achievement, and Brodeur is very deserving.
He has played 16 seasons, all with the New Jersey Devils. He possesses a career 2.20 goals against average and a .914 career save percentage. In addition, he has 100 career shutouts, three shy of tying the all-time record. The sick thing is, he will soon turn 37 and is still at the top of his game. He is 14-3-2 with a 2.06 GAA and a .923 save percentage on the season. His GAA would be best in the NHL this season if he didn't miss that time hurt.
Brodeur has put his mark on the NHL and is arguably the best goalie of all time. Watching him play is a treat. He makes saves no other goalie can make. When he returned after missing months with an injury, he recorded two shutouts in his first three starts back. This would have cemented his place in hockey glory if he wasn't already there.
When Brodeur retires, the Hall of Fame will gladly open its doors for him. He is a tremendous goaltender and it is fitting that he now holds a prestigious record. The career shutouts record is looming, and Brodeur will break many more records before he calls it a career.
Jamelle Cornley still doesn't know if he'll be able to go tonight, and probably won't until today's shootaround.
The senior captain needs to see what kind of movement he can get out of his left arm this afternoon before he makes a decision on whether to play or not tonight.
The Nits' rematch with Rhode Island tips at 7 and will be carried by FSN Pittsburgh.
Many Nit fans are upset with the out-of-conference schedule, and apparently one of you is taking matters into your own hands.
All the way out in L.A., a Penn State alum has made a CraigsList posting asking good schools to play Penn State next year. He even goes as far as leaving director basketball operations Jon Perry's contacts for those interested.
I wouldn't expect any immediate responses until after the NCAA tournament.
Making the tournament isn't that bad. Especially if, say, you're a Gus Johnson fan.
30 seconds into his match, Quentin Wright had a headlock on Sigmon, and has efficiently gotten his opponent on his back. After about 40 seconds of adjusting, Wright officially has his pin in the first round of his NCAAs. His time of fall will be 1:17.
Welcome to the national stage, Quentin Wright.
That does it for Penn State in the opening session today. Here's a recap of the results:
125 pounds: Brad Pataky won his opening pigtail match over Ian Moser by pin, then lost to No. 6 James Nicholson of Old Dominion. He'll wrestle tonight in the consolation match and cannot lose if he wants to continue in the tournament.
133 pounds: Jake Strayer recorded his victory, 7-2, over Ricky Deubel of Edinboro. He moves onto the second round tonight.
141 pounds: Frank Molinaro fell to No. 8 Ryan Williams of Old Dominion, 7-1. Molinaro will now wrestle No. 9 Corey Jantzen of Harvard in in the consolation round.
149 pounds: Bubba Jenkins was upset by Matthew Fittery in the first round of the tournament, ending his dreams of becoming a national champion this season. PSU radio announcer Jeff Byers said that Jenkins was bothered by a lower-back injury. Nonetheless, it's the final tournament of the year, and he has been sent to the consolation round early on.
165 pounds: Dan Vallimont pulled off a victory in sudden victory over No. 9 Brandon Mason of Oklahoma State, 8-6. He will face No. 8-ranked Jonathan Reader of Iowa State tonight.
174 pounds: Freshman phenom Quentin Wright continued his postseason success, posting a pin over Byron Sigmon of UNCG 1:17 into the match. He will wrestle tonight against either No. 6 Steve Anceravage of Cornell or Jeff James of Oklahoma.
Join us tonight on Back Points for live updates and check tomorrow's Collegian for a full story of the first day's events.
Byers said Jenkins was "clearly bothered" by a lower-back injury in his match against Fittery. Jenkins had pinned Fittery earlier in the season in the dual meet in January with Lock Haven at Rec Hall.
Meanwhile at 165 pounds, Dan Vallimont has won the first match of his NCAA Tournament, defeating No. 9 seed Brandon Mason of Oklahoma State in sudden victory. Big win for Vallimont, as he'll move onto the second round tonight and likely face Iowa State's Jonathan Reader, the No. 6 seed.
Quentin Wright is about take the mat in his NCAA debut against Byron Sigmon of UNC-Greensboro.
Back here in my living room, listening to Jeff Byers on PSU's Radio. I come back to some somber news for Penn State wrestling fans.
Bubba Jenkins, ranked No. 2 at the national tournament, has lost to Lock Haven's Matthew Fittery in the first round. This is the biggest upset of all upsets. Jenkins is supposed to finish second to Metcalf in the finals at 149 but he has bowed out in the first round. He can still wrestle back through the consolation bracket and become an All-American, but this is very disappointing.
In other action, Frank Molinaro has lost his opening match to No. 8-ranked Ryan Williams of Old Dominion, 7-1 at the 141-pound weight class. Molinaro will now wrestle No. 9 Corey Jantzen of Harvard. According to the Twitter of Pat Donghia, Penn State's wrestling SID, Jantzen is experiencing some health issues.
Brad Pataky lost his second match to No. 6-ranked James Nicholson of Old Dominion, 11-6. He will face Demetrius Johnson of UTC in the consolation round tonight.
Deubel was in on Strayer's single leg, but he escapes, but the cut above his nose has opened up, as it has all season. Injury time now.
Now as action gets back underway, the wrestlers are in a nice scramble, as they are both trying to gain control of each other. Some real nice announcing by Penn State's radio guy -- if you're into wrestling I definitely suggest you pay the $9.95 to listen. You learn a lot from listening.
26 seconds remain in the bout and Strayer basically has a 7-0 lead with the riding time, but he will try to get a major. He doesn't, settling for a 7-2 victory for Strayer. Very nice way to start off the tournament for Strayer and the Nittany Lions.
141-pounder Frank Molinaro is now coming up to the mat. I have to go to class, so check out Back Points when I return. It's March Madness all over the place today!
Strayer leads 5-0 going into the second period. He has built up a 2:15 riding time advantage already. Now he escapes about 13 seconds into the second period and 6-0.
Meanwhile, Iowa's No. 4 seed Daniel Dennis only leads Ok St's Chris Notte 4-3. That'd be a huge upset. Now 5-4 lead for Dennis after a questionable call apparently, which got Oklahoma State's coach John Smith, Mark Perry's uncle, very very outraged.
Strayer goes into the third period 6-0. Also Dennis has escaped with a victory in the opening round.
Penn State's Jake Strayer is now wrestling in the final tournament of his life, as he is wrestling Edinboro's Ricky Deubel. Strayer takes Deubel down from the top, getting the lead 2-0. He is now working on the right side of him, and he has him on his back, getting three near fall points, pushing the match to 5-0. Now Deubel makes his way to his stomach, but asks for injury time.
No. 3 seed Jimmy Kennedy from Illinois dropped his first match, in a pigtail in a huge upset against Bucknell's David Marble. This is a disappointment for the Fighting Illini grappler.
Some other notable results thus far in the first couple of matches:
No. 5 Charlie Falck. Iowa 11-3 over Derek Ruber, Bucknell
No. 8 Rollie Peterkin, Penn 17-1 over Eric Olanowski, Michigan State
Hello everybody. I am listening to Penn State's radio station and will give you a live blog of Penn State wrestlers throughout the weekend. I have a test later in the day and some classes I have to run to, but I will try to keep you updated on how the Nittany Lions are doing.
Action is underway at noon today. And right away, we have Penn State's Brad Pataky wrestling in a pigtail at 125 pounds.
Ian Moser is unseeded out of Bloomsburg. He is from Dover, DE and finished third in the Eastern Wrestling League. Moser defeated Pataky at the Michigan State Open. Moser won 10-5 over Pataky.
Action is now underway in Pataky's match. No scoring with 1:45 left in the first period.
Pataky executed a front headlock in a defensive move, and hits on his favorite move, a cement mixer and gets Moser on his back. He got Moser flat on his back, and gets the pin. Time of the fall 1:40.
What a way to start for Penn State. There's some bonus points for the Nittany Lions right away. He'll wrestle in the first round match later in the afternoon against No. 6 James Nicholson of Old Dominion.
For those of you with Comcast (and judging from last night's crowd, you likely weren't at the BJC, either) here's the broadcast version of Talor Battle's season-saving 3-pointer at the horn last night.
Credit to Managing Editor Andy Staub for passing this along.
Check Back Points to see how Robles does, how Pataky does, and how all the Penn State grapplers do at NCAAs. Action begins tomorrow (Thursday) and concludes Sunday with the championship. Quarterfinal action will be aired at 11 a.m. on Friday on ESPNU and ESPN360.com.
If you weren't in State College today, I hope that your weather was as nice as it was here in Happy Valley today.
I saw a thermometer at a bank that read 71 degrees earlier today, and this thing called the sun came out too. It was the first great day of Spring.
Now I am fully aware that it could snow next week, but I am excited not only because of the weather, but because tomorrow kicks off not only one of the best weekends in sports, but the best time of year to be a sports fan, bar none.
I know that some people consider the early fall, when a bunch of sports are all in season, to be the best time of year, but the next six weeks are hands down the premier time to follow sports.
Of course we will have the NCAA tournament to keep us occupied for the rest of the month and I don't think I need to sing that event's praises here.
Almost as soon as basketball wraps up, Opening Day and the baseball season will be upon us.
And if that weren't enough, the Masters gets going on April 9.
For football fans, there is Spring practice and the Blue and White game, in addition to the NFL draft.
The NBA and NHL will also both start their marathon playoff runs as well.
The most wonderful time of the year wraps up with fancy hats and Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby.
If anyone can think of a better time of year to follow sports, I would like to hear it. We've got a fun couple of weeks ahead of us.
This week we talked to Matt Mackrides, the 2009 ECAC Preseason Rookie of the Year. Mackrides discussed his nickname, the history of brothers in Penn State men's lacrosse and his own sibling rivalry with PSU alum Andrew Mackrides.
The President made his picks for sports mogul/monopoly ESPN and his picks will be posted Wednesday on ESPN's website. He picked Louisville, UNC, Memphis and Pittsburgh for his Final Four. ESPN's NCAA analyst Andy Katz was with Obama when he made his picks and said they were "educated."
We would think so. Obama is a known sports fan. It will be interesting to see what his picks are and if anybody in the US will try to emulate them.
Here is a photo on ESPN's site of Obama making his picks on the official Presidential board.
Greetings everybody and welcome to beautiful, scenic Gates Mills, Ohio.
Casella, Myers and myself made the four-and-a-half hour drive from State College this afternoon to make tonight's semifinal with Illinois. Sports Editor Kevin Zitzman was kind enough to tag along - he covered the Icers last season, and this will be his first experience at the ACHA National Tournament.
The tournament is being played at Gilmour Academy, a prep school outside Cleveland. The seating capacity here isn't nearly as big as Greenberg, but the seats are filling up quick.
Be sure to stick with us tonight as we give you a real-time account of tonight's semifinal. This game's winner will take on No. 1 Lindenwood tomorrow night in the ACHA National Championship Game.
Here's tonight's starters for Penn State:
F: Jaime Zimmel
F: Frank Berry
F: Brandon Rubeo
D: Steve Thurston
D: Craig Brooks
G: Nick Signet
Penn State took the opening faceoff. The crowd here is about 50/50 between Penn State fans and Illini fans.
I'll take you guys as long as my computer stays alive -- after that, Casella will take over.
One of the Icers' hottest players, Marek Polidor, just had a nice single-man rush toward the Illinois net, but wasn't able to get off a crisp shot.
Tim O'Brien just had a look from in front of the Illini net, but Illinois goalie Mike Burda came up with the save. Still, the Icers appear to be dictating play early, although we're only at the 14:45 mark of the first period.
With 10:46 left in the first, Andrew Magulick was sent to the penalty box for roughing.
The Icers fought off the Illini power play with few Illinois scoring opportunities.
Frank Berry just had a shot on goal, but it deflected off Burda's shoulder. With 6:20 left in the first, Penn State is out-shooting the Illini 6-3.
Another Icers penalty -- this time it's Jaime Zimmel getting 2:00 for hooking.
Magulick just hammered an Illinois forward into the boards. Looks like the Icers are sticking with the gameplan that earned them a sweep over the Illini in January - physical play. Illinois is a smaller, quicker team, so the Icers look like they want to bring a physical presence to tonight's game again.
Penalty on Illinois' Gabe Heller -- 2:00 for elbowing. 1:15 left in the first.
We're going back to even strength. Illinois took the puck from defenseman Steve Thurston and Thurston had no choice but to drag the Illini player down.
Thurston got 2:00 for hooking.
And that's the end of the first period. Penn State and Illinois are deadlocked in a scoreless game.
Shots for the period: PSU - 6 ILL - 4
Here's an intermission update from our columnist-turned-sideline reporter Dean Myers:
When asked about missing a New England St. Patrick's Day parade for tonight's game, goalie and Massachusetts native John Jay said he was slightly disappointed, but "if we win it, it's OK."
We'll be checking back throughout the game with BTP's very own Craig Sager, Dean Myers.
Speaking of Dean, he's working tonight as our multimedia guy in addition to sideline reporter. He'll be bringing BTP various videos, slideshows and pieces of audio in the next few days, so be sure to check back with us frequently.
And here we go with the second period.
The Icers just had an open look at the net off a rebound, but no one was home in front of the goal to put it in. 16:56 left in the second.
It's tough to tell at this point whether the game is so evenly matched that neither team can get anything going or if the teams are scared of making the first mistake. Either way, there have been several offensive pushes by each team, but few real scoring threats.
Tim O'Brien and Illinois' Matt Jennings just were sent to the box with off-setting holding penalties. It's time to see some 4-on-4 hockey.
Nice play by Kyle Mills - he cut in front of a streaking Illini player who was uncontested going to the net. :42 left on each penalty, 7:19 left in the period.
With both penalties fought off, the Icers are mounting a threat on the Illini net. But after several open looks off rebounds, the game remains scoreless.
Illinois just used their timeout with 3:02 left in the period. The Illini look exhausted after having one line play a several-minute shift thanks to an icing call. The double-overtime game they played last night against Oklahoma probably doesn't help, either.
Illinois just got on the board with 1:35 left on a goal by Jennings. Jennings took a rebound off Nick Signet, who was forced to leave the net on an Illini breakaway. The assist goes to Jordan Pringle.
That's the end of the second period. Illinois leads the Icers, 1-0.
Shots: PSU - 16 ILL - 11
My computer's about to die, so I'll hand the blog over to Casella for the rest of the game.
McDermott has officially passed the torch on and this is Casella bringing you the third period of the final semifinal of the ACHA tournament.
Illinois just lit the lamp only 41 seconds into the period and have taken a 2-0 lead.
This goal is just a flip of the first one for Illinois. Pringle scores the goal, assisted by Jennings.
The Illini are controlling the action here early in the third period with Penn State struggling to establish anything in the offensive zone.
Faceoff coming just to the right of the Illini goalie now with 18:03 left.
Penn State wins the draw and fires a shot toward the net, but nothing comes of the small scramble in front and the puck is cleared down the ice.
WIth the Icers putting pressure on the Illini defense, they are able to draw a tripping penalty, giving Penn State a power play with 16:51 left.
Halfway through the power play and Penn State hasn't been able to do much with it yet. Under a minute left in the penalty now and the Icers are still scrambling to set up the offense in the Illini zone.
Three, two, one...
And the power play is over. No goals, no shots for the Icers and it's back to full-strength with just under 15 minutes left in regulation.
Illinois puts a shot on net from the blue line, but it's gloved by Signet and he holds on for the faceoff.
Another Illini goal. A strong 2-on-1 push into the zone results in a one-timer right in front and the Illini have taken a commanding 3-0 lead with only 14:05 left.
The goal was scored by Johnny Liang with the centering pass coming from Jason Nemeth. Jennings also picked up an assist on the play.
Faceoff coming to the right of the Illini goal after the net is knocked loose. 12:33 to go.
With a comfortable three-goal lead the Illini seem to be content with sitting back in the defensive end for now. As soon as llinois crosses center ice the puck gets dumped into the Penn State zone and the Illini scramble to make a line change.
Shot from the point by Craig Brooks is gloved by Burda and after O'Brien makes some contact with the goalie, a bit of a scrum ensues. The pushing and shoving results in matching two-mintue roughing penalties for the Icers' Polidor and Illinois' Rob Deubel.
Four-on-four hockey for the next two minutes should open up the ice a little bit with 11 minutes left.
This is McDermott, back because Casella's laptop died. It's a rough night for our computers with no outlets readily available.
Penn State is trying to mount a comeback, but Illinois' goalie, Mike Burda, is stopping each attempt. 7:12 to go.
With 4:30 left and little offense being generated, things look bleak for Penn State. The Icers are doing everything they can to put pressure on the Illinois net, but the Illini have come up with clutch defensive plays each time.
Penn State has pulled Signet in order to get a sixth skater on the ice for a last-ditch attempt to get back into the game.
One minute left in the game - not much Penn State can do now.
And that'll do it. The final score: Illinois - 3 PSU - 0
Be sure to check back with BTP in the next few days as we wrap up the season with some final blog posts and Dean's multimedia content.
I'll give the Lions' season this: there has rarely been a dull moment.
Brown just mentioned the words "six overtimes" after that Vaughan 3 and the rest of us on press row simply turned to him and cringed.
Pringle is immediately fouled with 7 to go, and he'll now shoot two.
He hits both, Smith misses a 3 and Babb grabs the rebound to end it. What a finish, as the Lions win 77-73. The PA announcer just confirmed what we learned at halftime, so we'll see you all back here Thursday at 7 as PSU gets a shot at redemption against URI, one of the teams that kept them out of the tournament.
Have a good one, folks.
Battle then opens things up with a 3 in front of his own bench. This crowd is now into it, as is the captain as he walks up court with a smile on his face and his tongue sticking out, MJ-style.
And Battle hits another 3, this one with a hand in his face and the shot clock winding down. He's still smiling on the defensive end, and the crowd is fired up.
DJ fouls out as he gets Long down low. Now that I have a breather, I ask what's on everyone's mind.
WHY THE [freak] DOES NO ONE EVER FOUL UP THREE?!?!
"Ta-lor Bat-tle!" chants are now followed by "We Are" throughout the BJC.
Long nails both to cut the lead to four.
Battle drives on the other end and gets called for the charge on the big Monroe, who is slow to get up.
Battle lays it in after Morrison sinks one of two free throws. Nits up five with 90 secs to play now.
Battle then dishes to Jones, who is swatted by Morrison. With two left on the 35, PSU runs an over the top pass to Brooks, who catches it, travels then shoots. Amazingly, the buzzer never went off, nor was a travel call. Finally after GMU grabs the rebound, the refs blow the whistle to straighten things out.
The crowd is now growing uneasy as the officials still review the clock situation. It currently reads 1:08. The cowbell keeps everyone at ease, just as the game resumes.
Smith misses a 3 for GMU, and Pringle is fouled by Morrison as he goes to intercept Battle's pass. The Nits are now in the bonus.
Pringle clanks the first, but GMU misfires on a pair of 3s before Monroe is whistled for going over the back of Jones with 24.4 to go.
Jones hits the first, putting the Lions up six. He hits it again, and Jim Larranaga can only stare in disbelief at what has just unfolded these last five minutes.
Smith takes it to the hole for the two, and Long immediately fouls Babb with 18.5 left and the Nits up five.
Babb misses, but Smith does from 3 as well. The ball goes off a Lion, and Vaughan hits a long 3 to cut the lead to two and prompt a quick timeout with 7.7 to go.
Pringle fouls Smith on the inbound, and he'll go to the line with 4.8 to go. No timeouts for PSU here and it's one-and-one. Jones in for DJ.
Smith's first shot goes alll the way and allll the way down and in. Morrissey now in for Brooks.
Second is good, Battle drives and is forced to throw up a well-guarded 3 at the horn...
..AND IT'S GOOD! The captain sinks it a the buzzer to keep PSU's season alive and force overtime. One older fan in the front row runs onto the court to pat the point guard on the back.
Battle drives and looks like he gets drilled down low but there is no call. The Lions foul and now have one more to give with 5.1 to go.
Vaughan comes awfully close to a five-second violation but is able to call the Patriots' final timeout just before the whistle.
Replays near us actually indicate that Battle slipped, so my apologies about before.
Now Pringle has trouble getting it in, and he has to call a 30-second timeout.
Battle is fouled on the perimeter with 17.2 to go. Two more left until GMU is in the bonus. Each team has five.
Battle is fouled again now with 13.5 to go.
Larranaga calls a timeout now.
Tyrell Sales is shown on the screen behind the GMU bench during the break.
I'm going to go ahead and predict a strong finish down the stretch here from Battle.
The point guard scored 13 quick points in the first half and hasn't made a bucket since With Cornley out, it's up to Battle to keep this team's season alive. It also gives him an early taste of what next season might be like, as this team has no juniors coming back next season.
OK, that didn't work out too well. Morrison swats Battle after a drive to open things up out of the break. Monroe then scores on the other end to give the Patriots a one-point lead.
But again it's Brooks, stepping up huge tonight and hitting the J from the baseline to put PSU up one.
Vaughan answers with a quick two, giving GMU the one-point advantage.
Battle's 3 is off the back of the rim, and GMU now has it with under two to go. Vaughan's 3 is in-and-out, and Battle draws the foul at the other end. Three shy of the bonus, however, and the crowd chants stand up, as eerybody rises to their feet with 92 seconds remaining.
DJ continues his hot stretch from the weekend, hitting a J fromt he foul line to put PSU up one and get his place as loud as it's been all night.
Monroe quickly responds, and PSU calls for time with 51.2 to go.
Jones checks in for Brooks after the break. Why?
Here we go...
Battle dribbles the clock all the way down before driving and missing a floater. That cannot be what Ed drew up in the huddle.
The Lions foul with 20.9 to go, but are still two away from the bonus.
GMU has a hard time getting it in bounds and calls for time.
...the scoreboard manager may be re-thinking that earlier note about Thursday here.
And Monroe hands PSU another chance, as the big man traveled on the baseline. PSU didn't score last possession, Darryl. You can't do that.
PSU calls the timeout as the GMU band now plays Jimmy Paige's "Come With Me."
Pearson with the nice lay-in and foul out of the break. He connects from the line to tie it at 53.
The under-8 timeout comes shortly thereafter, giving the GMU band the chance to play "Don't Stop Believing." While all this is going on, I manage to find you guys this. OK, so it's not an actual picture of their leader, but it's the best I can do. And believe me, it is right on.
Battle's 3 is in-and-out in front of his bench, and the sophomore picks up a cheap foul going for the long rebound.
Pearson grabs an offensive rebound right over the bigger Ott, passes it out, calls for it back and then hits another turn around hook. GMU takes a two-point lead.
After Battle draws a foul on the other end, Ott is replaced by Jones.
Jones passes up a wide open bucket down low for an even more open 3 from Babb. The frosh delivers, putting PSU ahead by a point.
Morrison answers with a jumper in the paint as the Patriots regain the lead. Pringle comes in for D-Mo on the next trip down.
Babb with the nice pass to Jones, but it goes right out of his hands and trickles out of bounds. It's whistled off GMU, however, but Battle can't connect from 3.
Morrison can't connect from inside and the Lions now have another chance to take the lead.
Pringle helps them do just that, hitting a nice bank shot.
Jones plays tight defense on Morrison downlow, forcing a travel and taking us to another break in the action.
PSU 58, GMU 57
Well, I think we just received the answer to one of our questions. Rhode Island, which beat Niagara tonight, will take on the winner of this game. The question was when and where, given the PIAAs at the BJC this weekend.
For a brief moment, the scoreboard read "Rhode Island at Penn State, Thursday, 7 p.m."
Babb escapes a couple of defenders and is able to hit the J from the foul line.
His tag team partner, Brooks, then comes up with the steal and is left all alone for a nice jam to put the Lions up two.
Smith answers with a nice reverse lay-in, but D-Mo responds with a 3 to give the Lions the lead and prompt a GMU timeout, leading to the fans starting their own Zombie Nation chant, which is less effective when the GMU band plays another PSU favorite, "Livin' on a Prayer."
PSU 53, GMU 50
I'll give the GMU band credit. They've been rolling out all sorts of classics tonight, from Aha's "Take on Me" to Michael Jackson's (or is it Alien Ant Farm's?) "Smooth Criminal."
The band's leader is sporting a stylish dark green, striped suit with a bright yellow shirt underneath. Could be a St. Paddy's Day special, but given the Patriots' colors, I doubt it.
Andre Cornelius hits a 3 for GMU, then steals it from Battle and takes it coast-to-coast for the east two to all of a sudden put GMU up a point.
Pringle misses a J from the elbow, but DJ comes out of nowhere with the rebound and is able to put it in.
Cornelius comes up limping on the next possession as the ref blows the whistle. Vaughan replaces him.
Mike Morrison then gets it inside, and his baby left hook goes in, out and back in to give the Patriots the lead again.
Babb comes in to a nice ovation and gives Pringle a rest.
And, well, he doesn't make me look to smart. Babb fires an airball, triggering chants from GMU's band as D-Mo replaces DJ.
Brooks with the easy two to put PSU up a point. Long then hits a jumper, giving GMU the two-point lead.
Cornley is back on the bench, although his arm is a sling. Not looking good. We'll keep you updated.
GMU 48, PSU 46
Monroe blocks Cornley on the opening possession, and the senior captain goes down clutching the left shoulder that bothered him in the team's last two games, against Illinois and at Iowa.
Brooks replaces him, and two trainers accompany 'Mel to the locker room.
Another tough break for the big fella this week. Unfortunate.
Long hits a 3 for GMU on its first possession and it's a four-point game. Long then finds Morrison underneath for the slam to cut the lead to two.
Pringle with the smart foul on Long, who took an outlet pass and had the easy two before being hit from behind.
Long hits both to tie the game. 7-0 run by the Patriots to start things off.
Sloppy, sloppy basketball beingplayed by the Lions right now. Another turnover, this time from Brooks.
Jones is able to break the ice with a wide open jumper from the baseline. Monroe bumps into Jones, who slides. Clearly a foul or a travel, but of course neither are called and Jones is able to lay it in.
Monroe is a BIG dude, listed at 6-7, 275. I just saw him downstairs. Those numbers are generous.
PSU 42, GMU 38
Just came from downstairs, where the George Mason team was huddled around the tunnel for what seemed like an eternity. Turned out the players were waiting for basketballs to, you know, shootaround with.
And to think, it's only been three years since postseason basketball inside the BJC.
Field goals 13-26 50.0% 15-28 53.6%
3-point FGs 4-10 40.0% 6-12 50.0%
Free throws 1-2 50.0% 2-5 40.0%
Reb (O-D) 11 (2-9) 14 (5-9)
Turnovers 6 5
This is surely a nice change of pace for those of us up on press row (and those who have been following the Big Ten all year). Both teams are shooting the ball great from the outside, and who would have thought there would be a Brooks/Babb X-factor tonight, as the two have combined for 13 points in the first half.
OK, us three have been wondering all year why Babb doesn't get more minutes. Especially since Eddy D has reasoned the frosh has had defensive shortcomings. But why wait until five minutes left in Friday's Purdue game to put him in, knowing the defense out there couldn't have gotten much worse and you'd only get another scoring threat on PSU's end? Strange to me, especially since he's thrust right in tonight. (I'd ask why Woodyward isn't playing tonight either, but given the way the Lions are performing, I don't think anyone is missing his presence.)
Back with the second half in a few minutes...
Cornley now in for Jones out of the break, as the Lions go even smaller.
Andre Cornelius hits a 3 for GMU, but Brooks follows with another baby hook to put the Lions up six. Brown, seated to my left, smiles knowing that his preseason prediction of Brooks becoming a consistent scoring threat is no longer completely wrong.
Did I just say Brooks and consistent in the same sentence? He knocks down a trey to put PSU up seven.
His 3 is off next possession, but Babb keeps it alive and finds Pringle who passes it off to Cornley, gets it back and hits a beautiful reverse lay-up. This crowd is alive.
And with 1.8 seconds left, Will Leiner checks in to a loud applause. Pringle sits. Leiner's man gets completely away from him on the inbounds, but Smith's fadeaway jumper rims out at the horn. Leiner proceeds to knock over a GMU cheerleader on the way to the locker room.
You can't make this kind of stuff up.
PSU 38, GMU 31
Battle is left wide open off a screen underneath the basket and sinks a 3 to give PSU the lead out of the break. That's 13 for Battle so far in the first half.
Brooks tries to duplicate his captain's efforts two posessions later, but his 3 attempt in front of the GMU bench is a short line-drive.
Babb does replicate Battle, hitting a 3 the next time down to give PSU the six-point lead and prompt a 30-second timeout from Jim Larranaga.
My mind is being bent in two different directions during this break, as the stduents on the east end of the court chant "Let's. Go. P-S-U" while the GMU band is in action on the other side.
Monroe travels for GMU out of hte break, and Babb opens things up with a 3, followed by a Brooks baby hook. PSU now up by nine with Cornley on the bench.
Pringle comes in for D-Mo and look for PSU to try to run as much as possible now with three guards to go with Brooks and Jones up front.
Miscommunication between Batlte and Jones leads to an errant pass out of bounds, bringing us to the under-four timeout and the actual Penn State band accompanying Nittany Nation through this rendition of "Let's. Go. P-S-U."
3:56 left, first half,
PSU 31, GMU 24
Ott is at the line after getting cleanly blocked Michael Morrison. Questionable call at best. After the big man bricks a pair, D-Mo knocks down a trey to get PSU within one.
Brooks checks in for the Nits after that 3, and Cornley takes it inside to put the Nits up one on the next possession.
A pair of PSU turnovers and a four quick points by GMU give the Patriots a 3-point lead right after Chris Babb (remember him?) checks in for Cornley.
Battle hits a tough, tough 3 to tie it at 20.
Jones spares Ott before getting fouled, taking us to the under-8 timeout.
7:44 left, first half,
PSU 20, GMU 20
Battle seems to have quickly put Sunday's disappointment behind him. He has seven early points as he attacks the basket almost every time down.
Ott and Morrissey check in for D.J. and Jones at the 12:36 mark. And there are no field goals from then until the 11:18 mark, when a Ryan Pearson jumper gives the Patriots a 16-12 lead.
Pearson is from perennial Queens, NY, powerhouse Christ the King, and I got the chance to see him play in the Catholic league championship game last year over spring break. He turned into a force for his team down the stretch, and many questioned his decision to sign with George Mason so early, as his breakout senior high school season surely would have drawn more offers.
We're at the under-12 mark now with 10:55 to go in the first half,
GMU 16, PSU 12
Hey folks, Matt Fortuna here to take you through the Nits' first round matchup tonight against No. 7 seed George Mason at the BJC.
Tonight's starting lineups ...
G - Dre Smith
G - Cameron Long
G - John Vaughan
F - Darryl Monroe
F - Louis Birdsong
G - Talor Battle
G - Stanley Pringle
F - D.J. Jackson
F - Jamelle Cornley
F - Andrew Jones
Well, the Nits have had bigger showings inside the BJC tonight. I wonder what the atmosphere would ahve been like ahd this game been played in Virgnina. The Patriots have their band and a handful of fans (which, in this case, is a solid portion) up in Happy Valley for this one.
It is all students, so the atmosphere isn't completely dead here and, for the first time this season we may have seen some actual offense before the first media timeout. Battle and Jones each have four and Smith has hit a pair of 3s for the Patriots to open things up here in the early going.
The latest Bison/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll is out and there again is a new No. 1 team. The Anteaters of UC Irvine received all 15 first place votes this week.
The Anteaters swept Loyola-Chicago and beat UCLA in five sets before beating then-No. 1 Cal State Northridge in five sets on the road.
Meanwhile, two more losses cause Penn State to drop in the poll. The Nittany Lions lost to Long Beach State and BYU over the weekend to fall to 15-3.
While the Lions fall in the national poll, the most important number for the team is 7-0, their EIVA record. The Lions are still on pace to earn the No. 1 seed in the EIVA tournament. The winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which seems to be the only way the Lions can get it considering how good some of the West Coast teams are.
This is still my favorite part of the poll: No. 13 Hawaii is 4-13. That might speak to the quality of volleyball being played on the West Coast right now.
It's free, but that doesn't mean there aren't prizes. A perfect bracket will get you 100 million dollars, while finishing in the top three in the Penn State bracket will get you either one large Domino's pizza per week for the next year, a 100$ gift certificate from Champs or an Aircraft Carrier Special from Wings Over Happy Valley.
The ACHA Division I nationals are officially down to four teams now with No. 1 Lindenwood eliminating Liberty tonight by a score of 5-1 and No. 4 Illinois winning in a thriller over No. 5 Oklahoma 3-2 in double overtime.
With those two games now complete, the semifinal matchups are set for Tuesday night:
No. 1 Lindenwood vs. No. 11 West Chester, 5:30 p.m.
No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 4 Illinois, 8:30 p.m.
The two winners will go on to play in Wednesday night's championship game at 7.
Penn State swept the season series from the Illini earlier this season winning 5-1 and 5-4 on Jan. 16 and 17, respectively.
As for the other two teams remaining in the tournament, the Icers split a home and home series with West Chester back in December, winning in a shootout 3-2 at home and losing 6-4 on the road. Penn State has not played Lindenwood since Nov. 2005, when the Icers shutout the Lions in back-to-back games, 2-0 and 1-0.
Your Collegian reporters will be leaving State College early Tuesday to travel to Cleveland, Ohio for Penn State's semifinal game. Check back tomorrow night for updates on the team's showdown with the rival Illini and full tournament coverage.
Apparently the BBC is in hot water for one of its commentators using the word "rape" during a soccer match. The guilty party, Alan Pardew, and the BBC have been apologizing relentlessly following the incident Sunday.
Here's the scenario: A Chelsea player makes a hard tackle on a Manchester City player, leading to Pardew's wise choice of words...""He's a strong boy. He knocks him off - he absolutely rapes him."
Eerr...maybe something nicer would have been the way to go there, Alan. The truth is that I've heard this term before in conversation, but I don't want to see the backlash say Stuart Scott would get for saying something like that. Boo-yah is much better, right?
However there is a silver lining for the folks on the other side of the pond. I highly doubt most of the country was watching when something worse like this happens.
A three-game winning streak hasn't been enough to get Penn State back into the Top-20, even though two of those wins came against previously-ranked teams.
The Nittany Lions started Spring Break off with an 11-5 thumping of No. 15 Ohio State, then went into Philadelphia three days later and knocked off No. 20 Villanova, 10-8.
After a 7-5 win Sunday at Vermont, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that Penn State, which started the season 0-3, would climb back into the rankings. But the USILA voted "nay," not even granting the Lions a single vote.
The Lions will have some more chances to impress the voting committee in the upcoming weeks. Penn State travels to 3-2 UMass on March 28 and hosts 5-0 Hobart on April 4.
As for the teams that didÂ receive votes, here's this week's Top-10. As always, bolded teams represent Penn State opponents, and each team's standing last week is in parentheses.
1. Virginia 9-0 (1)
2. Syracuse 4-1 (2)
T3. Notre Dame 5-0 (5)
T3. Cornell 3-1 (4)
5. Princeton 4-1 (3)
6. Hofstra 3-1 (12)
7. UMBC 4-2 (9)
8. Duke 6-2 (10)
9. Johns Hopkins 3-2 (6)
10. North Carolina 7-2 (8)
ECAC's own Hobart made the leap of the week from the unranked to the 13th spot. A 5-0 start capped by an upset of conference-power Georgetown will do that for a team.
Loyola moved up to No. 12, St. John's fell to No. 18 and Georgetown, once the fifth-ranked team in the nation, now finds itself flirting with the unranked at No. 19.
Villanova fell out the rankings after making in for the first time ever, and Massachusetts plummeted from 13th out of the Top-20.
Disappointment over the Nits not making the NCAA tournament Sunday night was quickly replaced with the excitement that this team is, in fact, playing postseason basketball.
A small contingent of about 10 loyal fans, calling themselves "Camp DeChellis," set up three tents and a television outside Gate A of the BJC close to midnight, hoping to generate some buzz as Penn State readies for its NIT opening round matchup against George Mason Tuesday night.
"Our new goal is the NIT championship," Alex Cohen (sophomore-business) said. "We're not about to prepare for next year. It's about George Mason. This season is still going on."
Cohen said he would be sending out a message to all of the members of the "Nittany Nation" Facebook group urging fans to come out in the next two days to show the Nits their support.
He also said Loren Crispell, Penn State's director of basketball marketing, would be bringing food and other items out to the campers to thank them for their support.
The goal is to get about 100 people outside, Cohen said, although he believes about 50 will join.
Cohen, who has camped out at Paternoville before football games in the fall, said the school will not let students stay out if the temperature is below 32 degrees.
That makes it difficult for Nittany Nation to ever organize basketball camp outs since most of the big conference games are in January and February.
Sunday, however, it was 49 degrees outside, giving him and other Nit fans the opportunity.
"It's kind of like a blessing," Cohen said. "Hopefully it can catapult into next year."
Cohen said he is not trying to build a rival to the fall's Paternoville, but is rather trying to keep the spirit of Penn State athletics moving beyond the first semester.
"Seven Saturday's in the fall? That's your whole athletic program? C'mon," he said.
He and other campers insist they are still proud of the Nits' season, saying they more than exceeded their expectations and that this year's crop of seniors will be remembered for years to come.
They hope this can help the team get over its disappointment of not making the NCAAs and keep moving forward with a potential three weeks left in the season.
"Maybe the team will see this and think, 'We have something to play for,' " Brian Gramolini (junior-actuarial science) said.
The fans know the team has a quick turnaround to Tuesday's game and likely won't have the time to come by, although they made sure to note they'd appreciate an appearance from "William 'Dolla Billz' Oliver" -- a reference to the freshman forward Billy Oliver, who is redshirting this season and has caught fans' attention with his Facebook username.
They did have one more request should the Nits win the NIT this season.
"Can they spell the shirts right?" Cohen quipped, speaking of the infamous "West Virgina" t-shirts Mountaineer players donned after winning the 2007 NIT.
Well, as you all know by now, the Nits won't be dancing later this week. Instead, they get at least one -- and a chance for two or three -- more home game at the BJC this week, starting with a quick turnaround Tuesday night against everybody's favorite Cinderella, George Mason.
Penn State received a No. 2 seed, which probably means it wasn't even close to snatching one of the remaining NCAA bids. Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but the silver lining can be that a team that loves being doubted and proving the non-believers wrong is not even a top seed in a second-rate tournament. Perhaps that could fuel a leader like Jamelle Cornley into keeping this team motivated to reach the Garden and make the Big Ten back-to-back winners of the NIT (Ohio State took home the crown in 2008).
Also of note should be if the higher seeds advance. That would pit the Lions against Rhode Island in the second round. The Rams are one of a handful of teams that can make a claim that they ended the Lions' tournament hopes. Even if the two's contest was back in November, it still prevented the Lions from facing Villanova the next night, a game that surely would have boosted the Lions' RPI -- regardless of its outcome -- and might have changed the selection committee's mind today.
And if the Nits beat Rhode Island and there are no other major upsets in their region, then the team will travel to No. 1 Florida, where we'll see if there is any love lost between the two-time national champion Gators and Lion assistant Lewis Preston, who departed Gainesville this summer.
So take the rest of the night and wonder why the Nits didn't play a stronger out-of-conference schedule, how a flu-ridden Jake Kelly banked in two 3-pointers last Saturday and how a 19-13 team like Arizona sneaked its way into the tourney picture. All are valid questions. But tomorrow, the Nits will resume practice and have no choice but to look ahead, and faltering at home to a lower-seed will do nothing but add more ammo to the ever-growing contingent that believes this team is not worthy of a bid.
In just a few hours the 10-member NCAA selection committee will make their picks public, and Penn State appears to be on the outside looking in as the conference tournaments wrap up. Most recently, Mississippi State beat Tennessee to win the SEC, snatching a precious bid from the shrinking list of bubble teams.
We're not going to unveil a comprehensive breakdown of all 65 selections, but here's our final verdict on the Nittany Lions' tournament chances after a five month chase for an NCAA berth.
Why they're out: Penn State's non-conference schedule is, for lack of a better word, a joke. Discounting A-10 opponents, the schedule was cake walk. But even in conference play, the Lions' left a lot of doubt in the committee's mind. One of Penn State's 'good' wins came at Illinois. Really, the Lions happened to be the second-worst team on the floor in their 38-33 win in Champaign.
Why they're in: The Lions have six wins against RPI top-50 teams, and two have been on the road. For what it's worth, the Lions, and especially Jamelle Cornley, epitomize the NCAA tournament and the passion and never-quit attitude it thrives under. The Lions never feel they're out of a game until the clock reads 0:00.
Final Say: OUT
Why they're out:
No. 343 N.J.IT. No. 292 Hartford. No. 281 Army. We all know about the non-conference schedule, and those are some of the RPI-killers that may put a dagger in Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes. It doesn't help that the one team the Lions beat that looked decent in non-conference play -- Georgia Tech -- ending up finishing last in the ACC. Just one more win against Temple, Rhode Island, Wisconsin or at Iowa might have put the Lions over the top, but they came up short in those crucial games. To make things worse, teams like Mississippi State and Cleveland State won their conference tournament to take away at-large spots for bubble teams.
Why they're in: Penn State was solid against RPI top 50 teams and really doesn't have a bad loss. No. 118 Iowa would be the worst, but that's still a Big Ten road game and not too bad of a worst loss. Also, the Lions finished the regular season 4-2 against the top 3 teams in the Big Ten, winning on the road at Michigan State, at home vs. Purdue and sweeping Illinois.
Final Say: OUT
Why they're out: As Jerry Palm would say, Penn State is the classic NIT profile. Are the Lions one of the 65-best teams in the nation? Without a doubt. It's unfortunate we weren't given the chance to see how good they really are since they didn't beat a team in the top-116 of the RPI during their out-of-conference campaign. If the committee decides to take a stronger look at them, they'll see they won a once-in-a-generation game at Illinois and beat Michigan State and Purdue while both were undermanned.
Why they're in: Then again, if not for a couple of Jake Kelly miracles or catching Ohio State and Purdue at the wrong times, the Lions could have been the second seed in the Big Ten tournament entering this weekend and would have been all but guaranteed of a spot in the dance. It really works both ways with this team. The selection committee is always wary of schools from non-BCS schools getting in, so the Lions have that in their favor. They finished above .500 in the Big Ten, which almost any other year is more than enough to get in. However, it won't be without a major uproar if they do make it.
The whole conference is wondering: What is wrong with Georgetown?
After starting its season with a strong win over Maryland, the one-time pride of the ECAC has lost three of four. The Hoyas grabbed their second win of the year Wednesday with a 12-6 decision at Delaware. Nine players scored goals for Georgetown on Wednesday, and the team put 51 shots up against the Blue Hens.
But then on Saturday, Georgetown faced ECAC-foe Hobart and lost 15-8. The Statesmen held the Hoyas scoreless in the first half, while themselves scoring on every other shot en route to a 7-0 halftime lead.
Kevin Curtin and Jeff Colburn recorded hat tricks Saturday, and Curtin and Tim Bigelow dished out two and three assists, respectively. Goalie Max Silberlicht made 16 saves in the contest, and now Georgetown faces the possibility of dropping out of the USILA rankings.
The rest of the ECAC went a little something like this:
Loyola 15, Bryant 11: It took a little while, but eventually No. 14 Loyola's offense woke up. The Greyhounds notched 11 second-half goals, including seven in the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs away. Shane Koppens led the charge, scoring three goals and recording SIX assists.
Loyola 10, St. John's 7: The Greyhounds followed up Wednesday's shootout with a scoreless first period against conference opponent St. John's. But Loyola put up six on 18 shots in the second quarter, never looking back. Shane Koppens only scored four points (two goals, two assists) in this one, and Collin Finnerty lent a hand by dishing out three assists. Red Storm goalie Gavin Buckley did all he could with his 18 saves, but the 'Hounds scooped up 20 more ground balls than St. John's and won 17 of 21 faceoffs.
Albany 12, Massachusetts 9: High-scoring UMass looks like it's coming back down to earth. The Great Danes used six second-quarter goals to propel themselves to the victory. Joe Resetarits scored five goals for Albany, while Brian Caufield contributed seven points on three goals and four assists. Jim Connolly's three goals led the effort for the Minutemen.
Brown 9, Massachusetts 8: The Minutemen failed to rebound against No. 18 Brown three days later. Their 46 shots were rejected all game by Brown goalie Jordan Burke, who made 20 saves. The Bears were led offensively by Reade Seligmann's hat trick.
Army 9, Rutgers 6: Rutgers' woes this season continued despite winning 14 of 19 faceoffs. The Black Knights stayed one goal ahead of the Scarlet Knights period-by-period, led by five points by Jeremy Boltus. He and Jason Peyer both notched hat tricks, while Army goalie Tom Palesky recorded 11 saves.
Colgate 13, Fairfield 12: Fairfield was steady and balanced throughout this game, scoring three goals in all four periods. But after being shut out in the first quarter, Colgate's offense surged in the remaining three, spearheaded by hat tricks by Ian Murphy, Nick Monastero and Zack Craumer. Kevin Colleluori added three assists, while the team won 19 of 28 faceoffs.
With all but UMass playing at least one conference game, it's time to start keeping track of the ECAC standings. Loyola's in the lead so far with a 2-0 ECAC record. Following are the ECAC standings, with each team's conference records and overall records.
1. Loyola (2-0, 5-2)
T2. Hobart (1-0, 5-0)
T2. Fairfield (1-0, 2-2)
4. St. John's (1-1, 4-1)
5. UMass (0-0, 3-3)
T6. Penn State (0-1, 3-3)
T6. Rutgers (0-1, 1-5)
8. Georgetown (0-2, 2-3)
You've read that right: Georgetown is last in the ECAC standings. That's a team ranked in the Top-20 nationally sitting behind 1-5 Rutgers in its conference standings.
This week, ECAC play starts to really kick in. After Fairfield visits Marist on Wednesday, it travels to State College for the weekend to take on Penn State. Rutgers and Hobart square off in a conference showdown, as do Massachusetts and Loyola.
Like Fairfield, St. John's plays two games this week, starting with a trip to Siena on Wednesday. The Red Storm then play at Lehigh on Saturday.
Finally, Georgetown's situation doesn't get any easier as the Hoyas have to face No. 10 Duke.
Cornley keeps doing what he can to keep this respectable. But when Hummel gets accidental tip-ins to go down, what else can a guy do?
DeChellis is in between throwing in the towel and putting his best 3-point lineup out there. Cammeron Woodyard and Chris are both in the game, taking out Jones and Morrissey.
The last three minutes of this one can be chalked up to garbage time. Sunday will be judgment day for the Lions.
Purdue 79, PSU 65
Cornley battles hard underneath for the offensive rebound and finished the possession with an opportunity for a 3-point play. Before he hit the foul shot, Cornley glanced up at the scoreboard and stared down the score and time remaining.
Purdue ups its lead to 23, and running down court on offense, Cornley again stares at the game clock above the hoop.
Kramer is limping off the court with the help of a staff member. It appears he banged knees with somebody.
7:41 left 2nd half
Purdue 77, PSU 55
Battle hits a 3 out of the timeout. Penn State showing some press now to try and get a quick scoring spurt.
We're at the under 12 media timeout. Brooks is headed to the foul line when the action kicks back on.
11:18 left 2nd half
Purdue 66, PSU 47
Hummel ups the lead to 19 with about 13 minutes to play. Back-to-back Hummel 3-pointers puts this thing out of reach.
13:04 left 2nd half
Purdue 66, PSU 44
Battle posts up Jackson on the opening possession of the second half, and draws a foul on Johnson down low. DeChellis might want to try to get some of Purdue's bigs out of the game.
Penn State goes back to its traditional man defense. Jackson plays a little inside-out with Jones, and then buries a 3-pointer. Jackson is playing with a ton of confidence in Indy.
Hummel was about the only Boilermaker to not play out of his mind in the first half. He's getting going early here in the second half.
But it's Purdue's defense that is leading to its offense. There's another transition hoop for Moore. Penn State is forced to settle for jump shots, and that's going to be a tough way to make any type of run with the way Purdue plays defense.
15:14 left 2nd half
Purdue 60, PSU 44
We're gonna play around for argument's sake. As it stands right now, the committee cannot fault Penn State for running into the Boilermakers tonight. A lot of people called this the 'clincher,' and a win definitely secures a bid. But a loss does not eliminate the Lions from consideration. Granted it'll make for a Sunday none of these players will forget anytime soon, but a lot of the Lions' tourney hopes lie with how well other bubble teams do.
As of today, the Lions were projected as an 11 seed for the NCAA tournament. I think the cutoff for the at-large teams is typically a 12 seed. So figure Penn State can afford to drop maybe four spots and still earn a bid.
I don't want to even think about how close it's going to be Sunday.
But again, 20 minutes could make this all a moot point.
Purdue 51, PSU 35
Purdue shooting better than 63 percent from the field, including 8-for-12 from 3-point land. Grant came off the bench and hit all four shots, all from 3, to lead all scorers with a dozen points.
Pringle and Cornley lead the Lions with 10 and 11 points, respectively.
Seconds half adjustments for the Lions' defense are simple: Get the ball out of the paint. Purdue holds a 20-8 advantage in points in the paint. Couple that with a 21-0 advantage for the Boilermakers' bench and nine fast break points and Purdue can be smiling about a long of things during the intermission right about now.
Penn State's best bet would be to get this deficit down to single digits. There's no question Purdue is at the top of its game tonight. Even if Penn State drops this one by a reasonable margin, the selection committee can at least look at the strong fight the Lions are putting up.
The Lions are definitely scoring the way they need to win a typical game against Purdue, but if the Boilermakers hang half a hundred, there's not much any team in the league can do to beat them.
You figure before the game if Penn State would've put up 35 in the first half, it'd head to the locker room ahead. Not so, tonight.
43.9 seconds left 1st half
Purdue 49, PSU 35
It looks real bleak. The Lions are down 17, but I cannot stress this enough. This team does NOT think it's out of any game. As I type that, Pringle drills a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the deficit down to 14.
Purdue is bound to cool off, but the Boilermakers are playing so efficient on offense, that they're finding ways to score besides riding the hots hands from 3.
3:43 left 1st half
Purdue 43, PSU 27
Grant connects on a 3 fresh out of the timeout.
Penn State has switched into a 2-3 zone to try and cool off the Boilermakers. Moore grabs an offensive rebounds and goes straight up for a basket. Playing the 2-3 makes it harder to box out the offense.
Grant hits his third 3 of the half. Purdue is 8-for-10 from beyond the arc.
There's not a lot of talking from the players in this huddle. I think it's pretty clear they know it's just one of those nights.
5:27 left 1st half
Purdue 41, PSU 21
There was a foul called, but in the immediate continuation Jones swatted the heck out of a JaJuan Johnson post move.
Pringle hits the Lions first 3 of the game, but Kramer scores in transition. Keaton Grant drills a 3 of his own from atop the perimeter. Purdue is getting whatever shot it wants so far.
Johnson is showing why he is first-team All-Big Ten. Jones was playing perfect interior defense on him, but Johnson hit a tough jump hook. Kramer followed that up with another transition throw down to extend Purdue's lead to 14.
Battle got called for carrying the basketball. While the hoard of PSU fans behind me were disgusted with that call, he has been cradling his dribble.
For some stress relief for you PSU fans, it seems the Lions picked up a new player
Purdue grinding away at Penn State's offensive with tough man-to-man defense. A couple fouls have been called on Purdue, and Penn State has scored on two possessions to chip into this lead.
11:49 left 1st half
Purdue 19, PSU 9
Cornley's shot from the outside couldn't be farther from last night's win. He shot two airballs in the game's first five minutes, a far cry from last night when he scored 13 points in seven minutes.
Morrissey spells Jackson.
Nemanja Calasan scored seven straight for the Boilermakers, and Penn State continues to struggle to find its offensive groove.
13:37 left 1st half
Purdue 19, PSU 5
Penn State has the opening possession, but it's Hummel who gets things rollin' with a 3-pointer and a slam.
Moore buries another 3 at the top, and after a defensive hold, Kramer apparently can dunk. I didn't see that coming from the token scrappy lock-down man.
Penn State in a 12-2 hole early.
Well, as DeChellis likes to preach, it's now the Lions turn to make their run. I'm not actually in the huddle, but I imagine I relayed to you the gist of that chat during the under-16 media timeout.
Mink's key to the game: Absorb the Boildermakers' pressure.
OK, so that's what Cornley told me last night was the key to the game. But in actuality, it is. Purdue, as Pringle likes to put it, loves to get up in your grill. It's gonna scratch, claw, and pest the Nittany Lions all night. Whichever backcourt doesn't turn the ball over, and can establish the pace of the game will walk outta here with a date with the Illini tomorrow night.
This is Purdue's first real run since a loss at Michigan State last Sunday. Penn State, meanwhile, is fresh off a 15-point throttling of Indiana. Last night, Ed DeChellis wanted to attack the Hoosiers from the opening tip. Look for a similar strategy tonight to try to catch the Boilermakers' off guard.
And for you Boiler fans, we shall see just how much the addition of Hummel can affect this matchup.
All right, Lion fans, we set up shop feet behind the Penn State bench to bring you ALL the details of tonight's matchup with the Boilermakers. We're about 15 minutes to tip. Illinois hung on to beat the Wolverines by 10. So the winner tonight takes on the Illini tomorrow at 4:05 p.m.
The other semifinal sees No. 5 seed Ohio State go up against No. 1 seed Michigan State. Should the Lions pull this out tonight, the question for Jamelle Cornley then becomes who would he rather face in a potential Big Ten tournament final: Best bud Travis Walton of the Spartans, or Ohio State, the school that spurned him
Starting lineups to follow.
F 2 Jamelle Cornley
F 22 Andrew Jones
F 15 D.J. Jackson
G 11 Stanley Pringle
G 12 Talor Battle
F 4 Robbie Hummel
F 25 JaJuan Johnson
G 3 Chris Kramer
G 23 Lewis Jackson
G 33 E'Twaun Moore
My clock reads 7:21 p.m. but we're gonna get a jumpstart on blogging Penn State's quarterfinal matchup with the Boilermakers a good 90 minutes before tip. Mink here bringing you the possible tournament clincher from Conseco Fieldhouse, and I honestly have no idea what my colleagues have been telling you, the internet here works perfect.
Illinois leads Michigan 25-24 at the half in the third quarterfinal game of the day. Penn State fans should pull for the men in orange to come away with this one. Michigan wiped the floor with the Nittany Lions in their last meeting in Ann Arbor, and the Illini are without senior floor general Chester Frazier, who badly injured his hand during practice Wednesday. The AP reports Chester had surgery this morning, and it is doubtful he will return not only for the Big Ten tournament, but maybe even the NCAA tournament next week.
We just got back from Shapiro's, an Indy hot spot for over-priced sandwiches. Think Fraser St. Deli, except twice the bill, and half the quality. My Brooklyn-style Pastrami paled in comparison to the hometown favorite, the McDuffy.
The second half of Michigan and Illinois is about ready to start. I won't try to blog that from the press room, but I'll share tentative score updates.
Illinois has upped its lead to 20 with less than seven minutes to go in the game.
Michigan cut the deficit down to a baker's dozen. But with less than five minutes to play, the Wolverines are now playing against the Illini and that red clock that counts backwards.
OK. There's about a minute to go and the Illini have a sturdy nine point lead.
All good things must come to an end -- and Between The Pipes' Spring Break is no different.
On Day 5 of BTPs' Spring Break, the week of TQT comes to a glorious end with the posting of our Q&A with Icers captain Frank Berry.
Make sure to check back next week for some special end-of-the-season Ten Question Thursday specials. For now though, enjoy your time with Mr. Berry.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
I'd try to start a video game league. I usually try to play [Steve] Thurston in NCAA football on the Xbox.
BTP: When we talked to Thurston he listed his hidden talent as beating you in NCAA football. Have the tides turned?
We've actually taken a little bit of a break. We haven't played in a while, but I'm going to have to start practicing so I can take him down this semester.
What is your favorite place to eat in town?
Wendy's. It's the finest food you'll find in State College.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
Maybe HPA 57. I'm taking it right now with Rubeo and Kirstein and we're having a good time. It's Health Policy and Administration and it's kind of like a discussion class, so we have a good time.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
I'm really good at drinking beverages at a fast pace.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
Vincent Lecavalier. People used to tell me that I looked like him, so I started watching him more and more. I actually went to Tampa during spring break last year and saw him score a hat trick, so that was pretty cool.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
"Logistics." Everything's logistics to him.
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
Who's the best dressed guy on the team?
Dave Herel. He spends a lot of time putting himself together, and he looks good.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
John Jay. I'd give it to him. I don't get to see him do his work all that often -- he's a little younger than me so he doesn't come out to the bars -- but I've heard he does well for himself.
Who has the best nickname on the team?
Aside from all of Thurston's self-proclaimed nicknames, I'll go Millsy. Timmy likes to call him "Pops," because he has to take care of him and watch him everyday.
Unfortunately for you guys, this was a good one. Would have been a challenge to keep up with, internet or not.
In the end, though, Ohio State pulled it out, hitting timely free throws and, I guess, upsetting the higher-seeded Badgers (if there is such a thing as a 4-5 upset).
The Bucks get a big one though, unofficially punching their ticket to the Big Dance with a nice 61-57 win to advance to tomorrow's semifinals against Michigan State.
There's a two-hour break now until Illinois and Michigan tip things off at 7, so we'll be back then with the rest of the day's action from Conseco.
OK, so this whole internet thing isn't really working out, which makes it really difficult to blog. I'll try my best from here on out, but for now, last year's tournament champion Wisconsin finds itself up on the Buckeyes 47-45 with 7:41 to go.
Lauderdale finds himself in the middle of all the action so far. He throws an arm to shoe away Landry, whose guarding him, and Landry takes it in the face and drops to the floor. No whistle until Lauderdale gets fouled by Hughes as he takes it to the basket.
Bo Ryan is furious and draws a technical foul. Buford hits one of two, as does Lauderdale as he takes his shots after the initial foul.
Ryan calls a quick 30-second timeout right before the half ends, but Taylor can't connect from 3. With a few seconds left, Ohio State pushes it and Buford drills a 3 as time expires and pumps his chest for dramatic effect.
The Bucks take a 29-28 lead heading into the locker room, and I can Erin Andrews hunt down Bo Ryan from afar. Luckily, there's a TV on my row, and in between the interview, ESPN shows a replay of the no-call on Lauderdale after he shoved away Landry. Ryan looks animated, but the loud fans make it impossible for me to hear what he says, unfortunately.
Mink's favorite player and the league's sixth-man-of-the-year B.J. Mullens gets half this crowd on its feet by slamming one home down low.
Kevin Gullikson follows with less than a work of art as he airballs a free throw. And as there is a break in the action following a clock malfunction after Gullkison's second miss from the line, the "O-H, I-O!" chants are drowned out by Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body," much to the delight of Collegian photog Steph Witt, seated to my right.
As play resumes, Taylor throws a lob that is just out of Landry's reach, and the Bucks capitalize in transition with two from Jeremie Simmons to tie it at 9.
Krabbenhoft sees his hustle pay off as he is found in transition by Taylor and lays it in.
Simmons follows with a 3 to knot things up at 14 before the under-12 timeout.
Bohannon opens things up out of the break with a J from the foul line, and the Bucks respond as Simmons lobs one up to Lauderdale, who does his best Dwight Howard impression as he tries to jam it with one hand. The ball hit the front of the rim and took a friendly role for the 6-8 big to tie the game at 16.
An interesting sequence a few plays later down low, as Lauderdale grabs a rebound, takes more than his fair share of steps, then has the ball ripped from his hands by Bohannon as they both fall to the ground. Bohannon, possessing the ball at the time, gets whistled for the foul.
Turner picks up his second foul on the next play and he'll take a seat ... before dropping his water bottle and watching it roll onto the court while Wisconsin brings it up. He's able to run onto the hardwood and retrieve it, though, before the ref stopped play (or someone suffered a devastating injury).
Leuer does his best Chris Kramer impersonation as he falls to the ground after a series of quick elbows that didn't even touch him. "FLOP-PER!" chants ensue from the Bucks' fans and Diebler responds with a 3.
That ends up triggering a nice back-and-forth of offense, something the Big Ten has suddenly decided to embrace.
Tim Jarmusz, Simmons and Bohannon hit back-to-back-to-back 3s on consecutive possessions to make it interesting before the under-four timeout.
2:04, first half,
UW 28, OSU 24
I'd like to say either team has a really strong turnout here in Indy, but it is really too tough to tell with so many folks in red (most of whom are seated directly below and above me), I'll just credit both.
Evan Turner hits a jumper on the baseline after a few minutes without any field goals, tying this bad boy at 5 as we reach the under-16 timeout with 15:08 to go in the first half.
Jordan Taylor hits an open Landry underneath to put the Badgers up two and get the red-clad fan next to me out of his seat in applause (and solve the mystery of which color sweater he has on).
Landry then banks a long two off-the-glass and in to put Wisconsin up four before Big Ten player of the year snub Turner travels on the opposite end.
A lot of contact down low this time, as Turner finally draws the whistle. We're at the under-12 timeout in Indianapolis.
11:45, first half,
UW 9, OSU 5
Hey folks, Matt Fortuna here to take you through the 4-5 matchup of the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers
As noted earlier, on more than one occasion, the internet inside Conseco Fieldhouse, for lack of a better word, sucks.
There is a TON of red inside this place and we're moments away from tip-off. Here are today's starters.
Well, more technical difficulties here. Right now Michigan State is up 51-41 with just under 7 minutes to play.
Kalin Lucas picks up a foul that wasn't a foul to send Damian Johnson to the line for 2. He converts both at the stripe and the Spartan lead is 8.
Michigan State continues to do a solid job of playing good team defense, always helping on the interior while making sure no one gets wide open on the outside. Chris Allen now shooting 2 for the Spartans... he makes 1-of-2 with the second shot taking about 10 seconds to finally fall through the hoop.
Damian Johnson again at the line for Minnesota. His first misses, as does the second. This has been a miserable free-throw shooting exhibition. Both teams are hovering around 50%, combining to go 23-for-42. Awful.
Kalin Lucas misses a floater and on the rebound, Blake Hoffarber tackles Draymond Green.
MSU now up 56-46 on a bucket by Chris Allen with under 4 minutes to play.
Michigan State fans now rise to their feet as Lucas dribbles the ball up the court nursing a 10-point lead. Empty possession fro the Spartans.
Now we head to the final media timeout.
2:41 second half
Michigan State 56, Minnesota 46
Remember what I said about the Internet working? Yeah, not so much.
13:16 now left to play in this one and Michigan State has taken a 44-36 lead as chants of "Go Green... Go White" echo through the arena. Michigan State's fan turnout is definitely impressive, although Illinois is looking pretty good as well. It's hard to tell when only fans of two teams are cheering per game. We'll hear from the Illini faithful in a few hours.
Gray at the line for the Spartans shooting 2... the first isn't close and the second also clanks off the rim.
Westbrook drives down the base line uncontrollably and gets called for a charge.
The Spartans extend the lead to 10 and things aren't looking good at all for Minnesota.
11:27 second half
Michigan State 46, Minnesota 36
And we're back underway in the second half here at Conseco Fieldhouse with Michigan State now leading 35-30. A breakaway lay-up by Damian Johnson trims the lead to 3.
Delvon Roe at the line and hits 1-of-2 free throws after 2 missed dunks by the Spartans. But on the second one Roe was fouled, it would've been a terrific put-back and a highlight-reel play for sure.
Westbrook scores for Minnesota and the MSU lead is down to 2. Minnesota continues to sit in a 2-3 zone with the guards putting some pressure on the perimeter. Suton hits a mid-range jumper.
Minnesota completely fails on an alley-oop attempt to Bostick. He didn't get high enough an the ball clanked off the corner between the rim and backboard.
2 more points for Suton, 40-36 MSU.
Finally a dunk goes down. Durrell Summeers brings some life into the building as Spartan fans continue to cheer. What a play.
Now Delvon Roe actually blocks Sampson's shot but a foul was called. Thought it might have been clean.
14:25 second half
Michigan State 42, Minnesota 36
A pair of Sampson free throws, a Draymond Green bucket and a Devron Bostick bucket give Minnesota a 30-29 lead as Tom Izzo calls a timeout with 57 seconds to play in the half.
Chris Allen for 2 as the lead switches hands again. About 4 seconds separating the shot clock and game clock as Minnesota controls the ball. Timeout Tubby Smith with 16 seconds to play in the half and 12 to shoot.
Offensive foul called on Sampson and a Minnesota fan next to us is far from pleased. Looked like a good call to me...
Kalin Lucas misses a short floater but grabs his own board and puts it back in for 2 as time expires. Halftime here in Indianapolis.
Michigan State 33, Minnesota 30
Sampson knocks down a free throw for Minnesota and we are tied at 23.
What a shot by Devon Bostick with the shot clock winding down. He hits a fade away jumper from the corner with a defender in his face and Minnesota retakes the lead by 2.
Hightower calls a foul on Bostick and holds his pose for 20 minutes. Green misses at the line for the Spartans but they come up with a steal anyway and Chris Allen hits 2 free throws.
Minnesota gets a free throw from Damian Johnson, then Draymond Green scores for MSU to give Sparty a 27-26 lead.
3:33 first half
Michigan State 27, Minnesota 26
Chris Allen scores for Michigan State and the score is 21-20 in favor of the Gophers. Ralph Sampson III throws one of the highest-lofted hook shots I've ever seen and it misses as we had under the 10-minute mark in the first half now.
We have a much larger crowd on hand here for the second session of the tournament with a big Michigan State contingent making news. Every team has fans here, but we're surrounded by a lot of Wisconsin and Ohio State red and Illinois orange where we're seated.
Official Steve Skiles just imitated his partner Ed Hightower by running across thef loor and enthusiastically pointing at a Minnesota player who committed a foul. Durrell Summers heads to the line for 2 shots and misses the first... and the second. MSU grabs the rebound and Marquise Gray -- who for some reason isn't listed on our handy score sheet -- heads to the line and sinks a couple free throws.
7:37 first half
Michigan State 23, Minnesota 22
All right everyone, we're back in Conseco Fieldhouse and it appears like the Internet problems may be a thing of the past. I'm sure I just jinxed it, but we'll see.
We were at lunch so this post is a little late, but right now top-seeded Michigan State trails 8-seed Minnesota 16-15 with 12:59 to play in the first half. Matt Brown here to take you through the action the rest of this game, while Fortuna and Mink will be along for the other games today. We have a long day ahead of us as Penn State-Purdue doesn't tip-off until 9 p.m.
Paul Carter at the line for Minnesota looking to convert a 3-point play, and he does to extend the Golden Gophers' lead to 19-15. This is certainly a huge game for Minnesota, as a win would have to lock-up an at-large bid to the tournament.
Apologies for the slow updates here. As noted earlier, the internet here is awful. Luckily for you, Penn State locked this game up by halftime. They now lead 63-43 with under five minutes to go, and I'll try to get you more as soon as this connection is restored.
Cornley catches the ball outside the 3-point line, takes a dribble in and swishes the soft jumper. Battle then steals the inbounds pass, but the Nits turn it over.
Jones hits a 3 for IU on the other end to cut the lead to 18.
Pringle, however, responds with a 3 of his own after being left wide open in the corner.
Roth keeps the back-and-forth going with a corner 3. Unfortunately for him, the Hoosiers will need many more of those.
...especially with the way Cornley is playing. He knocks down another midrange shot for his 22nd points of the night.
Battle throws a lob to D.J. who is fould hard by Pritchard. Somehow, a dunk attempt is not a shooting foul.
Cornley comes back to life with an airball, but D.J. has apparently resurrected as he puts back in another miss to make it 56-34.
Not sure if it was a pass or if Battle just lost it on the baseline, but the ball lands in D.J.'s hands as he lays it in and draws the foul. Looks like a career night for the Farrell, Pa., native, and the Lions will need this type of effort from him and everyone else against Purdue tomorrow, as well. (Yes, I'm going out on a limb and not predicting a Hoosier rally. Sorry.)
10:50 to go,
PSU 58, IU 34
Pritchard misses a pair of tough shots in the paint on the opening possession of the half before D.J. puts back a Pringle missed 3 on the other end.
Williams hits one of two at the line for IU, then PSU follows a number of missed attempts downlow before Cornley finally says enough. The big fella snags the rebound out of the air, takes a power dribble and softly lays it in.
Williams responds with a quick lay-in on the other end to cut it to 42-28.
And if IU didn't think it was already in trouble, Battle comes to life, hitting a long 3 for his first points of the game to put the Nits up 17.
Pritchard misses not one but two wide open lay ins underneath on the other end, and D.J. connects on the other end to give the Lions a 19-point lead.
Frustration may be boiling over for the Hoosiers as they foul Cornley following a routine rebound.
Break in the action.
15:45 to go,
PSU 47, IU 28
Here's a quick look at the first-half stats, which tells it all.
All in all, can't ask for much more out of the Nits. They hit their shots, got IU in foul trouble and basically did what they were supposed to do against a far inferior team. Let's see if they can keep it up in the second half.
D-Mo in for Pringle as play resumes and Brooks misses a wide open 3.
Nice airball, er, pass, by Matt Roth, as his 3 sails way short of the rim but right into the hands of Pritchard for the easy lay-in.
Andrew Jones responds on the other end with the easy deuce of his own.
IU's Verdell Jones draws contact on the other end and knocks down a pair from the line to cut the lead to 13.
Battle still can't connect, as is reverse lay-in goes in and out. Jones tries to follow but it won't go. Roth's 3 on the other end goes in-and-out, and Eddy D will call a timeout with 41.3 seconds left and his team with the ball.
Pringle misses a 3 out of the break, and Williams can't connect for IU as we head to the half with the Nits up 38-25.
Pritchard makes a nice backdoor cut and is fed underneath before being fouled by Brooks. He makes one of two from the line, cutting the lead to 10.
D.J. responds with a lay-in inside.
Verdell Jones hits another 3, cutting the lead to single digits and bringing this crowd to its feet.
Pringle travels on the next possession and you get the feeling the momentum may be starting to switch.
Battle bricks a 3 in transition, and Verdell Jones gets called for the offensive foul while trying to push it down the other end. This stadium is livid, and Cornley gives them more reason to boo as he puts in yet another layup for his 16th points of the game.
I'll give it to these Hoosier fans. They're team, for lack of a better word, sucks this season, but they're right there with every call, making more mock applauses after IU gts a call against them.
Battle has just taken a single shot, but when the other two of the Nits' Big Three are on like tonight, it simply won't matter. Pringle lays another one in in transition for his 13th points on the night. Verdell Jones comes up hobbling on the other end as the refs stop play to let him sit. This could get ugly for the Hoosiers, who are now missing arguably their two best players.
Andrew Jones spares D.J. with Pritchard at the line. The frosh misses both, but gets his own rebound, misses a putback, and then sees teammate Daniel Moore get whistled after a clean strip of Andrew Jones underneath. I'm not sure if it will matter in a game like this, but PSU is getting every call here on the road, a rarity to say the least.
Jones knocks down the first of the 1-and-1, and PSU is up a comfortable 13.
Another stupid, stupid pass by IU leads to PSU transition points, this time with Battle lobbing an alley-oop to Brooks, who throws it down with ferocity to complete the 2-on-1 break. Where has that been the last two years, Jeff?
The PSU bench is up, as are Hank Cornley, Dorcella Smith and the rest of the PSU players' family members seated not far behind them
Timeout on the floor.
2:39, first half,
PSU 36, IU 21
Verdell Jones hits a 3 from the elbow to bring the crowd back to life again.
D.J. passes up a wide open 3 attempt from the top of the key, travels (doesn't get called ... guess the crowd's reaction), drives and loses it out of bounds.
Under-8 timeout with 7:55 to go in the half,
PSU 27, IU 16
Babb misses a 3 to open things up out of the break, but hte long rebound goes to Pringle, who finds Ott before the big man takes one too many steps in the paint.
No worries, as Morrissey picks off an AWFUL crosscourt pass near the midcourt line, triggering a PSU possession that ends in a Pringle 3 across from the IU bench. Pringle then picks things up in transition a play later and connects from the foul line, prompting another 30-second timeout from Crean with his team down 26-8 and not even a quarter of the way through this one.
Cornley's back in, along with IU-killer Will Leiner. The Coplay, Pa., native, you may recall, scored tow points and dished out a pair of assists against the Hoosiers on senior night.
Battle is out of the locker room now and just like that ready to replace the former walk-on. Pringle joins him, replacing Babb.
Jones hits a 3 to inject some positive energy into this building and cut the PSU lead to 13.
But it's Cornley again, this time taking it to the hole and drawing contact. Guess that bum shoulder is feeling much better.
D.J. spares D-Mo as Cornley knocks down one of two from the line before grabbing his own rebound. He really wasn't kidding when he said he'll do more if he has to in order for his team to make the NCAA tournament.
IU finally gets a call its way as Battle gets whistled for the charge in the lane. PSU will now press, and a confused Williams is forced to call another 30 second timeout.
8:36, first half,
PSU 27, IU 13
Danny Morrissey is in for D.J. out of the break, where Pringle opens things up with a pretty reverse lay-in to make it 10-4 Nits.
Cornley again, this time muscling his way inside for his ninth and 10th points of the game.
Finkelmeier and Pringle exchange buckets, making it 15-6 Nits and prompting a 30-second timeout from Tom Crean with 14:23 to go.
Everything going Cornley's way here, as he pumps from 3 and gets the foul call on Taber as he knocks him over while trying to take it inside.
Nick Willaims with the 2 for IU, cutting it to 15-8.
You thought he was finished? Cornley again takes it inside, this time getting hammered by Verdell Jones before throwing up an off-balance J in the paint. Cue Marv Albert: "It counts and the foul."
I must have missed something in between, as the IU "bench" gets whistled for a technical foul after the play. Pringle hits one of two freebies, and now 'Mel will get his turn after the beautiful play a moment earlier. Cornley makes it count, and it's 19-8.
Battle comes up hobbling on the next trip down and leaves the court limping. Doesn't look anything serious, but Chris Babb gets a chance to come in now.
Babb drives and misses, but Williams is called for the loose ball foul, the team's sixth before the 12-minute mark, and this crowd is not pleased.
And Battle walks slowly to the locker room as Jeff Brooks banks in two.
Andrew Jones gets called for the foul on the ensuing IU possession, drawing a mock applause from the home crowd. Andrew Ott replaces Jones.
Erin Andrews hanging near the corridor now after Battle just went in there to nurse his ankle. We'll keep you updated.
11:49, first half,
Nits 21, IU 8
It is clearly a pro-IU crowd as the Nits are booed when introduced.
Some members of the pep band, along with the Nittany Lion and Penn State cheerleaders are here and start the White Stripes' "7 Nation Army" chant as the Nits win the opening tip.
The Nits get a piar of looks that don't fall, but Jones is fouled off another offensive rebound and Cornley finishes on the ensuing inbounds pass.
The senior captain follows with an open 3-pointer from the top of the key an it's quickly 5-0 Nits here in the early going.
After about a 3-minute scoring drought, IU's Jones hits a turnaround to put the Hoosiers on the board and it's 5-2 Nits. Taber tips in a Jones miss off a steal and its quickly 5-4.
Annnd Cornley quickly responds with another 3. Maybe he saw DeShawn Sims' performance in the earlier game for Michigan?
We're at the under-16 timeout.
15:47, first half,
Jamelle Cornley 8, IU 4
Hey folks, Matt Fortuna here to bring you all of the action from inside Conseco Fieldhouse today, where No. 6 seed Penn State takes on the hometown favorite, No. 11 seed Indiana. There are a ton of red shirts in this arena today, and we'll see if the Hoosiers can pull off the upset over the Nittany Lions. Tip-off is in about five minutes, and here are the projected starters for the game:
F - Kyle Taber
F - Tom Pritchard
G - Nick Williams
G - Verdell Jones III
G - Brett Finkelmeier
F - Jamelle Cornley
F - Andrew Jones
F - D.J. Jackson
G - Stanley Pringle
G - Talor Battle
As you can see, Devan Dumes is not expected to play tonight. Bloomington Times Herald IU reporter (and Collegian alum '04) Chris Korman reported that Dumes tried to practice earlier today but was unable to go full contact. That could spell doom for Indiana today.
On Day 4 of Between The Pipes' Spring Break (and an actual Thursday, too) we bring you Ten Questions with senior defenseman and assistant captain Kyle Mills. Much like yesterday's edition with Scott Dakan, Mills received some help from teammates. Here are Mills's responses -- with Steve Thurston and Luke DeLorenzo for help.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
Baseball. I'd be a designated hitter. I'd sit on the bench all day and then just go out to hit a home run to win the game.
What is your favorite place to eat?
Gaetano's, back in Connecticut.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
COMPSCI 203 with Will Simon. It was computer science -- I don't really know what it was about.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
I'm very good at sleeping.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
Thurston: Because his name is Steve.
Yes, because I like Steve Thurston.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
Whishy whishy pants [Balboni's name for track suit pants]. These are whishy whishy pants right now, if you were wondering.
DeLorenzo: I am also wearing whishy whishy pants.
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
What's her name? Blonde girl. Model. Victoria Secret. She's American.
DeLorenzo: I can picture her.
DeLorenzo: Marissa Miller.
Yeah, Marissa Miller.
Who's the best dressed guy on the team?
DeLorenzo: Without a question.
He's got an eye for it.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
I'd have to say Lukas over here. He's a gentleman and a scholar.
DeLorenzo: Chivalry is not dead.
Yes. Chivalry is not dead.
DeLorenzo: Kyle and I are bringing it back
Who has the best nickname on the team and the story behind it?
"Sweet Lou," and that's Thurston's nickname. I don't know why we call him that. There's no story.
Well, that'll about do it for this live blog. We continue to have Internet problems, but there's not much to report from this game. DeShawn Sims is good, Iowa can't shoot and that's about it. There's 13:44 left to play and the Wolverines are dominating the game 54-30.
We're about to head down and try to grab some food before Penn State finally tips off around 5 p.m. Hopefully the Internet situation will improve a bit by then so we can bring you a more complete live blog of the Nittany Lions-Hoosiers.
Check back soon for that.
More Internet difficulties here. 16:27 to go now with Michigan leading Iowa 44-26. DeShawn Sims still has not missed. I believe he's 9-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.
Douglas hits a 3, now Sims with a two-handed slam and this game is getting out of hand.
15:36 second half
Michigan 49, Iowa 26
The first game's halftime entertainment brought us musical chairs. Game 2 brings us human slingshot bowling. Some Indiana fan starts things up by sliding in on a sled-type object for a strike. The Iowa fan hits 3-of-5 and the Michigan fan gets 4. This may be as exciting as the first half of our current game.
Conseco Fieldhouse has started to fill up a little more. There was no one here at noon for the start of the Minnesota-Northwestern game, but the crowd is slowly building. Still a lot of empty seats in here, but there's been at least some noise now.
Some halftime stats:
-Michigan shooting 68%, Iowa 26% from the field. That explains a lot.
-Michigan's DeShawn Sims has 18 points, just 1 fewer than the entire Iowa team
-Surprisingly, Sims' first-half performance is not the best of the day. Northwestern's Kevin Coble had 19 in the first 20 minutes of Game 1.
Back in a few.
All right, well technical difficulties (a lack of a good Internet connection) have been plaguing us all day. So anyway, I'm back with Michigan taking Iowa to the woodshed 40-17. Yeah... in the near 8 minutes of play since our last update, Iowa has scored 2 points. Sure doesn't make Penn State's loss Saturday look good.
Jarryd Cole finally adds to the Hawkeyes' total by hitting 2 free throws with 11.9 seconds to play in the first half.
Manny Harris with the ball for Michigan and he has it stolen from him. Matt Gatens (I think) ended up launching a shot from half court that rimmed out. May or may not have counted.
Michigan 40, Iowa 19
Harris hit the free throw, Lucas-Perry buries another 3 and this game is getting out of hand early. 25-9 Michigan leads.
Iowa finally scores again with a Bawinkel 3. Jake Kelly finally gets on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 10. This time it didn't hit the backboard twice before falling in...
7:58 first half
Michigan 25, Iowa 15
Sims back in the game and he hits a fade-away jumper. I picked him 1st Team All-Big Ten and he's making me look smart.
Manny Harris scores and is fouled, he'll try for a 3-point play after an Iowa timeout.
10:28 first half
Michigan 21, Iowa 9
Belein uses the timeout to take his entire team out of the game as Sims heads to the bench. Cyrus Tate at the line for Iowa, and he connects on 2 free throws to cut the lead to 14-9.
It took more than 8 minutes, but someone else on Michigan scores as Harris skips to Laval Lucas-Perry for a 3.
11:25 first half
Michigan 17, Iowa 9
Maybe John Beliein is reading this blog during the game because DeShawn Sims now has all 10 Michigan points and the Wolverines are up 10-7.
Make that all 12 for Sims. Make that all 14. Timeout Todd Lickliter. Perhaps he should make an adjustment.
12:20 first half
DeShawn Sims 14, Iowa 7
And we're underway with the second game of our first-round triple-header as Michigan wins the tip.
To the surprise of no one, Michigan attempts a 3 on its first trip down and misses. An exchange of turnovers and we have a terrific start to this game on offense.
Iowa's in man-to-man, but the defense doesn't seem to matter. Michigan's offense always appears the same: swing the ball around the perimeter until someone has a 3. Occasionally they do get it inside to the underutilized DeShawn Sims, who scores the first bucket of the afternoon. And Sims scores again as he gets the deep pass on a breakaway for an easy 2.
Devan Bawinkel gets Iowa on the scoreboard with a 3. That name is always funny to type.
Again Michigan finds an open Sims down low. He has all 6 of the Maize and Blue's points.
15:58 first half
Michigan 6, Iowa 3
Matt Brown here at Conseco Fieldhouse as we continue to take you through today's action. Minnesota just beat Northwestern to move on and face Michigan State Friday. Next up, 7-seed Michigan takes on 10-seed Iowa, with the winner facing 2-seed Illinois.
The Internet connection here in Indianapolis is pretty lousy, but we'll do our best to keep you as up to date as possible.
Penn State fans should be pulling for Iowa (as hard as that may be after last Saturday, as well as November's football game), as a Hawkeye win might knock Michigan into the NIT.
Westbrook connects on two foul shots to push the lead up to five with two minutes to play. On the next possession, Johnson throws it UP to Sampson to throws it DOWN. Westbrook tacks on another foul shot to make it an eight point game with about a minute left.
This one appears to be in the books, but that would be letting March Madness off the hook too easily.
After a defensive hold Nolen sinks two free throws. After another Northwestern miss, Johnson struts back to the charity stripe to put this one to bed.
Minn. 66, NW 53
Thompson banks in a floater as the shot clock was winding down. After back-and-forth defensive holds, Sampson goes right through Coble for a chance at a 3-point play, which he then converts, to put the Gophers back up by one.
3:43 left 2nd half
Minn. 50, NW 49
Northwestern has this thing down to two, and it has two free throws coming up. Thompson hits both to knot the score at 47.
7:59 left 2nd half
NW 47, Minn. 47
It's worth repeating again. Penn State fans are rooting for a Gopher loss.
Coble hits two foul shots to get his first points of the half. Thompson keeps his steady second half going with a baseline jumper, and all of a sudden it's a four point ball game.
9:12 left 2nd half
Minn. 47, NW 43
Thompson hit a 3 to cut the lead down to seven.
Luke Mirkovic connects on four straight points for the Wildcats.
10:57 left 2nd half
Minn. 45, NW 39
Moore helps out Coble in the opening minute by drilling a 3. Westbrook is getting a chunk of the early second-half scoring for the Gophers. He knocks down two jumpers to help build the lead back up to nine.
Coble misses for just the second time this afternoon.
15:07 left 2nd half
Minn. 42, NW 32
Stat of the half: Coble has 19 of his team's 25 points.
Coble is redefining single-handedly keeping his team in the game. On the other hand, the only thing that is appealing about this game is the potential to see Coble go off for about 40.
Bostick leads the Gophers with 11 points.
The Wildcats have cut the lead down to seven with about a minute left. The wireless connection at Conseco Fieldhouse is making the blogging thing a little slow, but we're gonna suck it up and stick with it.
With the game clock winding down, Busch dishes off a pretty no look pass to Bostick, who is fouled going up for the lay-up.
Coble ends the half with a buzzer-beater just from beyond the arc.
Minn. 31, NW 25
Coble cuts the lead down to single digits with a jumper. Hoffarber answers with a nice floater in the lane, though.
Nolen set up Travis Busch for a jump shot to extend the Gopher lead to a baker's dozen. Iverson is back in the game, so whatever bothered him wasn't too serious.
Bostick is quickly becoming the player of the half. He fought hard underneath for the offensive rebound and went up strong for the basket.
3:02 left 1st half
Minn. 29, NW 17
Coble has 10 of the Wildcats' 17 points.
Coble still has all the Wildcat points. Minnesota has upped its lead to 12 after Devron Bostick hit a pair of field goals. And Colton Iverson slammed it home to push the lead to double-digits moments ago.
Bostick gets another fast-break slam for the Gophers and it's 22-8. Iverson heads to the locker room.
7:33 left 1st half
Minn. 22, NW 11
Coble has the first five points for Northwestern. But so far, a real sluggish start to this game. This is probably the least sexy game to watch in the whole tournament. The Wildcats don't have much crowd support here. Minnesota brought some of its band. Overall, I'd say this crowd is pretty neutral.
15:24 left 1st Half
NW 5, Minn. 4
INDIANAPOLIS --- So, if you're a fan of everything Big Ten and just accidently stumbled your way onto Hardwood Hits. Or if you were curious what kind of google hits would pop up if typed in Nate AND Mink, today's your lucky day.
All day the Collegian men's basketball writers are bringing you LIVE coverage of the Big Ten Tournament in Naptown.
On deck is No. 9 seed Northwestern against No. 8 seed Minnesota. This game actually can impact Penn State's tournament chances. Minnesota is one of the teams jockeying for a bid along with the Nittany Lions. A quick exit in Indianapolis and the Gophers will probably be on the outside looking in.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, have an outside shot at an at-large bid, too. But they probably need to win three, maybe even all four games this weekend to go dancin'.
Before we give you the starting five for the tournament opener, I'll tell you we ran into Eddie George in The Locker Room, a roomy eating area/bar. George was dressed semi-professionally in a black vest, jeans and sneakers.
With Day 3 of Between The Pipes' Spring Break comes our Q&A with senior defenseman Scott Dakan -- and while Dakan is primarily responsible for the following responses, he occasionally received help from Brandon Rubeo (who was also sitting out practice through injury) and Luke DeLorenzo (who voiced his opinion that he should be listed as Dakan's favorite hockey player).
Over the past few editions we've heard a number of Icers list Chris Cerutti as the team's best dressed member while making fun of his Abercrombie-esque wardrobe, but for the record, Dakan was the first to tell TQT.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
Well, I played baseball as a kid. I always really enjoyed that. So I would say experience-wise, that's really the only one that I'm looking at.
What is your favorite place to eat in town?
Definitely McDonalds. McDonalds or Wendy's -- it's a tie between the two. We have a lot of late night stops there. It's open 24 hours. It's something that's available all the time, that's why it's No. 1.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
I would have to say the KINES class that was technically "Skating with the Icers," that we got credit for freshman year. All we really had to do was go to practice and we got an automatic A.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
I don't know of one anyone doesn't really know about, but a lot of the guys always used to give me crap for having a really long, and I guess you could say, strong neck. Freshman year we used to do a lot of neck exercises and that's one thing I got called out for, for doing a good job in. I used to get a lot of crap for that, especially from this kid down here.
DeLorenzo: It's really good.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
It's kind of cliched, but I have to say Sidney Crosby. He's so much fun to watch. Mills is going to love this. He's so much fun to watch. He just makes everything look so much easier than the other guys out there. He's just so fast and just thinks the game so much better than anyone else.
BTP: Mills is going to love that?
Mills just likes a lot of stuff that's against the grain, you could say. He's not a particular fan of Crosby. He goes more with Alexander Ovechkin, so he likes to chirp all the Crosby likers and we chirp him back for liking Ovechkin. It's just a little dual we've got going on throughout the team.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
Well from reading the Ten Questions here and there earlier in the season, I think someone's already said "logistics," so I think I'm going to have to go with, it seems like he still has a little bit of a New England accent. Certain words he puts an 'r' where there should be an 'a.' Such as "idear" and when he's trying to say "rah," it sounds like "roar." Those are probably my favorite ones
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
I have to say, from Mr. And Mrs. Smith, Angelina Jolie.
Who's the best dressed guy on the team?
We always joke that [Chris] Cerutti, with his hair and his chosen attire, it looks like he stole the clothes off an Abercrombie and Fitch manikin. I'm going to have to go with him for that one.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
I know John Jay and Kirstein have gotten some votes for this. I definitely think Kirstein thinks he is, but he has a girlfriend, so...
Brandon Rubeo: Whoever is the heavyweight champion. Whoever wins the game.
That's true. Whoever wins the game is the heavyweight champ. But I'm going to say Rubeo. He's the dark horse of this. I'm going to go with Rubeo.
Who has the best nickname on the team?
I wish there were more guys out here, because I can't think of any off the top of my head. I like "The Grey One." Back in the day when Kirstein didn't play that much, he was always on the grey line and it kind of caught on real quickly. He was always one of those guys that was always going balls out in practice and making big plays on the penalty kill, so I'm going to go with "The Grey One."
While much of Penn State is in Mexico, Florida or just sleeping at home, Matt, Nate, photographer Steph Witt and I are back in State College ready to get on the road and head to Indianapolis. Well, actually we'll be heading an hour further to Bloomington, where Collegian alumnus and Bloomington Herald Times Indiana beat writer Chris Korman will graciously be providing us poor college kids with a place to stay.
We have about a 9 hour trip ahead of us, and we have no idea how long we'll be staying in Indiana. That depends on those Nittany Lions. The NCAA tournament selection show is Sunday night, but there is a lot of business for Penn State to take care of first in the Big Ten tournament. And we'll be there as long as the Lions are there to bring you coverage through the Collegian Web site, Hardwood Hits and the relatively new Hardwood Hits Twitter. And be sure to check Monday's Collegian for coverage as well when everyone returns from break.
As for the road trip, we'll be using the Twitter to update on all the little things that happen on the way to Indiana (hopefully nothing too eventful), on the way back and anything else in between that isn't worthy of an entire post.
So be sure to check all of our outlets of communication throughout the week for the latest from the Big Ten tournament.
Sorry everybody for the delay on this but sadly my schedule has been pretty busy so far (I thought this was supposed to be a break?) but junior Will Price was named the EIVA Player of the Week on Monday for the fifth time in his career.
Price recorded 12 kills on .500 hitting with an ace, two blocks and a team-high nine digs in the Lions' match against George Mason last Friday.
It is the third time a Penn State player has captured the EIVA Player of the Week this season. Junior Max Lipsitz won the award in January and senior Max Holt was awarded with the title in February.
Day 2 of Between The Pipes' Spring Break means another TQT.
This time, we quizzed senior defenseman Brent Tranter -- when he wasn't busy blocking shots -- on all things 2008-09 Penn State ACHA Division I Icers and he was happy to oblige.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
I'd say either lacrosse or golf. I used to play lacrosse and I liked it a lot. There are a lot of similarities between it and hockey. Golf, because it's kind of nice and relaxing, as long as I'm not doing too bad.
What is your favorite place to eat in town?
I'd say Faccia Luna. I'm a big Italian guy and I like it.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
There was a class with Sam Richards. I forget what it was, but it just talked about different races and it was basically just go, listen to him talk and they were kind of interesting stories.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
I enjoy playing the piano. That's one that most guys don't know.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
I'd have to say Nicklas Lidstrom. He's a good defenseman. I wish I had the skill that he has. He just makes everything look so easy.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
Probably, "Keep your head on a schwivel." I've heard that one from a couple guys. He's got a lot, but I like that one.
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
Heidi Klum. No doubt.
Who's the best dressed guy on the team?
I don't know if he'd be best dressed, but most wildly dressed, I'd say Chris Cerutti. He's got a bunch of suits, that it almost looks like he's going to a disco ball or something like that.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
I have to give it to either [Chris] Pronchik or [Matt] Kirstein. I don't know if you could really say Kirstein though, because he does have a girlfriend. [BTP's TRANSLATION: Pronchik, because Tranter feels Kirstein should be disqualified from our season-long poll.]
Who has the best nickname on the team?
I'd probably have to go with "Sweet Lou." [Steve Thurston.] I know a couple of the other guys have said that, but he gave it to himself and it kind of stuck. It works -- they even announce it at the games now.
To kick off our week, we bring you a Q&A with senior defensman Craig Brooks -- whose responses easily qualify him among the more colorful TQT interviews we've had so far.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
Golf, without a doubt -- just be outside in nice warm weather and much more relaxed, because every other sport besides hockey is much more relaxed. So I'd go with golf.
What is your favorite place to eat in town?
There was a good streak there where I was going to Five Guys like four days a week, which probably didn't help -- I think I was about to have a heart attack. But it's definitely my favorite place to go and just chow down a nice big, greasy burger.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
I'm not a big fan of classes overall, but I think my favorite class was a sociology class. I can't remember the professor's name, but he was just kind of nutty. I really enjoyed that one. Either that, or we get 1.5 credits for KINES skating, so that's probably my favorite class.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
I'm actually the most prolific goal scorer to ever play hockey. [BTP NOTE: Says the man with six career goals] Only my mom's seen it, like twice, but she's my mom.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
Cam Neely. I grew up a Bruins fan. He was just hard-nosed. He could score. He could fight. He was just a great hockey player. Currently though, I'd probably say Milan Lucic on the Bruins because he's the same exact player. As a defenseman, my favorite defenseman will always be Don Sweeney. I hated Ray Bourque -- he sold the team out to go to Colorado and plus I just didn't like him.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
I've read a lot of them. They're all pretty much taken up -- saying "logistics," the mullet was great. I think my biggest quirk is when he says, "Wheels up," right when we get in the bus. When everyone's on he goes, "Wheels up." We need wheels to drive, so it always bothered me that he said that.
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
I would say Jessica Simpson, but then everyone's saying she got fat. So I'd probably have to go with Jessica Alba.
Who's the best dressed guy on the team?
I'm a big fan of the way Taylor Cera dresses when he's got the suits, just because he looks like he's about to go out and commit serial murders. Off the ice, I guess you could say best and worst dressed, because Cerutti's got holes in his jeans. He wants to be an Abercrombie model, but he's just a failed one.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
I keep seeing John Jay and I don't want to keep going with that. I'm going to go with [Matt] Kirstein, even though he's got a girlfriend. Kirstein just knows everyone. So I'd say the biggest ladies man, just because every girl seems to know him when you walk around campus with him, is Matt Kirstein.
Who has the best nickname on the team?
I'm going to go with a brand new one that we made up when we were on our way to Connecticut. We had walkie-talkies and we came up with the "Columbus Cutler" for Matt Kirstein, because all the girls just kind of flock to him and just want to hang out with him. He's from Columbus, plus he's got a girlfriend -- so as many girls as he hangs out with, even if he wanted to be THE ladies man, he couldn't. So he'd just probably cut them.
Defensive Player of the Year: Travis Walton, Michigan State
Coach of the Year (Media): Ed DeChellis, Penn State
Coach of the Year (Coaches): Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Freshman of the Year: William Buford, Ohio State
Sixth Man of the Year: BJ Mullens, Ohio State
Scroll down for the First/Second/Third All-Conference teams and the All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams.
For Penn State, DeChellis grabs the media's Coach of the Year honors, while Talor Battle is a First Team selection by both the media and coaches, and Jamelle Cornley splits the Second and Third teams.
It's hard to argue with any of the picks really. I had Turner as the player of the year, but arguments could certainly be made for Lucas and Battle.
That'll do it for this half-hour live blog from my couch. Time to watch some conference tournaments.
And we have our player of the year, according to both the coaches and media. It's Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, their first winner since Morris Peterson. Revsine correctly describes Lucas as "the best player on the best team."
Lucas joining the broadcast live, and he gives credit to his teammates and coaches... which is exactly what Izzo did for coach of the year.
Now we have a good question. Revsine asks Lucas to pick someone else for player of the year, and he chooses Evan Turner. Talor Battle can hang that quote up in his locker.
Revsine now brings Battle into the discussion. Jackson agrees with the Lucas selection, and Doyle picks Turner, calling him the best and most valuable player in the league. Turner is also my selection and I think he's the best all-around player, but I would say that Battle is the most valuable player to his team. Revsine picks Turner too.
Just like that, the fun is over. I'm surprised this was only a half-hour show.
Jim Jackson uses the phrase "If heck freezes over...". Man, things are getting pretty intense on the set.
Player of the year coming after the break. I know who it is, but I'm going to build the suspense.
Sixth Man of the Year: B.J. Mullens from Ohio State.
Freshman of the Year: William Buford, also from Ohio State.
No love for Evan Turner, but Mullens and Burfod getting some attention.
All Freshman Team
-William Buford, Ohio State
-Matt Gatens, Iowa
-Delvon Roe, Michigan State
-BJ Mullens, Ohio State
-Lewis Jackson, Purdue
I was about to complain about how my pick -- Indiana's Verdell Jones -- got no love. But then Tim Doyle decided to make the argument for me. And he's right, Jones got overlooked because of Indiana's absolutely terrible record (he also mentioned Tom Pritchard).
I'm surprised at how quickly those selections were announced. Where's the suspense? This would be a 5-hour special if ESPN was running it.
Anyway, no surprises on the first team. Personally, I had Sims over Harris but you can't argue with the Big Ten's No. 2 scorer being first team. (Speaking of our picks: make sure to check those out from yesterday)
Defensive Player of the Year goes to Michigan State's Travis Walton. Take that Chris Kramer.
-Travis Walton, Michigan State
-Chester Frazier, Illinois
-Damian Johnson, Minnesota
-Chris Kramer, Purdue
-JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
The Coach of the Year according to the coaches is Michigan State's Tom Izzo. And he makes a live appearance to downplay the importance.
And the Coach of the Year according to the media is Ed DeChellis. Ed is Penn State's first Big Ten coach of the year honoree. And he is available via live feed to answer two questions from Dave Revsine. Ed gives credit to the coaching staff and players for the success.
Jim Jackson thinks Bill Carmody should've won the award. Tim Doyle likes Izzo because they had a bullseye on their chests. Not to mention the most talent, Tim.
No surprise, Dave Revsine, Jim Jackson and Tim Doyle are here to bring us the selections. Gene Keady and his combover are not present.
Getting right into it...
-Manny Harris, Michigan
-Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
-Evan Turner, Ohio State
-Talor Battle, Penn State
-JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
-Goran Suton, Michigan State
-Kevin Coble, Northwestern
-Etwaun Moore, Purdue
-Mike Davis, Illinois (Coaches)
-Marcus Landry, Wisconsin (Coaches)
-DeShawn Sims, Michigan (Media)
-Jamelle Cornley, Penn State (Media)
-Demetri McCamey, Illinois
-Craig Moore, Northwestern
-Robbie Hummel, Purdue
-DeShawn Sims, Michigan (Coaches)
-Jamelle Cornley, Penn State (Coaches)
-Mike Davis, Illinois (Media)
-Marcus Landry, Wisconsin (Media)
With plenty of time to fill, why not make a half-hour show out of the all-conference awards? Matt Brown here to update you live on the All-Big Ten selections, which are being announced on the Big Ten Network.
Usually, Penn State fans might not have a whole lot to look forward to with this announcement, but this year is different. Talor Battle is probably a lock for First Team All-Big Ten, while Jamelle Cornley will surely find himself on the Second or Third Team.
But the biggest announcements are Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Talor Battle is a prime candidate for top player with Michigan State's Kalin Lucas and Ohio State's Evan Turner, while Ed DeChellis is likely battling Bruce Weber of Illinois (and maybe Northwestern's Bill Carmody) for coaching honors.
In February, Penn State found out firsthand what Notre Dame was capable of. Last week, the then-undefeated North Carolina Tar Heels felt the fury of the Fighting Irish.
It was a tight game throughout, but a 2-0 third quarter paved the way for the Notre Dame victory Saturday in South Bend. The two teams put on an offensive show in the fourth period, with the Irish eventually prevailing behind a hat trick by Ryan Hoff and three assists by Peter Christman.
The Tar Heels led by one at the half, but Notre Dame could go into the break with confidence after an impressive efficiency in the second quarter. The Irish scored two goals in the second stanza ... on four shots.
Notre Dame went 2-for-4 in man-up situations -- both goals scored by Grant Krebs -- and goalie Scott Rodgers recorded 16 saves to hold off the North Carolina surge in the end.
The loss dropped UNC from No. 3 to No. 8, while Notre Dame's 4-0 start was good enough for the USILA to grant it Top-5 status. Following is the rest of the Top-10 in this week's poll. As always, Penn State's opponents are in bold, and each team's ranking last week comes in parentheses.
Virginia 7-0 (1)
Syracuse 3-1 (2)
Princeton 4-0 (5)
Cornell 2-1 (4)
Notre Dame 4-0 (7)
Johns Hopkins 3-1 (10)
Maryland 4-1 (8)
North Carolina 6-1 (3)
UMBC 3-2 (6)
Duke 5-2 (13)
Despite losing its second straight game, Georgetown moved up in the rankings from 12th to No. 11. UMass rose to No. 13, while Loyola stayed put at 14th.
St. John's is involved in a three-way tie for 15th with Navy and Harvard. Villanova, Penn State's opponent on Tuesday, entered the rankings at No. 20, making it four straight ranked opponents for the Nittany Lions these last few weeks.
UNC received two more votes than Pitt to reclaim the No. 1 spot in this week's AP Top 25 poll. The Tar Heels garnered 35 first-place votes, while Pitt received 33. Memphis received a pair and Louisville even gained one.
Michigan State remained the class of the Big Ten, moving up a spot to No. 7. That's more than can be said for Purdue and Illinois. The Boilermakers dropped five spots to No. 24 while the Fighting Illini are now on the outside looking in, basically at No. 26.
Joining Bruce Weber's squad outside the poll are Penn State and Ohio State, which received two and one votes, respectively.
Having just two teams ranked going into the Big Ten tournament will do little to sway the selection committee into thinking this league should receive eight bids, no matter how strong it is from top to bottom.
AP Top 25
Rank School Record Pts Pvs
1. North Carolina (35) 27-3 1,734 2
2. Pittsburgh (33) 28-3 1,731 3
3. Connecticut 27-3 1,592 1
4. Memphis (2) 28-3 1,544 5
5. Louisville (1) 25-5 1,513 6
6. Oklahoma 27-4 1,399 4
7. Michigan St. 25-5 1,349 8
8. Wake Forest 24-5 1,246 10
9. Duke 25-6 1,237 7
10. Villanova 25-6 1,108 11
11. Kansas 25-6 1,038 9
12. Gonzaga 25-5 978 14
13. Washington 24-7 910 16
14. Missouri 25-6 779 15
15. UCLA 24-7 752 20
16. Butler 26-4 536 22
17. Clemson 23-7 528 18
18. Syracuse 23-8 518 25
19. Xavier 24-6 465 17
20. LSU 25-6 461 12
21. Marquette 23-8 453 13
22. Florida St. 23-8 333 24
23. Arizona St. 22-8 199 21
24. Purdue 22-9 169 19
25. BYU 24-6 158 --
Others receiving votes: Illinois 131, Texas A&M 63, Saint Mary's, Calif. 56, Utah 21, West Virginia 17, Auburn 9, Dayton 7, Utah St. 6, Va. Commonwealth 6, Weber St. 5, Creighton 4, N. Iowa 3, Oklahoma St. 3, Siena 3, California 2, New Mexico 2, Penn St. 2, Texas 2, American U. 1, Ohio St. 1, Tennessee 1.
Hey folks, Wisconsin just topped Indiana, 85-61, to wrap up the Big Ten regular season tonight and ensure that the Nittany Lions will not receive a first-round bye in the conference tournament and instead open up at 5 p.m. Thursday against the bottom-feeding Hoosiers. The winner of that contest will get No. 3 seed Purdue at 9 p.m. the following night.
With the announcement of the conference awards coming tomorrow, we figured we'd share with you our choices, especially since we don't get an official vote (sadly).
So without further ado, the All-Big Ten teams, from each of us ...
Talor Battle, Penn State
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Evan Turner, Ohio State
DeShawn Sims, Michigan
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Manny Harris, Michigan
Kevin Coble, Northwestern
Mike Davis, Illinois
Jamelle Cornley, Penn State
E'Twaun Moore, Purdue
Player of the Year: Evan Turner, Ohio State
Turner is the Big Ten's best all-around player -- a versatile 6-foot-7 guard/forward who can score consistently, crash the boards and even run the point if needed. He finished third in the league in scoring, third in rebounds, ninth in assists, seventh in field goal percentage and fourth in steals.Arguments can be made for Talor Battle as the most valuable player to his team and Kalin Lucas as the best player on the best team, but Turner is the most dangerous and versatile offensive threat in the Big Ten. He forces teams to mold their entire defensive gameplans around him.
Coach of the Year: Ed DeChellis, Penn State
Consider it kind of a multi-year award for where Penn State was when DeChellis took over to where the program is now. This team looked like it would be Ed's best heading into the season, but I don't know if anyone saw 21 wins.
Most Improved Player: Mike Davis, Illinois
Davis' minutes tripled this year, and he became one of the Big Ten's best all-around players. He led the league in rebounding and finished the season wiht five double-doubles, including a 14-point, 16-rebound performance against Purdue Feb. 8.
Freshman of the Year: Verdell Jones III, Indiana
In a league filled with talented sophomores, this year's freshman class doesn't come close to last year's. With few impact players, I'll give the nod to Verdell Jones III, who scored in double figures in seven of the Hoosiers' final nine games and has emerged as a legitimate scoring threat.
Defensive Player of the Year: Damian Johnson, Minnesota
The lanky junior recorded multiple steals in seven of his last eight games and is as feisty a defender as there is the Big Ten. Chris Kramer gets a lot of the hype as the league's top defender, but Johnson also needs to be recognized for his scrappy play.
Talor Battle, Penn State
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Evan Turner, Ohio State
Manny Harris, Michigan
Kevin Coble, Northwestern
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Mike Davis, Illinois
Jamelle Cornley, Penn State
DeShawn Sims, Michigan
Goran Suton, Michigan State
Player of the Year: Evan Turner, Ohio State
I've been torn between Battle and Turner all season, but Turner won me over with his play down the stretch today. He's been more consistent and has filled in a variety of roles for a young Buckeye team that could have easily collapsed after David Lighty went down before Big Ten play.
Coach of the Year: Ed DeChellis, Penn State
No, this isn't just because I called it at the beginning of the season. I've questioned his in-game decision-making more than once, but the fact of the matter is these guys play their behinds off for DeChellis every single night, buying into the family concept and the belief that they really can win every game. It has certainly showed this season with one of the program's best-ever campaigns.
Most Improved Player: Mike Davis, Illinois
Mike Davis' stats, 2007-2008: 10.4 mins, 2.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, .3 apg
Mike Davis' stats, 2008-2009: 30.2 mins, 11.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
Need I say more?
Freshman of the Year: William Buford, Ohio State
He's the Big Ten's Hakeem Olajuwon, the default winner of this award since there are no Michael Jordan's around to win it this year. Even though you can't really compare this year's freshmen class to last year's, Buford has stepped up immensely after receiving more minutes when Lighty went down in December, averaging 11.1 ppg for an Ohio State team currently seated on the right side of the bubble.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Kramer, Purdue
DeChellis wasn't kidding when he called last year's winner the "energizer bunny" for the way he keeps going and going and going. Nittany Lions fan need just look at their team's two games against the Boilermakers this season to notice his effectiveness. Kramer sat out Purdue's first game at Penn State with an ankle injury, and the Nits' starting backcourt combined for 39 points in a three-point win. Last month in West Lafeyette, Ind., the duo combined for five in a 14-point defeat, with the masked Kramer responsible for the frustrating night despite breaking his nose less than two weeks earlier.
Talor Battle, Penn State
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Evan Turner, Ohio State
Manny Harris, Michigan
DeShawn Sims, Michigan
Kevin Coble, Northwestern
E'Twaun Moore, Purdue
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Jamelle Cornley, Penn State
Goran Suton, Michigan State
Player of the Year: Talor Battle, Penn State
No player means more to his team than Battle. The conference's scoring champ didn't earn that title by playing the most minutes, either. Whenever his team needed a spark or play, the ball was in his hands. His buzzer-beater against No. 23 Illinois on Mar. 5 may have been the difference between an NIT and NCAA tournament bid.
Coach of the Year: Ed DeChellis, Penn State
One more basket in regulation against Iowa Mar. 7 and Penn State would've been the second seed in this week's Big Ten tournament. Most figured the Nittany Lions would be vying for an NIT berth this time of the year, not the NCAA bid they are within reach of. The most important trait of this team is its resiliency. Give DeChellis credit for making these guys believe no game is out of reach.
Most Improved Player: Evan Turner, Ohio State
Turner probably gets the nod as Big Ten player of the year Monday night, and a big reason for that is because of how much he has improved since last season. ET has doubled his scoring to almost 17 a game, increased his rebounding by three and upped his assists, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage as well.
Freshman of the Year: Matt Gatens, Iowa
Playing 33.5 minutes a night for coach Todd Lickliter, Gatens averaged more than 11 points and close to four rebounds. What separates Gatens from the other freshmen is his coolness at the free throw line. He's a ridiculous 90 percent foul shooter, missing eight all season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Kramer, Purdue
Kramer led the Big Ten in steals and was the recipient of the award last year. Just how tough is this kid defensively?
Penn State pulled off the conference's upset of the week, but easily the game of the ECAC's week was between No. 12 Georgetown and No. 2 Syracuse.
The 'Cuse prevailed in Washington, 8-5, largely thanks to a stout defense shutting down the Hoya attack in the fourth quarter. Georgetown put up 14 shots in the final frame, but goalie John Galloway made six of his 19 saves in that period.
The Orange scored two goals early in the quarter to keep Georgetown at bay, and the Hoyas fell to 1-2. Syracuse's offense was led by Stephen Keogh's five points (four goals, one assist). Keogh didn't start Saturday, but after that performance that will likely change next week.
Matt Abbott notched two goals for Syracuse, and each of the team's six assists came from a different player.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the ECAC:
Loyola 7, Siena 5: The Greyhounds won their third straight behind a balanced attack. Cooper MacDonnell scored two goals, and five other players put one in the net for Loyola. The defense contributed greatly to the outcome as well, holding Siena scoreless for 27 minutes.
Duke 11, Loyola 9: Loyola did just about everything right, but sometimes even that's not enough. The Greyhounds went 2-for-2 on man-up chances. They succeeded in all but one of 16 clearances. They got four goals from Shane Koppens and two from Cooper MacDonnell. But Loyola only put up four shots with the game tied in the fourth period, and the Blue Devils scored that many goals in the last quarter.
Fairfield 5, Rutgers 4: Behind four second-quarter goals, the Stags put Rutgers away. Brent Adams led the way with a goal and two assists, and John Snellman put up a pair of goals.
St. John's 8, Drexel 6: The Red Storm kept its fast start going by showing Drexel goalie Mark Manos 12 shots per period. Manos made 17 saves, but it wasn't enough to keep up with St. John's attack, led by Trevor Michaelsen's five goals and two assists. Not to be forgotten was St. John's goalie Gavin Buckley's 12-save day.
Massachusetts 7, Harvard 3: Well, for once UMass was held under 10 goals. The star this game was goalie Doc Schneider, who made 14 saves against 39 shots by the Crimson, 27 of which came in the second half. Jim Connolly and Tim Balise each recorded two goals for the Minutemen.
Hobart 7, Bucknell 2: This one was a defensive battle until the fourth, when Hobart turned on the jets and scored four goals. Kevin Curtin scored three goals in a span of seven minutes in the third and fourth periods for the Statesmen. The two goalies, Hobart's Max Silberlicht and Bucknell's Nick Sciubba, put on quite a show, tallying 14 and 13 saves, respectively.
For spring break, several teams are playing mid-week. Penn State is one of them, as the Nittany Lions travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to take on Villanova. Also on Tuesday, Loyola hosts Bryant and UMass goes to Albany.
There's also one Wednesday night, when Georgetown tries to end its two-game skid at Delaware.
Two ECAC games will be played Saturday: Georgetown-Hobart in the Statesmen's conference opener, and St. John's-Loyola in Baltimore.
Also on Saturday, UMass hosts Brown and Fairfield welcomes Colgate. Penn State travels up to Vermont on Sunday to take on the Catamounts.
I wanna take this opportunity to thank everybody who checked out our wrestling coverage this weekend. I think I speak for Robinson that we are really glad we stayed around and covered this tournament this weekend -- it was a great experience to watch the highest level competition of collegiate folkstyle wrestling.
Continue to check out our coverage as Penn State goes through to the NCAAs.
Wade and Everhart continue to battle, Wade in need of a takedown, but instead he is taken down himself. Everhart is now on top of him, attempting to ride him out to secure fifth place. Wade has gotten to his feet, and escapes from Nate's grasp. With the 1:26 riding time advantage, Wade needs some points in the final 10 seconds.
He won't get it, and he'll lose 7-2.
Cameron Wade's matchup with Indiana's Nate Everhart is now underway on mat No. 2. Not much action in the first stanza here, as the wrestlers are now handfighting. Just as I type this, Wade has shot for Everhart, but the wrestlers move off the mat and will resume neutral. Two minutes have gone by, and Everhart now acts after he sets up his move, effectively getting the takedown on Wade. He will likely now ride out Wade, and he does.
Starting up the second period, Wade is on bottom, and escapes to move the bout to 2-1. Wade just opened up a cut and will retreat to the Nittany Lion corner to try and get the blood under control.
Back here as action is winding down at the Bryce Jordan Center, and we are watching the 197-bout between Michigan's Tyrel Todd and Wisconsin's Dallas Herbst. Todd earns the victory in the end, with the riding time point, 5-4.
Now heavyweight Cameron Wade will return to the mat, in an attempt to punch his ticket to St. Louis against Indiana's Nate Everhart.
Just talked to Steve Luke of Michigan, who defeated Wright at 174 -- he was a really cool kid and a really good quote. He was honest and smart, something us Penn Staters don't want to admit we could associate with Michigan guys. (kidding) But anyway, I'm happy I got to talk to Luke, who is the No. 1 ranked 174-pounder in the country.
The final score will be 12-5 for the gritty freshman from Wingate, Pa. And the crowd shows their appreciation for Wright's performance with a nice applause.
Well, I had about seven paragraphs of commentary on the Wright/Ryan match, but technology sucks, and my internet crapped out for a little bit, and I lost it all.
I guess I have to summarize what's gone down... Wright is down 9-5 with 58 seconds remaining. He has not gotten a takedown in this match. Luke is real strong physically, and Wright hasn't been able to get any moves in.
After the conclusion of an exciting match for the championship at 165 pounds, freshman Andrew Howe has come out on top over Hawkeye Ryan Morningstar in a tiebreaker.
Now front and center, hoping to duplicate the same success another Penn State wrestler had, Quentin Wright of Penn State, facing No. 1-ranked Steve Luke of Michigan.
In a couple moments, we'll begin here.
An update of the team scores before the 165 pound matches:
Iowa - 133, Illinois 109.5, Minnesota 86, Wisconsin 84, Michigan 83.5, PSU 78.5, Ohio State 78, Northwestern 69.5, Indiana 66.5, Purdue 50, and Michigan State 45.5
Vallimont is showing the elusive speed he gained from being at the 157-pound class, as he is circling around Sponseller but didn't get a takedown.
4-2 at the end of the first.
Sponseller chooses down to start the period, and he escapes about 25 seconsd into the period. They are scramblign at the edge of the mat, but neither can get a hold, and play stops. Now Sponseller is in on a leg on the front corner of the mat, but Vallimont is showing he has come to wrestle, and gets a takedown once again. 6-3 for Vallimont. Buckeyes head coach Tom Ryan is trying to shout to Sponseller to start circling around Vallimont, but Colt can't hear him from behind the officials table. 6-4 Vallimont after the escape, and he's avoided shots here.
6-4 at the end of two periods.
Vallimont has bottom to start, and escapes to start, building his advantage to three. Vallimont has stopped being offensive in the third period, and Sponseller is close to getting a takedown here, but a stalemate is called. They will start neutral here with 1:06 left. Vallimont has control of Colt's ankle, but the referees aren't calling a takedown. Vallimont looks real tired, but is effectively fighting off Sponseller's shots. With seven seconds left, he'll take third place at 165 pounds for Penn State. He'll earn a real nice applause from the crowd as his hand is raised in the middle.
Welcome back, we were busy interviewing Bubba and Metcalf for the past couple of minutes, and we're back now at the 165-pound weight class. Center stage is Hawkeye Ryan Morningstar and freshman Andrew Howe of Wisconsin. But on the mat to the right, Dan Vallimont will be wrestling for third place against Colt Sponseller of Ohio State.
This a real impressive showing in thus tournament thus far for Vallimont, coming from a different weight class and now can get a medal at the Big ten tournament. Vallimont has shot for Sponseller's leg, got it, but couldn't finish, but then while they were scrambling, Vallimont was able to get in position for a takedown. 2-0 PSU's Vallimont. An escape quickly though, and the match is now 2-1 with 2:00 to go. Vallimont has another leg on Sponseller, and gets the takedown. Match now 4-2. A reporter next to me says "I thought he was as good as anybody last year", talking about Vallimont, pretty high praise. Dan finished third at the 157-pound weight class.
The intenseness of Brent Metcalf never wavers, always on point, which is probably why he will go down as one of the most successful wrestlers in collegiate wrestling history if he continues his wrestling from this Big Ten title to the national title in a few weeks. We just talked to him, and he said how badly he wanted to win this match, but he's not content with simply winning this match.
Jenkins has been pinned by Metcalf, at about 4:52 into the bout. He was down, 9-1, and never really shot. It'll be interesting to see what he has to say about why he wasn't offensive, as he said he planned to be last night. Bubba looked like he was up for the match in his preparation leading up to getting on the mat, but then he didn't show much emotion when he was out there.
Meanwhile, Jaggers has gotten a takedown in the final minute of the third period against Tsirtsis to gain a 4-2 lead in his match. The Brands brothers and Zadick look nervous as their wrestler is in a tough situation. But Tsirtsis has now escaped, but not enough time remains. Jaggers gets the win, 4-3.
Hennessey back taking over. Pataky was bummed out about his loss, but he knows he still has NCAAs to redeem himself. J Jaggers almost had a takedown in the first period against Tsirtsis, but the Hawkeye fought him off. No score after one period. These are two of the most talented 141-pounders in the nation, and they will both surely factor in the national title race. Jaggers showed his elusiveness and almost escaped, but Tsirtsis was able to maintain his ride nicely.
Russell was involved in the epicly long match last night that preceded Bubba Jenkins' second match.
The 133-pound final is quite a match, Reece Humphrey and Franklin Gomez battled through three extra periods, but Gomez has just been declared the winner.
141 pounds is up next. The 125 pounders are being recognized right now, then the matches will begin. Jaggers will be wrestling Alex Tsirtis for third place, and Zach Tanelli and Kellen Russell will battle for the title
Strayer escapes to start the period, so the score is 6-3. Strayer will likely be defensive here in the third period, and I'm goign to predict he's going to get a stall point going against him. Hopefully he makesi t look like he's trying to wrestle. He now has a mini grasp of a single-leg, but loses it. Now Dennis has executed a real effective manuever, and has gotten Strayer on the ground. Score now 6-5, but with three back points now, the score is 8-6 in favor of Dennis. Strayer almost got his way around for a reversal, but cannot do it, and he will bow out in fourth place. He is really disappointed, as he remained stationary on the mat for a couple seconds before shaking Dennis' hand. I'm gonna go try and talk to him.
As the wrestlers were scrambling, Jake Strayer worked his way around Dennis very nicely, and gets a huge cheer from the crowd as he moves ahead 4-1, going into the start of the second period.
Dennis picks the bottom position to start, and Strayer will try and work up his ride time, which stands at 35 seconds with 1:42 left. But Dennis has now reversed Strayer and moved the match to 4-3, and will likely eliminate that riding time advantage. Strayer is back on his feet, but taken back down to the mat, but now gets the escape as the restlers move off the mat. Now as play resumes, Dennis is close to a takedown, but Strayer is trying to fight off the single-leg again. Dennis is dragging Strayer back into the center of the mat, but Strayer squeezes out nicely. Score till 5-3 going into the third and final period.
Jake Strayer has effectively gotten the first takedown of the match on No. 1 seed Daniel Dennis. He gives up an escape after 10 seconds of a ride, but he's still up 2-1. Strayer looks like he's coming out with vengance after his disappointing match against Gomez yesterday.
Dennis now has a hold of Strayer's leg, trying to work for a takedown, but Strayer is fighting him off nicely. They move off the mat neutral, a mini-win for Jake.
There will be a five-minute break in between weight classes, which sucks, but it gives us some good time for analyzation.
The 125-pound champion is Angel Escobedo from Indiana, who defeated Northwestern's Precin, 3-2.
The 133-pound weight class is about to get underway, and I'll be focusing on Strayer vs. Dennis.
Pataky was unable to do so, and he'll give up the escape. As the wrestlers move off hte mat, coach Brands of Iowa mouthed to Falck to go for the fall. Pataky has gotten his takedown, moving the score to 8-3. A stalemate called, and he'll start on top. He needs to get some near fall points or a pin, with 27 seconds remaining. 22 seconds left on a restart here, and Pataky tried to get a move in, but he gives up an easy takedown for Falck, who will have a major decision guaranteed.
Final score: 13-3.
Pataky has effectively escaped, and scores his first point in the second period. Score now 7-1 with 20 seconds left. Pataky shot for a leg, but Falck is really strong and goes under, combating the shot. He obviously knows what Pataky's strong points are.
Going into the third period, Pataky trails by six, and he'll start up on top, an interesting move, as he'll try and set up some sort of move for back points here.
To start the second period, Falck has a takedown on Pataky, moving the score to 7-0 in favor of Falck. Pataky has a tissue in his nose, apparently stopping a bloody nose he's got. After a restart, Pataky will start up in the bottom and try and escape Falck's hold. Falck has built up a 2:10 riding time advantage, and still counting.
Pataky shows some incredible strength, somehow getting out of the strangle-hold of Falck. The score is now 5-0 in favor of Falck instead of a pin fall. Pataky is still alive.
Now we're back, and we will begin the 125-pound battles here. Penn State's Brad Pataky is doing battle with Iowa's Charlie Falck. A quick injury timeout stops play.
Next to them, Angel Escobedo and Brandon Precin are doing battle for the Big Ten title at 125 pounds. Escobedo has recroded the first takedown of the bout.
Pataky has gone for a double-leg on falck but lost it, and now the wrestlers are handfighting. Falck was on pataky's elbows but they are now free. Falck has a Double-leg, now a full body carry, and has Pataky on his back, seconds away from a pin. The coaches are just silent, as Falck makes his way to a pin fall.
We'll take a little break here, as the Big Ten Network is getting ready to set up their telecast of the finals. The telecast will start up at 2, so we're assuming it will be about a 10 minute break. That gives me another chance to get another cup of coffee.
Robinson delievers the team scores, accurate as of 1:30, again in order of standing.
Iowa 124, Illinois 104.5, Wisconsin 83, PENN STATE 78.5, Michigan 77.5, Minnesota 77, Ohio State 75, Morthwestern 69.5, Indiana 60.5, Purdue 50, Michigan State 40.5.
Penn State has moved up one spot in the standings as we go into the finals
Recap of how Penn State has done so far today:
125 pounds: Brad Pataky defeated BJ Futrell of Illinois, leading him into the next round of the consolation, where he will face No. 2 seed Charlie Falck of Iowa. Falck defeated Pataky 8-3 at the PSU/Iowa dual.
133 pounds: Jake Strayer was winning 2-0, but found himself on his back, and was pinned by Jayson Ness of Minnesota at 2:59. Tough loss for Strayer. He'll be back for fifth place, but that'll be a hard task against No. 1 seed Daniel Dennis of Iowa.
141 pounds: Frank Molinaro looked strong at points in his match against Illinois' Ryan Prater, but Molinaro came up short, losing to Prater 12-3. Molinaro could have qualified for nationals with a victory, now it'll be up to an at-large bid to see if he goes to St. Louis
157 pounds: Tim Darling was pinned by Michigan State's Anthony Jones in the first period. Darling wrestled pretty sloppily, and was unable to impart his style on the Spartan. Darling too had a chance to qualify for nationals, which would have been an awesome story considering he only wrestled in the last month or so of the season. He will need an at-large bid to qualify, but that is not a likely possibility.
165 pounds: No. 6 seed Dan Vallimont was very solid in his first match of the afternoon, earning a 5-2 decision over No. 5 seed Luke Manuel of Purdue. He will now wrestle Buckeye Colt Sponseller, the No. 2 seed. Sponseller beat Vallimont back in Rec Hall a couple weeks ago. Vallimont has already ensured an NCAA bid, but will wrestle for third place against the sophomore Buckeye.
Heavyweight: Cameron Wade definitely had a chance to win, but he ended up dropping his match after he let up a couple takedowns when he was in a vulnerable position. Wade will have one more chance to qualify for NCAAs, but it will a difficult task, as he'll wrestle Nate Everhart of Indiana for fifth place.
Nazareth, Pa. native Tim Darling is now wrestling for seventh place at 157 pounds against Michigan State No. 7 seed Anthony Jones. About 25 seconds in, Jones has a takedown, followed by three near-fall points, moving the score to 5-0 early. He gets the escape with a little over a minute left in the first. With only 27 seconds left in the first, Darling has been put on his back and pinned by Jones. That's a crushing defeat for Darling, as a victory could have sent him to NCAAs in a very short regular season.
Some real nice, strong scrambling is going down on mat No. 3, but this has caused Molinaro to get a little twisted up and needs some injury time. Now going into the second period, Molinaro will start on top. He was in danger of losing the ride, and now he does, and gets a takedown on him, with the score 3-0. now. Prater will maintain the top position as play restarts. Prater now had Molinaro close to near fall points but Molinaro fights out of it. He'll continue to ride him out til the end of the second.
Molinaro is down 3-0 with 1:25 to go, after an injury time to Prater. Looks like the trainers are attending to his elbow.
Frank had a nice reversal to get his first points, but the score is now 8-2. Mark Perry is not happy at all, shaking his head in disgust. Molinaro gets a stall point here, with 24 seconds left in the third period. Frank trails 8-3. He needs to get a pin to win.
Final score, 12-3 Molinaro gets majored.
Redshirt freshman Frank Molinaro is now wrestling for seventh place at the 141-pound weight class, against No. 7 seed Ryan Prater of Illinois. Molinaro has gotten two real solid shots on Prater, but hasn't been able to finish them. They are now handfighting with 1:10 to go in the first period.
Heavyweight Cameron Wade is now wrestling on mat No. 2. He started off the match real aggressively, getting a takedown in the first six seconds, but then he left himself vulnerable to the reversal.
In the second period, Wise basically rode him out the entire period, now building up a 2:35 riding time advantage that will be impossible to overcome. He needs a takedown here. I'm wondering where the same speed and quickness he came out with is. He's definitely capable of getting a shot in. He just went for one, but now we're in the third period and he needs to make something happen.
Wade almost had a move working, but he now surrenders the takedown, as he let Wise get around him, moving the score to 5-2.
My eyes were definitely focused on the center mat here, where Bierschenk and Chad Beatty were going at it at the 197-pound weight class. Emotions were high, Beatty was down by one with 10 seconds to go and a restart, but in typical Iowa fashion, he found a way to win, despite appearing hurt, and got the takedown to ice the match. Coaches Tom Brands (we think, we had some help distinguishing the two with an Iowa reporter) and Zadick were going nuts, and Brands flexed his muscles in direction of the Penn State crowd as he walked by. It's real entertainment here at the BJC.
Wade ended up dropping his match, 6-2. He can still qualify for NCAAs with a victory in the pigtails, which will be coming up in a little bit.
Wade is now warming up to get ready and take on John Wise of Illinois for the second time this weekend, this time in the consolation bracket. Sunderland was just next to him, telling him something in his ear. It'll be interesting to see how Wade does against Wise -- yesterday, he recorded the first takedown, but was then pinned by Wise with seconds remaining in the match.
Sponseller has now rebounded nicely after the slow start, moving the score to 6-2 with 56 seconds remaining in the bout. His teammate, Rella, is down 2-0, however, on the mat to the left of him (left if you're looking at it from the press table that I'm at).
Perry of Indiana still leads Dergo, 5-3.
30 seconds now remain in Vallimont's match, and he looks ready to secure the victory, upby three points. Manuel doesn't look like he has a lot of gas in the tank, as Vallimont is easily resisting each shot he takes.
That'll do it, and Vallimont secures a real solid victory, 5-2 over Manuel.
Now on Mat No. 3, Trevor Perry of Indiana is going at it, on the same side of the gym he fell asleep and suffered the last-second takedown at the hands of Quentin Wright. He leads John Dergo of Illinois 5-2 in the first period.
Replacing Vallimont and Manuel on mat No. 2 is a real good match, Ohio State's Dave Rella and Iowa's Jay Borschel. As my partner Andrew Robinson just said, it's like the who's who of who got their butt kicked by Quentin Wright yesterday. For this of you who missed it, Borschel and Wright wrestled in one of the matches of the day, as Wright thrilled the BJC crowd to a 11-10 decision. I'd be real surprised if Rella can pull off a similar victory against Borschel -- Rella doesn't use the same sorta speed Wright showed.
The Lake Hopatong, NJ native selects the bottom position to start the period, and escapes 15 seconds in. The wrestlers were then scrambling next to the Penn State corner, and Vallimont was close to getting around for a takedown, and assistant coach Matt Dernlan really wanted it. Doesn't get i t, and they'll start up netural. Vallimont is working on Mauel's left leg here now with one minute left in the second period. Wrestlers will start up neutral here in the middle, with the score 5-1.
Lance Palmers' match with Ruschell is getting very interesting, score tied upat 3-3 until Palmer finally gets the takedown that the Buckeye crowd was going nuts for them to call. 23 seconds left in that one. Next to him is No. 2-seed Colt Sponseller, wrestling Illinois' talented 165-pounder Roger Smith-Bergsrud. Smith-Bergsrud leads 2-1.
Palmer gets his victory 7-4.
Vallimont has now lost his ride, but he still has a 38 second advantage, with 1:29 left in the third period, leading 5-2. They are now handifhting in the middle, and Vallimont looks like he's ready to go for another shot. He's met by a headlock by Manuel, but they will go to the center of the match.
Dan Vallimont will be on the mat for the first time today, taking on No. 5 seed Luke Manuel of Purdue. He has converted on two single-leg takedowns already in the first period, and leads Manuel 4-1, currently riding him out into the second period.
Good mornin' everybody, Steve Hennessey here taking over for Robinson as we are getting into today's matches at the BJC. On the mat now is Lance Palmer, who was supposed to present Bubba J the biggest challenge before the Metcalf/Bubba battle. He is wrestling Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin.
Also going at it are No. 6 seed Aaron Hynes of Michigan and No. 4 seedTyler Safratowich of Minnesota. Safratowich is leading Hynes 5-2.
I caught the end of Alex Tsirtsis and Mike Thorn's match, which went into tiebrakes, with Thorn losing to the Iowa grappler.
Penn State has a lull right now. J Jaggers won his first match of the day against Keith Sulzer, and right now on mat 3, the Brands brothers are back.
Jake Strayer has replaced Pataky on the center mat, wrestling fourth seed Jason Ness in the 133 weight class. Strayer is being looked at by the trainers, seems he had a small cut over his eye. No score halfway through the first round for Strayer. Strayer earns the first points of the match with a takedown and leads 2. Ness looked down, but he turned it around on Strayer and pinned the Penn State wrestler before the first round expired. That's tough Strayer was in control for all of the round until that move by Ness
We are back once again at Big Tens, action is underway and Penn State's Brad Pataky is in the center ring. He leads his opponent, BJ Futrell of Illinois 2-0 in the first round.
The set-up is a little different today, with only three rings. The middle ring is mat 1, the ring on our left is 2 and 3 is to our right, a little bit odd, but meant for the championship rounds.
Pataky has taken a 6-2 advantage in the second as Mark Perry keeps yelling instructions.
Pataky begins the third round from the down position and earns an escape to push his lead out to 7-2. Futrell takes down Pataky but the sophomore makes his escape again and comes through with an 8-2 decision.
This was a crazy atmosphere here tonight to end this second session, and we are glad we were here to cover it all. Hopefully we'll be able to convey this atmosphere in our articles, since that's the goal of journalism -- get your audience to feel like they were here. Anyways, Penn State stands in fifth place after the long day today, and notably Ohio State is in ninth place.
Set your clocks back tonight, and come back tomorrow at 12 p.m. and check out some awesome wrestling.
For Andrew Robinson, this is Stephen Hennessey signing out.
Eight seconds in, Quentin Wright has himself in an a double-leg takedown of Jay Borschel, sending the crowd into a frenzy already. Wright hasn't been afraid to make the crowd happy today. Wright now moves Borschel off the mat, and Iowa coaches behind me are talking, complaining about a stall call they think should have been called. Borschel has escaped moving the score to 2-1.
Another double-leg takedown for Wright here on the left side of the mat, shutting up the Iowa dude behind me, and moving the score to 4-1. I think this guy behind me is talking to me now, and I'm getting pretty frustrated. Wright just shot for another double-leg, looks like that is the scouting report on getting Borschel down. The guy is now saying Quentin doesn't have the gas tank to keep up with Borschel, so it will be interesting to see. Borwschel has escaped, however, moving the score to 4-2, in favor of Wright. 30 seconds now remain. At the end of the first period, it is Quentin Wright 4-2 over Borschel.
Borschel picks the bottom position, and he escapes quickly, moving the score to 4-3. They are handfighting now, and it looks like Borschel is ready to make a shot. These Iowa wrestlers have a never-ending gas tank.
ANotehr takedown for Wright on a single-leg, moving the score to 6-4 after the escape. Borschel now has a takedown, with a 6-6 score now pending. Borschel is riding him out, score 6-6.
Wright is now on bottom, and Borschel continues to ride him out.
Words can't describe what's going on ewith Quentin Wright, I encourage you to read my article tonight.
Steve back here taking over for Andrew Robinson, who has done an awesome job with his coverage of wrestling, even as basically a wrestling newbie, he's caught on very quickly.
Bubba secured a rematch with Metcalf tomorrow, as he squeaked by with a 2-1 decision over Northwestern's Andrew Nadhir.
Vallimont has put together a nice run and will wrestle on into tomorrow, as he defeated Indiana's No. 7 seed Paul Young.
Strayer and Pataky both lost, but Quentin Wright's match with Iowa's Jay Borschel is coming up after the conclusion of Ryan Morningstar and Colt Sponseller's match on mat No. 3.
Metcalf won his match in a major decision by a count of 16-4, J Jaggers, who Steve featured in an article this afternoon, has lost to Zach Tanelli by a 3-1 decision.
Attendance has just been announced at 4,093 for the second session.
Updated team scores before Jenkins and Vallimont's victories, in order of standing: Iowa 89, Illinois 74.5, Wisconsin 62, Minnesota 61, Michigan 59, Northwestern 55.5, Ohio State 54.5, Penn State 50, Indiana 47.5, Michigan State 36.5, Purdue 36.5
Dan Vallimont replaces Darling on mat 1. Vallimont is competing against Paul Young of Indiana.
Still no score for Jenkins as his match resets at 1:21 left in the second.
Vallimont and Young are grappling in their match, while his opponent, Andre Nadhir has escaped and takes a 1-0 lead.
The second round ends for Jenkins as he trails 1-0 still, he needs a win to secure an automatic bid to nationals.
Vallimont has taken down Young, he leads 2-0 as the clock marks the end of the first period.
Jenkins has made an escape and tied the count 1-1 in the third. Bubba escapes just before the match ends and secures a national bid and a match with Metcalf in a 2-1 victory.
Vallimont leads 7-0, I saw one takedown, but having Bubba right in front of me, my attention has been a little diverted as his match was ending.
Young is on the board with an escape, Vallimont still holds the lead at 7-1. Just 30 seconds left now for Vallimont.
Clock runs out on mat 1 and Vallimont has won 7-1.
is holding at 2-1 as he and Salazar are sizing each other up. Neother wrestler seems overly aggressive. Bubba Jenkins is pacing up and down in front of us, he looks very ready for his match.
The first round ends for Darling, who still trails 2-1. Darling has lost his headgear as the wrestlers reset.
Bubba Jenkins' match will finally begin after what seemed like an eternity.
Salazar has taken down Darling again and leads 4-1 with :26 left in the second. Darling is able to escape and gets to 4-2.
No score yet on Jenkins match as the fans try to start up another "we are" cheer, again with very few takers.
Darling with another escape, he now trails 4-3 with :40 left in the final period.
Mark Perry looks away in disgust as Darling is taken down and Salazar pushes his lead out to 6-3.
Jenkins is being attended to as Salazar wins against Darling 6-4.
is up 4-1 beginning the second round. We're still waiting on Jenkins as this match between Alex Tsirtsis and Kellen Russell is in a second overtime, and has just been tied at 4-4.
In Brent Metcalf news, he is up 9-3.
Tim Darling is wrestling down on mat 1 against Colton Salazar. Darling is down 2-1 in the first round
Brent Metcalf is competing on mat 2 and is up 2-1 in the first round, if he and Jenkins both win, they will meet for the first time this season in tomorrow's finals.
Molinaro exited right next to where I'm sitting and the coaches told him to watch the match on mat 1 between Ryan Prater from Illinois and Keith Sulzer from Northwestern. Molinaro will wrestle the loser of that bout. Bubba Jenkins will be the next Penn State wrestler to compete. His match will be on mat 3 as soon as the current bout there ends
Molinaro gets a takedown and ties the count at 4-4. Thorn escapes, but Molinaro added a good amount to his riding time advantage, but Thorn takes him down again. The match ends in a loss for Molinaro, 7-4
Molinaro still trails 2-0 in the second round. Thorn is awarded a takedown, and now leads 4-0. Molinaro escapes just as the round ends to draw the score to 4-1. Molinaro is given another escape at the start of the third to draw to 4-2, but is shaken up as the match goes out of the circle. He seems to be okay and the match is back underway.
On mat 3, Jake Strayer has started his match with Michigan State's Franklin Gomez. Gomez is the second seed in the 133 pound weight class. Strayer has an early 2-0 lead and has a riding time advantage of 25 seconds. Gomez with an escape, closing the gap to 2-1. Strayer will start down to begin the second round. Gomez was last year's Big Ten champion at 133.
Frank Molinaro has just started on mat 4 against Michael Thorn.
Strayer has given up two escapes, and Gomez now leads 3-2 with 50 seconds in the second. Strayer actually had three and Gomez had 2, I mis-read the score. The score is now 4-4 as Gomez scored a takedown and Strayer was able to get free.
Molinaro trails 2-0 in the first round.
Gomez has taken down Strayer again, 6-4 in his favor. Strayer again escapes and now only trails 6-5. Gomez and Strayer are handfighting and have began to grapple as Gomez pulls Strayer down, taking an 8-5 advantage. Gomez wins the match with a final score of 9-5.
Pataky's match is under way as some fans try to start a "we are" chant with little success.
Precin is on the board first with a takedown, but Pataky escapes with one minute left in the first round. Pataky with a nice move to take down Precin and grab a 3-2 advantage as the clock winds down to end the first round. Pataky will start down to begin the second round. The two 125-pounders have spent most of the second round grappling on the mat and Pataky is able to force an off the mat reset. The second round concludes with Pataky maintaining a 3-2 lead. Just as the final round begins, Precin forces an escape and ties the score. Precin then converts a takedown and recaptures the lead, 5-3. Precin wins by a fall at 6:12, Pataky battled well the whole match but came undone in the third period
for the two matches: Steadman drops it 12-4 to Gordon, and Decker loses 2-0 in the third overtime period.
Now on mat No. 2 is Cameron Wade, going up against No. 6-seed Corey Morrison of Ohio State. Morrison has a takedown here about 1:10 into the match, and gives up the escape to Wade, moving the score to 2-1 with 1:25 to go and the wrestlers starting back up neutrally. The crowd lets out a nice applause for Wade, who has just executed a takedown on the far corner of the mat against Morrison. Score 3-2. Play starts up with Wade on top with 58 seconds to go, Wade now has Morrison on his back, and the ref started the count. Wade gets his back points, and the score is 6-2 Wade over Morrison going into the second period.
Brad Pataky is up next for Penn State, he will be wrestling number 1 seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern on mat 2.
Wade is wrestling very nicely and it's good to see him do well, as the coaches have said he has the talent all season long. With 55 seconds left in the second period, Wade and Morrison are handfighting. Morrison shot for Wade, but Wade showed some nice elusiveness for a big man, getting around Morrison for his own takedown. Score is now 8-2 Wade going into the third period. Now Wade can think about getting a major decision possibly, with 1:38 riding time advantage.
He'll start on top, and just found himself on his back as he was reversed by Morrison. The score is now 11-4 after some escapes and what not. A stall point here awarded to Morrison. With an escape, the score is 12-6. He can get a major with one more takedown on Morrison.
Wade gets the win, 12-6 for Penn State.
We've got two Penn Staters right in front of us on the mat right now, Jack Decker on Mat No. 2 against Minnesota's Sonny Yohn. Decker defeated Yohn at the National Duals back in January, with a 4-1 decision, and he walked away with a thrilling 6-4 victory in overtime against Yohn at dual meet in Rec Hall back in February. I was there for that match and it was pretty exciting. Decker and Yohn are scoreless, and remain so going into the second period.
Also on the mat is Clay Steadman on Mat No. 4, as he goes against Minnesota's No. 4-seed Gordon Bierschenk. Gordon is a really solid wrestler .
I'm gonna try and keep an eye on both matches here, so I apologize if this seems a little scatter-brained. I see that Decker took bottom to start the second period, and he is trying to escape against Yohn.
Steadman battled Gordon nicely for awhile, but he gives up a takedown and the match is now 2-0.
Decker is now lying on the far mat with his face now, and the training staff and coaches are attending to him. He appears to be okay, and play starts back up, with Decker still on bottom and trying to escape with 15 seconds left. If Yohn carries a ride throughout the period, that's be impressive. Looks like he'll do as much, owning a 2:00 riding time advantage. Now it's Decker's turn to ride Yohn out in the third period.
Meanwhile, Steadman has averted any further damage and escaped, moving into the second period down 2-1 to Gordon. He will begin the period on top, trying to even up some of the riding time that Gordon had built up. Notice I am saying Gordon instead of typing out his last name. However, he has given up back points and a reversal, moving the score to 7-1 going into the third period. Steadman now gives up two more points and the match is 9-1.
In Decker's match, he is riding out Yohn in the third period, and can't give up an escape or else he'd lose. He successfully accomplishes this, and the match will go into a sudden victory period for the second time between these guys. Decker is VERYYYY close for a takedown to win, and the crowd sensed it, chanting 2, but he won't get it, and is we will go into a second sudden victory bout.
Decker will start off in the bottom position with 30 seconds on the clock. Yohn had Decker on his back, in danger of giving up a fall. But Yohn will settle for two back points, and we will go into the third sudden victory period, and Decker is on top, needing to pull off some back points of his own. Decker needs to turn his opponent, but cannot, and will lose 2-0 in a valiant performance for the senior in what will be his last match ever.
Former Penn State wrestler Dave Rella is wrestling in his consolation match on the far mat against Purdue's Nicholas Corpe. Rella is down 1-0 after ans escape in the second period in a pretty boring match that we would expect from Rella. Not saying he's boring, that's just his style of wrestling. Now a point has been awarded to Rella, moving the score to 1-1.
Rella is now injured on the far side of the mat, and is being attended to by his coaches. Play has resumed though, with 1:17 to go, as he's battling Corpe. Rella most likely needs this victory if he wants to get into the national tournament -- an 0-2 performance wouldn't really impress too many committee members I wouldn't think.
27 seconds left, and the wrestlers are handfighting. Nothing going on, and we'll move into overtime. Rella successfully records a takedown soon after, and gets his victory in sudden victory over Corpe, 3-1.
Team score update (including Darling and Molinaro's victories) in order of place: Iowa - 81, Illinois - 61, Wisconsin - 51, Penn State - 46, Northwestern - 39.5, , Ohio State - 40.5, Indiana - 40.5, Michigan - 33.5, Minnesota - 33.5, Michigan State - 26, Purdue - 20
In the third period, Darling continues to ride out his opponent, and leads 5-2 still with a 4:21 riding time advantage. He now gives up the escape to Jordan, and the score is 5-3, but with the riding time advantage, he can even give up a takedown and still have the victory, as long as he doesn't get a stall point too.
The crowd gives out a collective applause in appreciation of Darling's performance, as he earns the victory, 6-3. Penn State is now 2-0 in the second session, with wins from freshmen Molinaro and Darling.
The new game now on the press table is trying to identify Iowa's head coach Tom Brands, in an attempt to separate him from his twin brother, and assistant coach. Tom and Terry are both in Matt Ballweg's corner, and we're trying to figure out who's who.
Now back to seriousness, Penn State's 157-pounder Tim Darling is battling against Wisconsin's Ben Jordan on the far mat, Mat No. 2. They are scrambling on the back corner, and Darling has a nice move for a takedown, getting a nice applause from the crowd. He is currently putting out a nice ride on Jordan, building his riding time advantage up over two minutes. Darling has Jordan down, talking to the ref, encouraging a stall call. In the meantime, he had two back points on Jordan, but they took it away.
Darling starts off the second period in the bottom position, and executes a nice reversal to move the score to 4-0 with 1:22 left in the 2nd. Darling is building on his riding time advantage, currently at 2:33 with one minute remaining. He now gives up a reversal, however, while also losing his headset. Score now 5-2 after an escape and 10 seconds left. They're handfighting now and play will move into the third period with Darling owning a 5-2 score over Jordan.
Jayson Thorn of Minnesota, who lost to J Jaggers in the quarterfinals, is wrestling Purdue's Juan Archuleta. Thorn would like to win at least one more match to ensure an automatic bid at the strong 141-pound weight class.
Additionally, Lance Palmer is wrestling back on the first mat, trying to avenge his loss to Andrew Nadhir.
Now, 141-pounder Frank Molinaro is wrestling in his consolation match, facing No.8-seed Andrae Hernandez of Indiana. This is the first matchup between to the two grapplers.
30 seconds in, Molinaro has a nice move for a takedown, moving the score to 2-0. He has been riding him since then, ensuring a 1:24 riding time advantage. Play is stopped for a potentially-dangerous situation, and Molinaro resumes his reign on top. Molinaro has had a long time to think about this match, as he watched from the stands of the BJC. Molinaro has now been awarded two near fall points for a nice move that had Hernandez on his back. With 25 seconds left, Molinaro has hold of Hernandez's head, but a stall point is awarded to Hernandez. Not often do you see a stall point awarded in the first period.
Nonetheless, he is winning 4-1 going into the first period.
Molinaro starts the period in the down position, and escapes within 25 seconds. The match moves into the third period with the score 5-1. Hernandez chooses neutral to start up, and Frank was in on a leg, but the refs call a stalemate with 1:35 left. Hernandez is now doing work on Molinaro, almost having him on his back, and Hernandez has a takedown for himself, he cuts Frank loose to try and make up for some time. Frank gets a nice cheer from the crowd as they start up neutral in the middle.
Molinaro is in on a single-leg, and has secured his victory on mat No. 3.
We are back at the Bryce Jordan Center, welcomed back by a tasty dinner selection featured by some mini Swedish meatballs and apple cobbler. Quite good.
Action is underway in the consolation bracket, with the 125-pounders going at it right now. Zach Sanders and Nikko Triggas is probably the most intriguing matchup, but both wrestlers will likely get at-large berths if they lose here. Sanders defeats Triggas 10-2, sending the Ohio State wrestler needing an at-large to qualify for nationals.
What a tough loss for Penn State. For the second game in a row, they looked finished with a few minutes left in the game but ended up making a big comeback. But in the second overtime, Penn State went cold from the field and that was that. Jake Kelly played a terrific all-around game, and Penn State had too many defensive mix-ups allowing too many easy buckets down low.
Field goals: PSU 38.5%, Iowa 46.6%
3-pointers: PSU 25%, Iowa 33.3%
Free throws: PSU 10-12, Iowa 11-17
Rebounds: PSU 25 (7 off.), Iowa 39 (10 off.)
Turnovers: PSU 9, Iowa 11
Jake Kelley - 22 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds
Cyrus Tate - 15 points, 10 rebounds
Jarryd Cole - 14 points, 11 rebounds
Matt Gatens - 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Talor Battle - 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists
Stanley Pringle - 15 points, 6 assists
Jamelle Cornley - 10 points, just 1 rebound
So that'll do it from here in my living room. Gone are Penn State's hopes at a No. 2 seed. We won't know the seed until tomorrow night.
Thanks for following along, this is Matt Brown signing off.
Iowa 75, Penn State 67 -- Double Overtime
Eddie George: both "candid" and "real." Wow! Sounds riveting.
Jake Kelly with the ugliest 3-pointer in the history of basketball. Off the backboard, off the rim and in. That was much worse than Pringle's straight-away 3 Thursday night. Talk about luck. Iowa up 71-67 with 50 seconds.
Cornley misses a 3, Battle grabs his 10th rebound, but his pass to Jones is stolen. Penn State's in big trouble now as Gatens heads to the line with 26.5 seconds to play. Not the best person to foul, as he sinks both and the lead is 6.
Morrissey misses a 3, and that's probably it. Battle fouls out and Cole will go to the line.
"Winningest play of the game" is Kelly's 3... one of the worst makes I've ever seen.
Cole hits both free throws and the lead is 8. What a shame for Penn State after that comeback at the end of regulation.
FINAL SCORE - DOUBLE OVERTIME
Iowa 75, Penn State 67
All right, Penn State in control of the ball to start our second overtime. Jones is blocked from behind but the ball is out off of Iowa. 3 seconds on the shot clock, Battle buries a 3... although we didn't see that thanks to the Big Ten Network's convenient camera work.
3 points for Bawinkel to tie the game.
That was Battle's 1st made 3-pointer. He now has 26 points but is 1-for-8 from 3. Great job by DJ Jackson to grab an offensive board on a Pringle miss. Battle blocked by Kelly and Iowa can retake the lead. They walk instead.
Pringle's 3-point attempt is off the front of the iron, Iowa ball with under 2 minutes. Pringle gets matched up with Cole for some reason, Pringle fouls him and Cole goes to the line. But that's not a bad thing as he's horrible at the line. Misses the first, makes the 2nd... 68-67 Iowa.
Battle drives and has it stripped away by Kelly, who is just playing a terrific all-around game.
1:17 second overtime
Iowa 68, Penn State 67
With 31 seconds to work with, Jake Kelly dribbles around for a while, Penn State plays good defense, and Kelly launches a 3 with a defender in his face. It's way off, and we head to a second overtime.
END OF 1ST OVERTIME
PENN STATE 54, IOWA 54
I feel like I need a breather trying to live blog the finish to this game. A good, but rather boring game most of the way turns into a shootout in the final minutes/overtime.
Morrissey misses a 3, grabs the rebound and Battle misses a 3. Two huge misses for Penn State as Iowa sets up with under a minute to play.
Iowa air balls a 3, and PSU has control again. Morrissey drives and creates for Cornley on the outside, who hits a 3... what? That's not how it usually happens. Tie game, 31 seconds left.
Penn State 54, Iowa 54
OK, we're in overtime now. The key stat may be Talor Battle's four fouls with another five minutes to play now.
Battle misses a 3 to start overtime and the ball is deflected off of Jones out of bounds. Kelly misses an open 3 and PSU grabs the board as we head under 4 minutes. Pringle misses a 3 and the ball goes over the backboard off the bounce. Iowa ball.
Kelly pulls up from 3 and buries it. What a shot. 59-56 Iowa. Jones gets an open bucket down low to cut the lead to 1.
Tate heading to the line for 2 shots, he misses both. 3 points Danny Morrissey and Penn State is back in front 61-59. Morrissey's first bucket of the afternoon.
Gatens misses a learner but the loose ball goes off Penn State. And Kelly hits a 3 to put Iowa back on top by 1.
2 free throws for Gatens puts Iowa up 64-61. Timeout.
Iowa 64, Penn State 61
I just can't describe what is happening right now. Steal Penn State, Pringle gets a fast break, lays it in AND ONE. Pringle makes the free throw and somehow PENN STATE HAS TAKEN A 2-POINT LEAD. I can't explain this.
Tie ballgame as Kelly picks up his 10th assist by feeding Cole for 2. With 10 seconds left, PSU takes control but Battle fired up a 3 with 3 seconds left to go. They had time but it didn't look like they tried too hard there. I don't understand that at all.
Anyway, we're heading to overtime. Just a crazy last few minutes in Iowa City.
END OF REGULATION
Penn State 56, Iowa 56
Battle nearly fouls out but the officials correctly called a blocking foul. Battle buries 2 free throws, 54-53 Iowa. Timeout Iowa as Penn State's press is effective.
1:02 second half
Iowa 54, Penn State 53
Battle hits the first at the line but misses the second. Looks like PSU should've grabbed the rebound, but Iowa somehow ended up with it. 7-point Iowa lead.
Foul on Battle down low puts Penn State over the limit. 1-and-1 for Cole... he misses the front-end but PSU's rebounding troubles continue. Three players had a shot at it but fought each other for it and the ball went out-of-bounds to Iowa.
Where is the help defense? Just terrible team defense as Gatens drives past everyone and scores.
Pringle turns it over, DeChellis calls a timeout, and Penn State is in big, big trouble.
Battle with a leaner to cut the lead to 7, steal by Pringle, Battle with a circus shot that falls, and 1. What? This team never quits, that is for sure. Battle completes the 3-point play and it's 51-47 Iowa. Foul on Jackson sends Kelly to the line with 1:40 left.
Kelly shooting 1-and-1, hits the first and the second. That's huge as the lead is now 6.
Gatens picks up Iowa's seventh team foul and Battle will shoot 1-and-1 with 1:25 left. Nothing but net on the first, and the second also falls. Battle with a steal and lay-up, 2 point game. Wow. Just wow.
Jones with a smart foul to send Cole to the line instead of getting a 2-point bucket. The first is a complete brick and the second falls.
1:11 second half
Iowa 54, Penn State 51
Pringle back in the game for PSU, and he needs to stay in. He's been the top offensive player for the Lions for the second straight game.
A huge two-handed slam for Jeff Brooks as Pringle fed him near the basket.
Woodyard gets beat down low, Tate scores. Just unbelievable how many looks Iowa is getting with a foot of the basket.
Cornley just took an elbow in the mouth and fell, and Cole gets a bucket from a foot away. Cornley stays in the game.
Beautiful drive by Battle down the baseline ends with him missed horribly on the lay-in attempt. Then he picks up a ticky-tack foul.
Battle will be on the free-throw line after a timeout.
3:31 second half
Iowa 49, Penn State 41
Cornley tosses up a brick in the lane. Penn State needs to get Stanley Pringle back on the floor. I assume that will happen after this media timeout.
6:29 second half
Iowa 45, Penn State 39
Talor Battle heading to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game. Battle knocks down both to tie the game at 39.
Another defensive breakdown for Penn State as Tate gets a look down low and scores. Jake Kelly with 7 assists now.
Kelly steps through the PSU defense with ease and scores to extend the lead to 4. Fatigue may be coming into play here.
Again, Cole scores down low. Perhaps PSU should adjust on defense? Yeah, that would be smart.
7:12 second half
Iowa 45, Penn State 39
Terrific ball movement around the perimeter for Penn State but Pringle was short on his 3-point attempt. Gatens misses a wide-open shot for Iowa. And we have another timeout.
9:35 second half
Iowa 39, Penn State 37
Two points for Pringle as he drives and scores to re-take the lead for the Lions.
Iowa's dominance of the offensive glass is embarrassing for PSU right now. Another second chance allows the Hawkeyes to tie the game. That's 10 now I believe.
Pringle heating up, he hits a 3, and Morrissey grabs a rebound for PSU. Pringle launches a long 3 but misses and Drew Jones picks up a pointless foul on the rebound. Cyrus Tate trims the led to 35-34 with a basket down low.
Another basket down low for Iowa, as this Jarryd Cole found the basket. Iowa's doing a terrific job of getting size mismatches in the paint. Battle answers with a leaner in the key. 37-36 Lions.
Bawinkel spots up from beyond the arc and gives Iowa the lead. Ed DeChellis calls a timeout.
10:44 second half
Iowa 39, Penn State 37
28-25 now after a Cyrus Tate free throw and a Stanley Pringle bucket.
PSU comes up with a steal, Pringle feeds Battle and Battle finishes in a whole mess of traffic... plus a foul. The free throw is no good though 30-25.
3 points of Jake Kelly from the wing cuts the lead to 2. That's a huge shot for Iowa as they've been lost on offense this half.
And the Lions turn it over, Bawinkel misses a 3 but Morrissey failed to go for the rebound and Bawinkel grabbed it. Tate scores down low to tie it.
15:01 second half
Penn State 30, Iowa 30
This announcing team has been pretty solid so far. I don't recall them doing a Penn State game this year, although I could be wrong.
Penn State takes the lead to start the half with a Drew Jones bucket down low. Todd Lickliter already upset, as he uses a timeout.
19:29 second half
Penn State 26, Iowa 24
On the bubble right now:
Texas A&M obliterating Missouri 48-27 near halftime
Rhode Island trailing UMass 41-35 near halftime
Florida 29, Kentucky 20 at the half (sounds like a Big Ten game, doesn't it?)
South Carolina 27, Georgia 23 at halftime (where's the SEC speed?)
Another riveting Big Ten first half, as Iowa held the ball for the length of the shot clock nearly every possession and also grabbed eight offensive rebounds. That's why both teams are on pace for under 50 points, along with some bad 3-point shooting.
Penn State's legs at least appeared to have woken up toward the end of the half, and at this point, I'm going to predict about a six-point win for Penn State.
Brilliant quote of the year on the BTN's halftime show:
"Iowa needs to score more points than Penn State to win." - Tim Doyle.
Thanks, Tim. You've completely changed my perspective on basketball. That's just mind-blowing analysis.
PENN STATE 24, IOWA 24 at the half
DJ Jackson gets called for, well, I don't know what as he leaned in and shot. Just the fifth foul in this game.
Half the Big Ten has the same offense: stand around for 32 seconds, then shoot. Illinois effectively ran this Thursday and kept hitting shots at the buzzer, but Iowa misses here.
Two points for Pringle, Davis misses a 3, and Cornley knocks down a 2 to tie the game.
Iowa misses a 3 and DJ Jackson nearly comes up with an 80-foot prayer as his heave hit the rim.
Penn State 24, Iowa 24
Jake Kelly finds an open spot and hits a leaning jumper for 2.
Pringle drives and misses and Iowa takes control again. Penn State just isn't getting many good offensive looks and clearly appears tired out tehere.
Morrissey bricks a 3 off the back of the iron, and Cyrus Tate scores over Jones down low. Cammeron Woodyard makes his first appearance in a week and hits a 3. Huge shot for Penn State. 21-15 Hawkeyes.
Battle drives and kicks out to Cornley for a wide-open 3, which falls and cut the lead in half. Matt Gatens answers from 3 and doubles the lead. What a play by Battle as he misses a 3, follows it and scores inside.
2:55 first half
Iowa 24, Penn State 20
A 3-pointer for Bawinkel as Iowa embarasses Penn State on the offensive glass.
Battle drives on Bawinkel, scores and draws a foul. He finishes the 3-point play and it's 17-12 Iowa.
Another Iowa offensive rebound off a missed 3... and another off a Gatens miss. Tired legs or not, this is inexcusable. You just can't give a team so many second and third chances.
7:41 first half
Iowa 17, Penn State 12
BTN graphic shows Iowa has won the last 6 against Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye. But Penn State hasn't exactly paid much attention to historical numbers this season.
Cornley with another turnover and Cyrus Tate scores for the Hawkeyes. Cornley answers with a nice turnaround jumper.
Cyrus Tate with a tip-in off of one of his missed shots, and after a Battle miss, PSU leaves Jermain Davis wide open from 3. Drew Jones grabs and offensive board and scores to make it 11-7 Iowa.
Drew Jones looking good so far, as Morrissey misses a jumper but Jones out-muscled Tate for the rebound and slammed it home.
A wide-open Matt Gatens drills a 3. To pull a John Madden and state the obvious, Penn State should stop leaving people open.
10:32 first half
Iowa 14, Penn State 9
A backcourt violation to kick off the game for the Nittany Lions. Great way to start.
Man-to-man defense for Iowa to start the game, and Jackson and Cornley both miss shots. Jake Kelly gets Iowa on the scoreboard in the paint, 2-0 Hawkeyes.
Where is the help defense for Penn State? Jake Kelly just walked through the entire team and scored easily. But Pringle picks up right where he left off Thursday and buries a 3.
Drew Jones just got tackled but apparently that's not a foul in basketball. To be clear though, Ed Hightower is NOT present at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
15:05 first half
Iowa 4, Penn State 3
Pitt just finished taking care of UConn, looks like we'll have a new No. 1 yet again. Perhaps UNC if they beat Duke tomorrow.
And Michigan takes down Minnesota 67-64 at the Barn.
Jamelle Cornley will play in the game, and it'll certainly be interesting to see how effective he is.
Big Ten Network pregame show: Gene Keady picks Kalin Lucas for player of the year, Tim Doyle picks Evan Turner.
Doyle on Penn State: "If they win this game, they are absolutely 100% in the tournament."
PERKASIE, Pa. -- We usually don't do live blogs for the road games (at least when we're not actually in attendance), but with the importance of today's game, Matt Brown here to take you through today's action as Penn State (21-9, 10-7 Big Ten) visits Iowa (14-16, 4-13) in the regular season finale for both.
It's spring break, and in a few days we'll head out to Indianapolis for the Big Ten tournament. But right now, I'm writing to you from the comfort of my living room back home in Perkasie.
ESPN's Bob Knight and Jay Bilas both supported Penn State for the NCAA tournament during College Gameday this morning, and every updated bracket I've looked at has the Lions in. But a loss today could put them right back on the border between NCAAs and NIT. Also at stake is Big Ten tournament seeding. A win combined with a Purdue loss at Michigan State tomorrow would put Penn State as the No. 2 seed, while a win and a Purdue win would put Penn State at No. 3. With a loss things get confusing, but we'll wait to go there until some other games are played.
The big question heading into the game is the status of Jamelle Cornley, who aggravated a shoulder injury in Thursday's win against Illinois. If Cornley goes, the starting lineup will likely be Talor Battle, Stanley Pringle, DJ Jackson, Cornley and Andrew Jones. If Cornley is sidelined, my guess would be Jeff Brooks returns to the starting five.
15 minutes until game time, and for now, I'm watching Michigan and Minnesota and Connecticut and Pitt battle down to the wire. Stay tuned.
Correction of the team scores: Penn State is fourth after all the scores were tabulated. I think we updated the team rankings before the heavyweight matches were submitted.
Iowa leads with 81 points, Illinois is second with 53.5 points and Wisconsin is third with 47.
Action will begin with wrestle-backs at 6 p.m. tonight at the Bryce Jordan Center, with the semifinal matchups following.
The first session is about to be over, with just one match still going on. The second session will begin at 6 this evening, and fans are clearing out of the BJC. final team totals after one session: Iowa 66, Illinois 38.5, Penn State 38, Ohio State 37, Northwestern 36, Wisconsin 32, Indiana 27, Michigan 23, Michigan State 18.5, Purdue 15, and Minnesota with 12. Make sure to get some food and check us out for second session coverage at 6 o'clock
We just spoke with Quentin Wright as he was making his way out. Team scores have just been updated. Penn State has moved ahead of Wisconsin, the Lions now have 38 points, Wisconsin still has 32. Iowa is still in the lead, but the banner changed before I could verify their score.
We've just been told that Vallimont has qualified for nationals. Despite losing last round, the worst he can finish in the consolation brackets is eighth, and the top 8 finishers qualify.
Perry with a great move to slip out of Wright's grasp and perform a takedown. Perry leads 4-2, but Wright has just escaped 4-3. The arena erupts as Wright manages to catch hold of Perry and take him down just before the clock expires What a brilliant move by the freshman to secure a 5-4 victory. The Penn State fans in attendance stood up and applauded as Wright walked off the mat.
Quentin Wright has started his second match against Trevor Perry of Indiana. They are wresting on mat 1, with no score and 1:26 left in the first round.
No score after the first round, and Perry will start under for the second. Right at the whistle he was able to flip Wright and put up two points with a takedown. Wright has escaped, the score is now 2-1.
The ribbon billboard around the BJC just flashed the team scores, Penn State is third with 28 points behind Wisconsin's 32 and Iowa's 43. Northwestern is just behind the Lions with 26.
Wright has just started the third period by escaping from Perry, score is now tied 2-2.
Vallimont and Morningstar got tangled up on the far side of the mat. The crowd got very loud as one of the refs lost track of time and continued to let the match go. Vallimont goes down, 3-2 to #3 seed Ryan Morningstar of Iowa
Vallimont just escaped to get within one. Score is 2-1 with 20 seconds in the first. If Vallimont wants to qualify for nationals, he will have to at least make the semi-finals at the 165 weight class. Vallimont just let up an escape, 3-1 in favor of his opponent, Ryan Morningstar of Iowa. After two rounds, its still 3-1 Morningstar. Big escape by Vallimont to start the third, bringing it to 3-2.
Walpole selects bottom to start the third, and Bubba cuts him loose, giving up the escape and moving the score to 4-2 with 1:20 left. Bubba has a 55 second riding time advantage, so he cannot surrender a takedown here, or else the match will be tied. Wrestlers move off the mat with 41 seconds left and Jenkins is fighting off Walpole's attempts. Doesn't look like Bubba is being offensive here, simply avoiding Walpole. And, as I say that, I'm proven wrong again, as he has a single-leg and converts on a takedown with 15 seconds left, then cutting Walpole loose, but securing a 7-3 victory at the 149-pound weight class.
The decision is deferred to Bubba, who selects bottom to start the period. After 19 seconds, he has a reversal for himself, earning two points here against Walpole. After cutting him loose, Bubba has the first takedown of the bout, moving the score to 4-1 with 32 seconds remaining. 20 seconds left in the second period, and Bubba is trying to ride him out here to build on his riding time advantage. He effectively does so, and the score will be 4-1 going into the third.
Strayer's victory was really impressive, as he rode out Kennedy throughout the whole third period to secure the victory.
Bubba Jenkins now takes the floor for the first time today, wrestling Indiana's Nick Walpole on Mat 4. Walpole is the only seeded Big Ten grapplers who Bubba has wrestled thus far this season. Wrestlers are scoreless through half of the first period. Jenkins looks a little slow on his shots thus far, and hasn't been able to get any real offense going here. Just as I say that, Bubba is in on a single-leg, but it looks like Walpole is fighting him effectively, and the wrestlers will start in the middle neutral with 40 seconds left. ANother single-leg shot by Bubba, and he is scrambling to try and get the takedown, but Walpole gets out again. They will movei nto the second period scoreless.
Correction about Strayer, the PA announcer just said he won with a 3-2 decision, no fall but still a big victory.
Strayer won his match with a pin just before the clock ran out in the third round. He had been leading 3-2, but the fall is far more valuable. Penn State has no wrestlers on the mat at the moment, but Bubba Jenkins is on deck for mat 4.
Replacing Steadman on Mat 1 is Brad Pataky, the No. 4 seed at the 125-pound weight class. A little under a minute into it Pataky has a takedown for himself against his opponent. No. 5-seeded Zach Sanders. Score is now 2-0 and Pataky is putting together a solid riding time score here, as he has riden him the entire period after getting the takedown.
Pataky avoids some trouble on the edge of the mat to end the period, and the score will be 2-0 going into the second. Pataky quickly escapes after a couple seconds to go up 3-0. Pataky now has control over Sanders, controlling his head. Although Sunderland is not wresting in his corner, he is jumping up and down, motioning for him to take his head down. Pataky got out of a single-leg, and now has a single-leg takedown of his own, moving the score to 5-0. Very impressive showing for Pataky against an opponent he has split decisions with this season (first getting pinned by Sanders earlier at National Duals)
Sanders gets loose here and the score is 5-1. The wrestlers will begin in the neutral position to start the third period. Mark Perry is jumping up and down, really pumped for Pataky. Pataky surrenders a takedown, but it isn't a bad thing, as he is now up 6-3 with the escape. He surrenders another takedown, however, to Sanders, and the score is 7-6 with 30 seconds left in the match. 17 seconds left, with Pataky up 2 with the riding time advantage.
Jake Strayer has taken over on mat 1, going up against James Kennedy of Illinois. The officials have paused the match as team trainers crowd around Strayer. They are looking at his face, maybe he had a small cut that was bleeding.
Kennedy takes down Strayer for a 2-0 advantage after one round.
Steadman is trying to ride his opponent starting the third period but will give up the escape to move the match to 5-1. Steadman needs a couple of takedowns, and needs to eliminate 17 seconds of riding time to come away with a win here. Powless has a hold of Steadman's leg right now, and they are tangled up right now on the far side. I'm gonna go over and talk to Clay so I'll BRB.
He is currently down 4-1 going into the third period.
Cameron Wade is wrestling at heavyweight against John Wise, the No. 4 seed from Illinois. Wade was winning 2-0 against Wise, but has given up four straight points and is in danger of losing, as he is being riden by Wise with 10 seconds left. Wise has Wade on his back right now with seven seconds left, and he has given up a fall with three seconds left, sending Mark Perry walking away in disgust. That is not good for Penn State's team score, as a regular decision turned into a pin very quickly.
Wright is up 1-0 after two periods, with his escape in the second. He is currently on top, trying to ride his opponent. But if you weren't watching, the crowd let you know. A resounding applause told you that Wright pinned his oppponent, in impressive fashion in the third period. Nice way to start your tournament
Jack Decker is wrestling third seed Philip Keddy on mat 1. after one round, Keddy is up 6-2. Looks like Keddy defeated him handily, last we saw the score was 16-5.
Quentin Wright makes his Big Ten tournament debut at the 174-pound weight class in a pigtail match with Nicholas Corpe from Purdue. Wrestlers are scoreless after 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
I wasn't watching the end of Vallimont's match, but apparently his opponent hit him after the bout was over and the whistle had sounded, leading to a lot of booes from the crowd. His opponent, Marella looked like he was going to punch somebody after he walked past the scorer's table, and he had to be calmed down by the Northwestern coach as he headed toward the locker rooms.
Darling is currently in danger on the far mat, but in a very nice move gets himself out of danger. Sunderland and Perry are pumped up for their freshman wrestler as he is wrestling very well against a nationally-ranked foe. Darling made an excellent move to get his opponent down and was desperately close to a takedown, but he let himself vulnerable to a takedown by Welch.
Mark Perry furiously punched the chair behind him. Now he gives up three more points, likely back points.
Also underway is 165-pounder Dan Vallimont's match against Northwestern's Dominic Marella. Vallimont has a takedown for himeslf in the first period, and is riding his opponent to a 1:21 advantage. Vallimont will start the second period in the down position.
Darling's match is currently 7-1, and will end that way.
Vallimont is currently up 5-1 in his match on Mat 3.
157-pounder Tim Darling is wrestling Northwestern's No. 2 seed Jason Welch currently on Mat 2. No scoring as of yet in the first minute of the match. Wrestlers of the mat with 1:40 left. Coaches Troy Sunderland and Mark Perry are in his corner, coaching the redshirt freshman. Off the mat again with 1:14 remaining in the first period. Welch sports a curly afro, as opposed to Darling's crew cut. Welch goes for a shot but Darling is quick to defend it, and they are handfighting now. Welch almost had Darling on his back but they move off the mat with 45 seconds left in the 1st. End of the first period, score 0-0.
Down 5-0, Molinaro selects the bottom position to start the third period. Russell is riding him right now, building on his 1:49 riding time advantage.
Molinaro is on the board with an escape about 40 seconds into the third period, but Russell comes back with a takedown here to move the score to 7-1. An escape but then another takedown by Russell movest he score to 9-2 with 17 seconds left.
Final score in his match: 10-2.
Welcome to Back Points' live blog of the Big ten tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center. Some of the best wrestlers in the country are already on display..right now we have two NCAA champions on the mat.
J Jaggers is wrestling on Mat No. 3, currently up 3-0, and Iowa's Brent Metcalf is wrestling on mat No. 2. Oh look, he just pinned his first round opponent.
Penn State's Frank Molinaro is currently wrestling Michigan's No. 2-seeded Kellen Russell at the 141-pound weight class.
In his match, the wrestlers are scoreless after one period. Michigan's Russell takes the down position to start and gets a reversal for two points, then gets three back points. Molinaro looks injured, clutching his arm as it was overextended, or a possible cramp.
Currently 5-0 in the bout, going into the third period.
Obviously, the big game to watch today is Penn State's regular season finale at Iowa at 2 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
But, with the Nittany Lions still on the bubble and the Big Ten tournament seed up in the air, there are plenty of other games to pay attention to this weekend. So here's a quick guide to what to pay attention to this weekend:
Noon - Michigan at Minnesota, ESPN
Noon - Georgia Tech at Boston College, ESPN 360
2 pm - Penn State at Iowa, BTN
2 pm - South Carolina at Georgia, ESPN 360
2 pm - Kentucky at Florida, CBS
2 pm - California at Arizona State, CBS
2 pm - UMass at Rhode Island, Cox Sports TV
2 pm - Missouri at Texas A&M, ESPN2
3:30 pm - Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, ABC
3:30 pm - Maryland at Virginia, ABC
7:30 pm - Stanford at Arizona, CBS
8 pm - Duquesne at Dayton, WHIO-TV
Noon - Purdue at Michigan State, CBS
2 pm - Virginia Tech at Florida State, ESPN 360
5 pm - Northwestern at Ohio State, BTN
7 pm - Indiana at Wisconsin, BTN
If Penn State can beat the Hawkeyes this afternoon, every PSU fan should be tuned in to watch the Boilermakers and Spartans on Sunday. A Penn State win plus a Purdue loss equals the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament for the Nittany Lions.
It should be a fun weekend of college basketball to watch as we move closer and closer to March Madness. Also, No. 1 UConn and No. 3 Pitt play each other at noon Saturday and No. 2 North Carolina hosts No. 7 Duke at 4 p.m. Sunday. Little impact on Penn State, but it just adds to the weekend.
The Lions have pulled away in this third (and final, let's be real) set. Penn State leads 21-14 and it's only a matter of time before the Lions trade their unis for flip flops, swim trunks and adult beverages with little umbrellas in them.
I can honestly say I love the music selection here at Rec Hall, such a wide variety. Gym Class Heroes, Kevin Rudolf, ACDC, Motley Crue, Rick Springfield (that's right). They've got it all!
The Lions currently have three players with double digit kills. Sunder has 14, Price has 12 and Holt has 11. Mason's getting bodied from all directions tonight. The Lions lead 25-16.
An evenly matched set here early on and it's tied at five. I believe I can speak for us both when I say I'd like this to end fairly soon. We have stories to write, laundry to do, bags to pack.
Well Max Holt is angry, and you won't like him when he's angry. The official above the net called a touch on Holt on a play that looked like a Lions point and Holt responds with two big kills. Penn State leads 10-9.
Joe Sunder continues his big performance tonight, delivering his 12th kill of the night. Penn State has run a balanced attack tonight, but Sunder has stood out a little above the rest.
The Lions now lead 16-12 off of a Patriot hitting error and Mason needs to staunch the bleeding quick .
Tom here so you know the blog quality is going to pick up. I also am without power so we'll try to make this last.
Lions lead 24-23 and after each Mason point there's a handful of ladies clad in dark green that rise to their feet and make their approval known. I'm not sure if I should be amused or annoyed. I'm going with annoyed since we're stuck here on campus.
Mason takes a timeout down 27-24 as Cookie Jar by Gym Class Heroes a.k.a. my new favorite guilty pleasure song, comes over the PA system.
Happy Spring Break Penn State volleyball fans. Mike here to guide you through tonight's match against the Patriots of George Mason. Whoever makes the schedule clearly does not like Tom and me. We should be stuck somewhere on I-80 right now instead of press row of Rec Hall. But we're here so we'll try to bring some entertainment to tonight's match.
Penn State leads all-time 81-14 since 1997.
Last meeting: Penn State 3-0 (30-24, 33-31, 30-23) in last year's EIVA championship.
But the Patriots did beat the Lions in Fairfax last year.
Dan: Matt Mackrides may or may not be ready to play, but he certainly won't be back at 100 percent. His shoulder still bothers him when he winds up to shoot, and a shooter of his level is just what Penn State needs at this point. Mackrides will still be able to pass and I predict a pair of assists for him if he is back, but the rest of the team still needs to fix the little things that killed it in the first three games. If Penn State comes strong out of the gates and gets a couple of early goals, then the players can finally put this 0-3 start behind them.
Prediction: Penn State 8, Ohio State 6
Steve: The third straight ranked opponent in three weeks will come to Happy Valley. While this stretch may bring a lot of experience, for a struggling Nittany Lion squad, this is not exactly the type of streak that instills confidence. The offense looked real solid at the end of the game last week against Loyola, but Penn State hasn't been able to piece together two solid halves all season. While I trust it is making adjustments in practice to right the ship, another top-tier opponent won't make it easy. When the Lions defense straightens out its problems, then it will start winning some games.
Prediction: Ohio State 10, Penn State 8
Paul: The last two weeks, Penn State has ended the game on a strong note, giving some hope they'd come out ready to play the following week. Last week, that wasn't the case, as another slow start doomed the Lions en route to a one-goal loss. This week will need to be different if Penn State wants to pull out their first win of the season. Although the team's impressive performance in its only pre-season scrimmage against Johns Hopkins seems like it was a long time ago, the fact remains the team is still capable of playing at that level. The first five minutes will be huge in this game and Penn State needs to score the first goal. The Lions can't go another game playing from behind and the confidence of establishing a first-half lead would go a long way in helping them get their first win of the season.
It is March after all, right? Let March Madness ensue
After an exciting basketball victory at the Bryce Jordan Center last night, the Big Ten wrestling tournament will come to University Park this weekend.
Action gets under way tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the first session, followed by a second session beginning at 6 p.m.
My partner Andrew Robinson and I attended the coaches' press conference this afternoon at the BJC, where Iowa coach Tom Brands, Ohio State coach Tom Ryan and PSU coach Troy Sunderland all spoke about their team's chances this weekend.
For extensive coverage of the Big Ten conference championships, look no place further. Check out the website later tonight for a couple of articles by Robinson and I from the press conference. Additionally, check back here for live updates and some articles posted throughout the entire day tomorrow.
Feel free to comment on any of our articles through your Facebook accounts, or e-mail (email@example.com). We will be sure to respond to your thoughts or questions.
In one of the top matches of the regular season, Penn State takes on George Mason tonight. The Patriots obviously beat the Nittany Lions last year and have probably been the second-best team in the EIVA for the past few years.
The Patriots also lead the country in blocking, which could lead to issues for the Lions. Setter Edgardo Goas must have a big day for the Lions to win. The freshman needs to establish Max Holt and Max Lipsitz in the middle early in the match to open the outside. If Mason has to worry about the middle, they might be a tad slower on the outside block, leaving openings for Ryan Sweitzer, Will Price and Joe Sunder.
This match shapes up to a good one and I'll be shocked if it goes less than four sets. It should feature high intensity throughout as neither team can afford to take a set off.
What to Look For: Despite the match's magnitude, a small crowd affected by students heading home for spring break.
Player of the Match: Edgardo Goas. As I said before, I think it all comes down to Goas' ability to nullify the Patriots' block.
Score: Penn State 3-1 (30-27, 30-26, 28-30, 30-27)
In the Lions' last match before heading out west for the Active Ankle Classic, Penn State will play host to rival George Mason.
We all know the Patriots knocked Penn State off and were the only blemish on Penn State's otherwise perfect visage. If we haven't forgotten, you can bet the Lions haven't either. The last time the two met was in the EIVA Championship where Penn State stomped a mudhole in the Patriots, winning 3-0 (30-24, 33-31, 30-23) in Rec Hall. I wouldn't be shocked to see Penn State sweep again.
But, as Mike said, the Lions will be going up against a tough defense but if Edgardo Goas can put his sets on the money, there's not a team in the nation that can stop Penn State's attack.
What To Look For: Me sitting in the press box annoyed that all of the power outlets don't work. In all seriousness though, look for a high-intensity match between two rivals.
Player of the Match: Max Lipsitz. Lipsitz has been a beast for Penn State recently and currently is third on the team in kills (behind Max Holt and Ryan Sweitzer). He has become a favorite target and why not when he's one of the top middle hitters in the country.
Score: Penn State 3-0 (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
The top team in the country just keeps rolling along.
No. 1 Cal State Northridge swept No. 8 BYU 3-0 (30-24, 30-28, 30-25) Thursday night as the Matadors moved to 14-2 on the year.
Long Beach was led by senior outside hitter Eric Vance who had 15 kills on the night while hitting .448 for the match.
The Matadors overcame a ghastly 24 service errors to win the match. If you recall, Long Beach had 30 service errors in their upset of Pepperdine last week. I somehow get the feeling serving isn't the Matadors' strong suit.
On the flip side, BYU had 25 attack errors for the match. Had BYU cut down on its errors, it might have been somewhat of a match.
The two teams will lock horns once again on Friday and if last night was any indication, it'll be a long night for BYU. Also be sure to keep an eye on Northridge's serving to see if the Matadors have another terrible performance.
Illinois gets the ball with the possession arrow with 9.5 seconds left.
Penn State fouls with 8.4 left. Davis is shooting a 1-and-1, and DeChellis calls a timeout. Both teams have one timeout left. Davis is way short on the first. Battle somehow finds a way to get a shot and in with 0.3 seconds left. He went baseline and did some kind of circus shot that hits all kinds of iron and glass before dropping.
PSU 64, Illinois 63
Jackson is at the line for a 1-and-1 with a chance to cut the lead to one. Jackson makes good on both, and here we go folks, final minute.
58.1 seconds left 2nd half
Illinois 63, PSU 62
Frazier is at the line shooting 1-and-1 and comes up short on the first attempt. On the ensuing possession, there's no quit in Frazier's defense as he is right in Pringle's grill when he launched that 3, but it's nothing but net.
1:32 left 2nd half
Illinois 63, PSU 60
Cornley had been taken into the locker room, but here he comes with 3:41 left.
3:36 left 2nd half
Illinois 63, PSU 57
I got confirmation from team spokesman Brian Siegrist that Cornley was nursing a dislocated shoulder he's dealt with since his sophomore year.
Cornley is getting is left shoulder rubbed on the end of the bench. It doesn't look too serious, so I'd be shocked if Cornley is out much longer.
Jones fouls out with 4:40 remaining. Ott comes back in.
McCamey sinks one of two free throws, and Illinois is now in the low 60s.
4:31 left 2nd half
Illinois 61, PSU 55
Ott checks in for Jones, and I don't know if he's going to be nearly as effective against Tisdale.
As I type that, Davis gets loose down low and flushes it home.
Pringle cuts the lead in half with a deep bomb, but there's Tisdale to answer with another baseline jumper to keep this crowd frustrated.
McCamey extends the Illini to eight with a huge triple on the left wing.
Lions turn it over on offensive goaltending. Key possession here, and Illinois gets a tip-in as the shot clock expires.
A lot of groans from the fans in white.
5:09 left 2nd half
Illinois 60, PSU 50
Battle uses a screen to get into the lane then throws up a floater that drops. Pringle buries a 3 in front of the Penn State bench to bring this crowd back into it ... until Illinois answers yet again.
Lions still trail by four.
key moment here: 7:47 left Andrew Jones picks up his fourth foul after just seemingly throwing Tisdale to the floor.
Illinois 51, PSU 47
Things are startin' to get a little sloppy on both ends. Penn State keeps pushing the ball up the floor, but is unable to get any fast break points.
We have less than 10 minutes to go and a Brock baseline jumper makes it a three possession game.
9:29 left 2nd half
Illinois 49, PSU 42
The lead is at two now and Illini coach Bruce Weber sends Tisdale to the bench. Calvin Brock nails a 3 late in the possession, and once again the Illini answer the Lions' run with a big bucket.
12:18 left 2nd half
Illinois 47, PSU 42
Cornely gets the offensive rebounds after Jones misses the second free throw, but missed a point-blank lay-in. He makes up for on the next possession by driving baseline off a nice pump fake.
14:27 left 2nd half and Illinois is finally at the line. Dominique Keller misses both though. After Penn State cuts the lead to one, and nearly taking the lead off a quick turnover, Mike Davis hammers a home a huge jam through the Lion defense and completes the 3-point play.
Lions down four.
Cornley gets active right off the bat, driving to the hoop for a lay-in. McCamey knocks down a jumper at the other end. It looks like the scoring won't let up, thankfully.
Frazier knocks down another 3 to up the Illini lead to five. Jones is at the line and comes dangerously close to air balling the first attempt, just drawing the front of the iron. He sinks the second.
Jones goes to work in the post against Tisdale and draws another shooting foul.
15:32 left 2nd half
Illinois 41, PSU 35
Penn State is starting to do the things it needs to come leave a winner. It's taking good care of the basketball, and the defense got in gear in the closing minutes.
How the Nittany Lions come out, you know, when they don't have the pre-game adrenaline flowing will be interesting to watch. They spent a good deal of the first half staving off six, eight-point deficits. Any type of sluggish beginning could spell trouble.
Stats at the half:
Field goals 15-28 53.6%
3-point FGs 4-10 40.0%
Free throws 0-0 0.0%
Reb (O-D) 17 (7-10)
Field goals 13-25 52.0%
3-point FGs 3-8 37.5 %
Free Throws 3-4 75 %
Reb (O-D) 9 (3-6)
I didn't think it was possible for Illinois to go another half without shooting a free throw.
PSU - Stanley Pringle 9
ILL - 3 tied with 8
I also don't think 8-year-old basketball is what college kids want to see as halftime entertainment, although there are a few cheers every made bucket. Maybe I'm the one not entertained?
Pringle crosses over a bunch of times then hits the mid-range jumper.
Here's something rare. Tisdale launched a 3 as time was expiring and Davis gets whistled for a foul on Cornley with about 0.2 seconds left. It's a 1-and-1 for Cornley.
Cornely hits one of two.
Illinois 34, PSU 32
Illinois has already exceeded its point total from the last meeting. Penn State still has six to go.
The Lions probably need to keep the game in the low 60's to have a real shot at it. They held strong defensively down the stretch but need to close out on shooters better.
McCamey drills a 3 as Cornley was late closing out on him.
1:54 left 1st half
Illinois 34, PSU 29
Tisdale shows his range by knocking down long jumper. Morrissey shoots it a little bit further for the triple to bring Lions within five. Pringles goes coast-to-coast but is blocked by Tisdale. Pringle gives up about a foot on Tisdale.
Davis hits a baseline jumper with the shot clock winding down. On the next possession, Pringle gets into the lane and get a runner to go. Pringle follows up that deuce with a long bomb to cut the lead to four.
Today's Pringle's 22nd B-Day, too.
2:56 left 1st half
Illinois 31, PSU 29
Battle, Chris Babb, Danny Morrissey, Andrew Ott and Jones are on the floor. Morrissey feeds Brooks down low to cut the deficit to eight.
Battle could not have played better defense on Frazier. Frazier is leaning out of bounds on the baseline and throws up a rainbow that hits nothing but net. All Battle can do is look up at the sky and roll his eyes.
7:15 left 1st half
Illinois 25, PSU 17
Battle misses way long on a 3-point attempt from the left corner. Lions are trailing by six and is lucky Illinois botches up in transition. Lions have to be careful to not get behind too much.
Cornley takes a seat with 13:26 remaining in the half. Jones shows practice makes perfect with a nice baby hook in the lane. Jones has definitely up-ed his game on the offensive end this season, taking his time in the post and not rushing any moves or shots.
Jones gets caught out of position and Tisdale slams it home.
11:34 left 1st half
Illinois 19, PSU 10
Cornley muscles his way down low for two. Lions are on an 8-0 run. This is the exact start needed with this type of crowd. There's a lot of hustle plays and more importantly, offense.
Illinois answers with a 7-0 run of its own to lead by four.
14:48 left 1st half
Illinois 12, PSU 8
Even Blue Sapphire P.J. made it out to the game tonight.
Tisdale wins the tip and works Jones down on the low block for two to open things up. McCamey puts the Illini up five early. It doesn't look as if the Illin will repeat their 30 percent shooting night from earlier this season.
Penn State is getting out into transition early, always a good sign for a lackluster offense. The Lions bring out a press and force two Illini turnovers. Pringle knocks in a baseline jumper and the Lions lead 6-5.
Before Jamelle Cornley was introduced he was standing on the bench shouting all kinds of things to pump himself up. Good luck Mike Davis or whoever is guarding him tonight.
Hey ya'll Penn State basketball fans, (and I bet there's a good number of you out there considering there's a ton of empty seats 10 minutes to tip-off) and get ready for arguably Penn State's biggest game on this campus in more than a decade.
There's a lot of white in this place this evening, but some orange snuck past the ushers. It finally feels like a college basketball environment in this building. It will definitely be loud early, but let's see how much screamin' Nittany Nation will do if the Lions come out ice cold.
QB Daryll Clark came out in a white t-shirt to pump up the crowd before the game. This guy is uber-hyper. Clark said he wants to dunk on somebody. No word if Juice Williams is in the house tonight.
For us hockey fans, the recent slew of outdoor games have been a lot of fun to watch. Hockey is meant for the cold weather and seeing it played outside brings tears of joy.
So when recent news came out that Michigan could possibly host Michigan State for an outdoor game in 2010, I was excited.
The Big House, the second largest stadium in America, would host an outdoor game. It's basically a dream. The two teams faced off in an outdoor game hosted by MSU in 2001 and drew a record 74,544 attendance. Imagine the kind of crowd the Big House could bring in.
There is no doubt this will be epic, and it could pave the way for more games of its kind. The NHL is capitalizing on the trend, and it's paying off.
While the deal still needs to be approved by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, another outdoor hockey game, especially at such a big venue, would be beneficial to fans and the sport as a whole.
If you want a preview, check out this video covering the 2001 game:
This is a monumental week in the history of Ten Question Thursday. This week we come to you in audio with senior forward Mike Diethorn.
Among the highlights: Diethorn and Craig Brooks introduce us to a new nickname for their roommate Steve Thurston (a departure from the self-given "Sweet Lou") and Diethorn explains his pick for best dressed man on the team.
Enjoy. (And if you do, make sure to stop by tomorrow for our Friday Sports Centerpiece. Here's a hint, Diethorn's appearance on TQT may or may not be related.)
Also, check back shortly for news concerning the future of TQT.
So it's about a quarter to one in the morning of Thursday, March 5. As I procrastinate and wait to watch tonight's episode of LOST with my roommate, I was stunned by ESPN's front page that I could not just keep this to myself.
The Dallas Cowboys have cut Terrell Owens.
Say what?!?! Well, it is coming from a source, but if ESPN plays it up like that, I'm going to guess it's pretty legit.
T.O. has been known to ruffle some feathers, to say the least. But I have to say I'm surprised. Owner Jerry Jones said he's just reevaluating the roster just like any other year. The rumor mill has been going for quite some time about Owens about his relationship with Tony Romo and Jason Witten. Who would've guessed from this classic case of raw emotion?
So anyway, if you're true Make Plays fans(I know you all are), I know you've noticed we have a schedule of who posts on what day. BUT there is always room for spontaneity in the Make Plays blog. And frankly, I just couldn't resist.
So T.O., thanks for being you and so hated. And please, oh please, do NOT come to the Giants.
In what turned out to be a thrilling five set match, the No. 5 USC men's volleyball team bested No. 6 Long Beach State 3-2 (29-31, 30-24, 23-30, 30-23, 15-13).
The Trojans were led by sophomore outside hitter Troy Murphy, who registered 29 kills while hitting .463 for the night.
Long Beach had control of this match in the fifth set, up 6-3 before the lead evaporated and USC rallied to tie. Long Beach once again took a lead and led 12-10 and were just three points away from victory when it all fell apart.
The 49ers held a 2-1 advantage in this match and really should have put it away much earlier but just came out flat in the fourth set and let the Trojans right back into the match and eventually lost.
These are the types of matches you have to put away if you're Long Beach, especially at home. This is a tough conference loss for Long Beach, who moves to 7-5 in the MPSF.
On the flip side, this is a good, strong come-from-behind win for USC who moves to 11-6 against teams currently ranked in the Top 15..
The 49ers will need to recover quickly from what likely is a crushing defeat because they have a big match on Friday against No. 3 Pepperdine. Maybe tonight will be a learning experience for the 49ers and will put Pepperdine away if they have a chance.
A couple weeks ago, I blogged about Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa and wondered if he could become the long-awaited challenger to Tiger Woods.
Ishikawa didn't make the cut at the Northern Trust Open, but hopefully the 17-year old got the nervousness of playing on the big stage out of his system in L.A. and will be able to play his best at next month's Masters.
As the PGA Tour heads east this week to the Honda Classic, we will get the chance to see another teenage wunderkind, Rory McIlory.
McIlroy, a 19-year old from Northern Ireland, is already much more accomplished than Ishikawa. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championships last week, and won the Dubai Desert Classic last month.
Last month, I spoke with skepticism about Ishikawa because he hasn't proven he has the ability to win on the big stage, but McIlroy already has. To make the quarterfinals of the Match Play, and win a tournament like Dubai (which attracts one of the top fields of any Euro Tour event), shows that McIlroy is ready for primetime.
His solid play at the British Open in '07 further shows that McIlroy might have what it takes.
My only hope is that McIlroy plays stateside as much as possible. The European Tour is good, but McIlroy needs to start playing against Tiger on a week-by-week basis, which will be a little easier now that Tiger is back from injury.
So far, McIlroy's only major action came at the '07 Open, but that will all change this year, starting with next month's Masters, which to borrow a line from Brent Musberger, should be a "dandy."
The next few weeks kick off preparation for the tradition unlike any other; I know Tiger will be ready for Augusta, and I'm hoping McIlroy will be too.
The preliminary seedings for this weekend's Big Ten tournament were released yesterday by the conference.
Here is a complete list of all the weight-classes, with an analysis of how Penn State wrestlers have fared against these opponents:
125-pound weight class:
1. Brandon Precin, NU
2. Charlie Falck, IOWA -- Pataky lost to Falck, 9-3, in the Iowa dual meet
3. Angel Escobedo, IND -- Pataky defeated Escobedo, 4-3, at the Indiana dual meet
4. Brad Pataky, PSU
5. Zachary Sanders, MINN -- Pataky beat Sanders, 14-7, at the Minnesota dual meet, but was pinned by him at the National Dual Tournament
6. Nikko Triggas, OSU -- Pataky majored Triggas, 14-3, at the Ohio State dual meet
7. Michael Watts, MICH -- Pataky has defeated Watts twice, both by two points (one at National Duals, and the other time at the dual meet in Ann Arbor.
8. Bernard Futrell, ILL
133-pound weight class:
1. Daniel Dennis, IOWA -- Dennis beat Strayer 6-3 at the Iowa dual meet.
2. Franklin Gomez, MSU -- Strayer did not qualify to make weight at the dual meet vs. Michigan State, thus missing out on the opportunity to wrestle Gomez.
3. James Kennedy, ILL
4. Jayson Ness, MINN -- Strayer avenged a loss early in the season to last year's No.1 seed at 125, by defeated him 11-5 at Rec Hall in the dual meet with the Gophers.
5. Reece Humphrey, OSU -- Humphrey defeated Strayer, 8-3, in the dual meet against Ohio State.
6. Jake Strayer, PSU
7. Zac Stevens, MICH -- Strayer beat Stevens, 13-7, at National Duals.
8. Carson Beebe, PUR
141-pound weight class: Penn State's competitor: redshirt freshman Frank Molinaro
1. Zach Tanelli, WIS -- Tanelli tech. falled Molinaro, 22-7.
2. Kellen Russell, MICH -- Russell defeated Molinaro twice on the season, both by the score of 3-1.
3. Alex Tsirtsis, IOWA -- The long-haired Hawkeye beat Molinaro, 6-2, at the Iowa dual meet.
4. Mike Thorn, MINN -- Thorn pinned Molinaro at the National Duals, but only beat him 12-5 in dual meet.
5. J Jaggers, OSU -- Last year's national champ pinned Molinaro in the Ohio State dual.
6. Keith Sulzer, NU
7. Ryan Prater, ILL
8. Andrae Hernandez, IND
149-pound weight class:
1. Brent Metcalf, IOWA **Has not wrestled him yet** But lost to him three times last year, including in the finals of the NCAAs.
2. Bubba Jenkins, PSU
3. Lance Palmer, OSU -- another rival of Jenkins
4. Kyle Ruschell, WIS -- maj. dec. Colby Pisani, 13-0 at the Wisconsin dual
5. Jake Patacsil, PUR -- tech. fell Adam Lynch, 18-1 at the Purdue dual
6. Andrew Nadhir, NU
7. Nick Walpole, IND -- Bubba defeated Walpole, 8-3 out in Bloomington
8. Eric Terrazas, ILL
157-pound weight class: PSU: redshirt freshman Tim Darling
1. Michael Poeta, ILL
2. Jason Welch, NU
3. Kurt Kinser, IND
4. Tyler Safratowich, MINN -- tech. fell Shane Everett, 23-8, in the Minnesota dual.
5. Jason Johnstone, OSU -- Johnstone defeated Darling, 9-4, in an interesting, back-and-forth match at Rec Hall.
6. Aaron Hynes, MICH -- Hynes beat Darling by major decision, 17-6
7. Anthony Jones, MSU -- defeated Darling 8-4
8. Ben Jordan, WIS -- won by major decision over Everett
165-pound weight class:
1. Andrew Howe, WIS -- Howe defeated Vallimont, 3-2
2. Colt Sponseller, OSU -- Sponseller defeated Vallimont, 8-3 at Rec Hall. I talked to Colt after the match, and he said he is ready to make a national title push this season, as a sophomore.
3. Ryan Morningstar, IOWA -- Morningstar defeated Vallimont, 5-4 with the riding time point. This was an incredibly close match, with Vallimont coming back with a takedown with a couple seconds left in the third period.
4. Roger Smith-Bergsrud, ILL
5. Luke Manuel, PUR -- Vallimont defeated Manuel, 6-4, at the Purdue dual
6. Dan Vallimont, PSU
7. Paul Young, IND -- defeated Vallimont 4-1 at the Indiana dual
8. Rex Kendle, MSU -- Vallimont beat Kendle, 6-5, at the Michigan State dual
174-pound weight class:
1. Steve Luke, MICH -- The nation's No. 1 174-pounder defeated Wright in a close 6-4 decision at Ann Arbor, and also pinned freshman Micah Bollinger at National Duals.
2. Jay Borschel, IOWA -- did not wrestle when Iowa wrestled PSU. His teammate, Colby Covington, did beat Wright, interestingly enough.
3. Quentin Wright, PSU
4. Dave Rella, OSU -- Wright defeated the former Nittany Lion, 3-2, at Rec Hall in the OSU dual.
5. John Dergo, ILL
6. Trevor Perry, IND -- Perry defeated Wright in sudden victory (overtime to the layperson), 3-1, at the Indiana dual.
7. Robert Kellogg, NU
8. Ian Hinton, MSU -- Wright nearly majored Hinton, beating him 10-3 at the MSU dual meet.
184-pound weight class: PSU's wrestler: senior Jack Decker
1. Jake Herbert, NU
2. Mike Pucillo, OSU (last year's national champ)
3. Phillip Keddy, IOWA tech. falled Decker 25-10 at the Iowa dual. Keddy was a machine -- taking down Decker at will.
4. Jordan Blanton, ILL
5. A.J. Kissel, PUR -- defeated Decker in a 2-1 decision at the Purdue dual
6. Anthony Biondo, MICH defeated Decker 7-1 at the Michigan dual meet, but lost to Quentin Wright when he bumped up a weight class at National Duals.
7. Nick Palmieri, MSU -- defeated Decker, 7-5, at the MSU dual.
8. Eric Bugenhagen, WIS -- defeated Decker in sudden victory, 4-2, at the Wisconsin dual.
Feel free to comment on the blog and let your thoughts about the Big Ten tournament fly. Check out tomorrow's Collegian for an article on Brad Pataky, and continue to check it as I and Andrew Robinson bring you the most comprehensive coverage of Nittany Lion wrestling and the conference tournament.
Today is Christmas Eve here at Make Plays. Tomorrow, is the NHL trading deadline. For the past three hours, I've hit refresh on several NHL-related Web sites.
The only worthwhile thing (that isn't a rumor) is that the Penguins placed Miro Satan on waivers. As a Pens fan, thank God. Satan plays such a soft game. I can't remember if he has ever made a bodycheck in his life.
Anyway, we'll probably have a live-blog tomorrow, perhaps starting at 8 a.m.
After a bitter cold game Saturday outside at Bigler Field, the men's lacrosse team was certainly hot at the neck.
The Nittany Lions dropped their third consecutive game, plagued by a scoreless first half.
Assistant coach Guy VanArsdale told the team in a huddle after the game, "Let this be a lesson to you guys, how you played the last 30 minutes."
Once again, the Lions were able to string together an offensive burst in the second half of a game, but it was a little bit too late to come out on top.
"Well I think we haven't had a lot of success," VanArsdale said of the team's uncertainty offensively. "I think the guys are a little, I'm not sure that we're playing with any type of swagger because we haven't had the success. Hopefully some of that success there in the second half, and understanding what it takes to go out and make plays and have good things happen, I hope they see that."
Head coach Glenn Thiel talked about how important face-offs are in the game:
"Face-off kids came around in the second half, in the first half we did what we wanted to with the ball but we didn't pick it up. That's the biggest part of the face-off, doesn't matter what you do all the other stuff, if you can't pick the ball up then what's the sense."
The Lion face-off team of Joe Britt (3 out of 8), Charley Henneghan (3 out of 7) and Jordan Kolb (2 out of 4) combined for an 8/17 face-offs effort, or 47 percent.Â
Hey everybody out there in the blogosphere, It's Tom hitting you up with our new segment (thanks to my esteemed partner Mr. Oplinger) "Around the Country".
We'll tell you what matches we think are important for the week and then hit you guys with the results and a little insight along the way.
Without further adieu, let's get to it.
Wednesday, March 4th
No. 5 Southern California vs. No. 6 Long Beach State
The Trojans come into this match coming off of a loss against No. 1 Cal State Northridge and is 10-6 against teams currently ranked in the Top 15 while the 49ers hold a 6-6 record against the same group. I expect the Trojans to win, but we could be in for a good match.
Thursday, March 5th
No. 1 Cal State Northridge vs. No. 8 BYU
Top-ranked Cal State Northridge has a back-to-back set against No. 8 BYU at home on Thursday and Friday in conference play. While BYU is 9-6 on the year, it should be a tough match for the Matadors. The Cougars are 6-4 against ranked teams this season but are 0-2 against top five teams, losing 1-3 and 2-3 to USC on February 6 and 7th.
Friday, March 6th
No. 1 Cal State Northridge vs. No. 8 BYU
No. 3 Pepperdine vs. No. 6 Long Beach State
Tough week for the 49ers who have to turn around and play the 10-2 Waves two days after taking on USC. The good news for Long Beach is that both of these matches are at home so the 49ers won't be out of their comfort zone. Despite this luxury, I doubt the 49ers walk away successful against the Waves.
No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 9 Lewis
The Cardinal come into this match on a three match win streak following wins over UC Santa Barbara and a sweep of Hawai'i while Lewis comes in after a weekend split against No. 4 Penn State and No. 13 Ohio State.
Stanford has been tested this season with matches against Ball State, BYU, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Ohio State, Pepperdine, UC, Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and USC.
The Cardinal went 10-7 against these teams and should be battle tested for a Lewis team led by talented senior outside hitter Drew Pickering. Pickering had 24 kills against the Nittany Lions but only hit .341 for the match. If Pickering can consistently find the floor against Stanford, it could be a long night.
To quote Stuart Scott, "I ain't gonna say nothing, but that ain't right."
Moving on from that massacre of the English language, I can honestly say that Mike and I were stunned to see Penn State drop a spot in the rankings despite beating No. 10 Lewis over the weekend.
Lewis, by the way, rises a spot in the rankings to ninth with a win over Ohio State (who also rose in the rankings to 13th.).
The Nittany Lions have one first place vote and we all know that was coach Mark Pavlik voting for his squad but I think I can understand where the voters are coming from on this one.
You don't get to see all of the matches around the country and Northridge beat Pepperdine so Northridge, who was behind the Lions in the last poll hops up to first because well to be the man, you've got to beat the man. Everyone else falls back a spot as a result and this knocks the Lions down who are four points shy of Pepperdine.
Penn State's opponent this week, George Mason, is not ranked but did receive votes and appeared on two or more ballots so an impressive win might give the Lions a bit more pull with the voters.
Rank, School (First-Place Votes), Total Points, 2009 Record, Last Week
1. Cal State Northridge (10), 230, 13-2, 4
2. UC Irvine (5), 223, 14-3, 2
3. Pepperdine, 206, 10-2, 1
4. Penn State (1), 202, 14-1, 3
5. Southern California, 171, 11-4, 5
6. Long Beach State, 158, 8-6, 6
7. Stanford, 152, 11-7, 7
8. BYU, 127, 9-6, 8
9. Lewis, 98, 11-3, 10
10. UC San Diego, 94, 7-9, 12
11. UCLA, 74, 7-10, 9
12. Hawai'i, 54, 3-10, 11
13. Ohio State, 51, 7-7, 15
14. UC Santa Barbara, 28, 4-11, 13
15. Ball State, 21, 7-4, NR
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Loyola-Chicago 18; George Mason 5
UConn reclaimed its spot atop this week's AP Top 25 poll, receiving 67 of the 72 first-place votes.
Despite staying put at No. 5, Memphis actually garnered a first-place vote.
In the Big Ten, Michigan State moved up a spot to No. 8 while Purdue and the Nits' next opponent, Illinois, slid three spots each to Nos. 19 and 23, respectively.
Penn State failed to receive any votes in either poll this week, which was likely due more to its close home win over Indiana than its road loss at Ohio State.
The Lions better hope the selection committee doesn't view things the same way.
AP Top 25
Rank School Record Pts Pvs
1. Connecticut (67) 27-2 1,792 2
2. North Carolina (3) 25-3 1,678 4
3. Pittsburgh (1) 26-3 1,612 1
4. Oklahoma 26-3 1,576 3
5. Memphis (1) 26-3 1,543 5
6. Louisville 23-5 1,462 6
7. Duke 24-5 1,340 7
8. Michigan St. 23-5 1,302 9
9. Kansas 24-5 1,190 15
10. Wake Forest 22-5 1,158 13
11. Villanova 23-6 913 10
12. LSU 25-4 894 18
13. Marquette 23-6 860 8
14. Gonzaga 23-5 837 17
15. Missouri 24-5 795 11
16. Washington 22-7 704 21
17. Xavier 23-5 629 19
18. Clemson 22-6 564 12
19. Purdue 22-7 545 16
20. UCLA 22-7 497 22
21. Arizona St. 21-7 347 14
22. Butler 25-4 302 24
23. Illinois 23-7 287 20
24. Florida St. 22-7 272 23
25. Syracuse 21-8 99 --
Others receiving votes: Creighton 52, BYU 41, Utah 22, Saint Mary's, Calif. 13, Dayton 11, West Virginia 10, Davidson 9, Texas 9, California 8, Providence 7, South Carolina 7, Washington St. 4, Arizona 3, Oklahoma St. 2, American U. 1, Boston College 1, Rhode Island 1, Utah St. 1.
In the midst of a State Patty's Day weekend, there was mourning all over campus. Many students had a hard time believing the day they thought would never come actually came -- the day Brian Dawkins would no longer be a Philadelphia Eagle.
After 13 seasons with "Bdawk," the city of Philadelphia and half of State College weeps. As arguably the face of the Eagles, it's hard to let go. Even though the Eagles are at the top of my list of hated teams, I feel for you Eagles fans. It seemed that every time I went on facebook this weekend, there was another one of my friends with a status in memory of the seven-time Pro Bowler.
The question is if he made the right decision making the leap to the Denver Broncos. The Eagles are in relatively better conference and have completed some decent seasons recently. Maybe the Broncos giving Bdawk a better chance of getting into the postseason, but that is a thin argument.
Whatever the reason, it's something you Eagles fans have the right to mourn over. Dawkins has been in the city of Brotherly Love for 13 years, and he's the type of person you just can't see in another team's jersey. And from what I've read, it was an emotional time for Dawkins as well. I know, it's hard to say goodbye.
But as for moving on, fans are grieving in their own way. Our own Editor in Chief wore his jersey as a sign of respect Sunday. And one of my friends created this group on facebook to honor No. 20.
As for my Giants and the rest of the NFC East, I say thanks. And for you Eagle fans, my apologies.
Last week, the three of us made the trek out to Columbus to bring you coverage of the Ohio State-Penn State showdown. With no ability to provide instant updates from the road via this blog, we waited until after we got home to post a little recap of our journey.
With the Collegian's Footblog providing travel diaries, we want to be able to do the same. That's where Twitter comes in.
On the sidebar to the right, you should see the new Hardwood Hits Twitter. The main use will be next week's road trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten tournament, as we'll provide instant updates from the road during our eight or nine-hour road trips, as well as from Canseco Fieldhouse and our temporary home away from home in Bloomington.
In addition to that, we'll use it for any instant updates on basketball-related things that pop up, as well as any items that may not warrant entire blog posts.
We're rookies with this, but we'll do our best to keep it up to date. So become a follower by clicking the button on the sidebar if you wish and enjoy.
Well, Georgetown certainly took a beating in the polls this week. After losing to ECAC foe St. John's, the Hoyas plummeted from fifth to 12th in the USILA rankings.
But that's not the biggest shakeup this week. No, because there's a new king atop the polls: the Virginia Cavaliers. After going into Syracuse and knocking off the previously No. 1 Orange, the Wahoos improved to 5-0 and now sit on top of the mountain.
Syracuse only fell one spot in the rankings, but still, it's got some work to do if it wants to regain the title of "Kings of Lacrosse."
(OK, I made that title up, but tell me it doesn't have a certain ring to it. And yes, I know the season's only three weeks old. Just humor me.)
Here is the rest of the Top-10 (Penn State opponents in bold, last week's ranking in parentheses):
Virginia 5-0 (2)
Syracuse 2-1 (1)
North Carolina 5-0 (3)
Cornell 2-0 (4)
Princeton 2-0 (9)
UMBC 3-0 (7)
Notre Dame 3-0 (8)
Maryland 3-1 (11)
Hofstra 2-0 (13)
Johns Hopkins 1-1 (6)
The Nittany Lions' last opponent (Loyola) and next opponent (Ohio State) are 14th and 15th, respectively. Massachusetts hopped up to No. 17.
For its efforts in bringing Georgetown down to No. 12, St. John's jumps into the rankings at No. 19. At 1-2, Bucknell also enters the Top-20, taking the final spot.
Villanova received votes in the poll for the second week in a row, but didn't grab an official spot.
So in my boredom after writing my stories for today's paper Saturday night, I decided to join Twitter, which is yet another social networking tool that is almost like Facebook, just stripped down to the status update.
You punch something in and it can be sent to the user's homepage or mobile phone if they're "following" you. So as you sign up, it searches your e-mail contacts for people you know who are on Twitter.
My contacts cycle through and up pops Penn State men's volleyball coach Mark Pavlik.
At first I thought it couldn't possibly be Pavlik, but sure enough it was, with the last update being:
"Wrapping up at Rec Hall after the Nittany Lions defeated the NJIT Highlanders 30-16, 30-17, 30-19."
Yep, that's Pav.
So today I asked Pavlik about his Twitter and I must say it was quite humorous.
Pavlik evidently joined Twitter two months ago after reading about it in PC magazine and uses it as a tool to keep those who want to know in the loop about the program.
Pavlik says he did this because the biggest complaint he gets is there isn't enough information about the team out there so he decided to do it. That, and he's a self-admitted nerd.
"I'm a closet nerd," Pavlik said. "You can even take out the closet part."
However, don't expect to find anything other than volleyball news on Pavlik's Twitter feed.
"It's not going to be 'Oh, I'm getting up today,' or "Oh I'm eating ice cream.'" Pavlik said. "It's going to be 'Hey, we just finished a match, the score was, next match is whenever."
So if you are a member of the "Twitterati," you can follow Pavlik's Twitter feed, or a certain dashing Collegian reporter's.....
Here we are, the 16th week of following just how bad some of Penn State's non con-conference opponents have been doing. There's just one more week left in the college basketball regular season, with some smaller conference tournament getting underway in just a few days.
Last week, Matt, Nate and I traveled along endless stretches of I-80 and I-71 through all hours of the night to cover Tuesday's interesting showdown with Ohio State. After a 19-2 start to the game in favor of the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions stormed back and we had a back and forth game until a big Penn State drought in the second half. Saturday, the Lions ran into a more-than-ready-to-play Indiana squad that brought it's "A" game but came out on top -- barely.
Heading into Sunday, RealTimeRPI had Penn State's RPI at No. 64, with a weak Indiana team delivering a blow to the strength of schedule.
Anyway, here is the second-to-last regular season look at Penn State's opponents in the last week (Feb. 23-March 1):
-William & Mary... L 64-63 at Old Dominion, W 48-47 vs. Drexel
-NJIT...L 60-53 at Texas-Pan American, L 89-39 at Utah Valley
-Hartford... L 62-40 vs. Stony Brook, L 67-57 at Boston U.
-New Hampshire... W 64-56 vs. Albany, L 55-49 vs. Stony Brook
-Penn... L 87-79 vs. Yale, W 64-54 vs. Brown
-Rhode Island... W 93-91 vs. Dayton, W 73-71 at Duquesne
-Towson... W 75-74 vs. Delaware, L 71-59 at George Mason
-Georgia Tech... L 104-74 at North Carolina
-Temple... L 70-63 vs. La Salle, L 70-65 at Dayton
-Army... W 79-55 at Lafayette, W 70-53 at Bucknell
-Mount St. Mary's... L 66-63 at Robert Morris
-Lafayette... L 79-55 vs. Army, L 75-68 vs. American
-Sacred Heart...W 76-73 at St. Francis (NY), W 90-60 vs. Bryant
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 13-3 (23-5)
2. Purdue 11-5 (22-7)
3. Illinois 11-6 (23-7)
4. Wisconsin 9-7 (18-10)
4. Penn State 9-7 (20-9)
6. Minnesota 8-8 (20-8)
6. Ohio State 8-8 (18-9)
8. Michigan 8-9 (18-12)
9. Northwestern 7-9 (16-11)
10. Iowa 4-12 (14-15)
11. Indiana 1-15 (6-22)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record: 149-226
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 178-106
Total Opponents' Record: 327-332
Next week, we'll go over where everyone is seeded in their conference tournament or how they did, depending on the conference. At this point, Mount St. Mary's, Sacred Heart, Temple and Rhode Island appear to be the only ones with a shot in their conferences, and Temple and Mount St. Mary's both had bad weeks. Meanwhile, Rhode Island beat Dayton and jumped to second place in the Atlantic 10, just half a game behind Xavier.
For the weekly NJIT update, the Highlanders traveled 2,178 miles to Orem, Utah, and lost by 50. Ouch. Utah Valley hit 16-of-26 3-pointers. Not bad.
And what appeared to be Penn State's biggest non-conference win continues to disappoint. Georgia Tech gave North Carolina a game for the first 10 minutes or so before being blown away and allowing 104 points.
It was a big week in the Big Ten, and Michigan State clinched a share of the regular season conference title today with its hard-fought win over Illinois at Assembly Hall. Wisconsin also picked up an important win by knocking off Michigan at home. As of right now, Wisconsin and Penn State would each receive a bye in the Big Ten tournament and would square off in the quarterfinals in the 4-5 game.
For Michigan, Sunday was a disappointment after the Wolverines put up 50 in the second half against Purdue on Thursday. Apparently real offensive basketball can be played in the Big Ten every 10 weeks or so. Of course, in the Wisconsin game, Michigan scored just 21 in the second half.
Games to watch this week, aside from Thursday's huge showdown at the BJC between Penn State and Illinois:
After today's 4-1 win over Delaware to capture the ESCHL league title, we caught up with Icers senior Brandon Rubeo to talk about the injury he sustained in yesterday's win over Drexel.
Rubeo said his left ankle was caught under him awkwardly as he was hit by a Dragon. Fortunately, he said it was only a sprain, but he won't start skating again until the pain subsides. Although he used crutches for the entire weekend, Rubeo was adamant that he would be on the ice for the ACHA National Tournament, which starts March 14:
"Right now we're taking it day-to-day," Rubeo said. "I definitely plan on playing in Nationals no matter what. It should be fine by then, but even if it's not, it'll have to be."