With concerns about the weather in the Midwest over the last 24 hours, Penn State was hoping to get into Champaign smoothly for its 9 p.m. tip with Illinois at Assembly Hall tomorrow.
The Nittany Lions' team plane had to land in Evansville, Ind., on Monday night, because of a major ice storm hovering above Champaign. With no signs the storm will subside any time soon, the Lions will remain in Evansville for the night and leave for Champaign by bus Tuesday morning. Sports information director Brian Siegrist said in a text message that no departure time has been set yet.
The team landed in Evansville around 8 p.m. and hoped to bus into Champaign Monday night, but the weather wouldn't allow it.
It's roughly a four-hour drive to Champaign from Evansville.
The Lions are hoping to make it to Champaign in time for their noon shoot around.
The Nittany Lions beat the Illini 57-55 on Jan. 11 at the Bryce Jordan Center, and are currently tied for fourth place in the Big Ten, having won four out of their last six games, including a win Saturday over then-No. 17 Wisconsin.
Breakdown: It was the Lions' worst performance on floor this season. Redshirt junior Warren Yang placed second with 14.500, but was the only Lion to place at all in that event. Sophomore Parker Raque posted a 12.700, his worst score of the season in floor and two-and-a-half points lower than his team-best 15.200 he received at the West Point Open. Redshirt junior Colin Hill, who has competed in floor at every meet so far, also had a season-worst 13.500 in the event. The Lions' 55.900 in floor was still enough for them to place first as a team, but barely. Temple posted a 55.400, only a half-point behind the favored Lions.
Breakdown: All the success Penn State lacked in floor exercise, they found in pommel horse. The Lions broke through in this event in a similar way to how they broke through on vault against Michigan. The team had been struggling all season on this apparatus, but sophomore Felix Aronovich clearly took the initiative Sunday. The Israeli-native wasn’t even supposed to start as of Thursday, but something obviously changed coach Randy Jepson's mind. He was first up on pommel horse for the Lions, and didn’t disappoint. He posted a 15.100, which tied a career high. Junior Miguel Pineda followed nicely with a 15.000, also setting a new career best. The two placed first and second in the event, respectively. Furthermore, freshmen Adrian Evans (14.400) and Francisco Vazquez (14.600) also posted new career bests. As a team, the Lions scored an unprecedented 59.100, a new program record.
Breakdown: As usual, sophomore Scott Rosenthal showed why he is No. 3 in the country on the still rings. The former walk-on shattered his former record Sunday with a 15.700 on the apparatus, a new career best. Miguel Pineda also posted a solid 15.300, and sophomore Parker Raque rebounded from his subpar floor exercise with a season-best 15.000 on the rings. The three Lions swept the event. As a team, the Lions’ 60.300 was a season high. They will maintain their No. 1-ranking in the event, as No. 2 Stanford did not compete last weekend.
Breakdown: The Lions’ vault performance was not as good as it was the week prior. The event was highlighted by the two Matts. Sophomore Matt Chelberg tied his record from the Army meet with a 15.700, tying for second overall in the event. Senior captain Matt Albrecht’s 15.600 was a season-high for him, earning him a share of third place. Sophomore Mackenzie Dow did not follow up on his outstanding 16.000 against Michigan. He posted a 15.400 and did not place. On a different note, Jepson opted not to start Warren Yang in this event, despite his stellar 15.900 vault against Michigan. As a team, the Lions (61.800) lost out to the Owls (62.100). These results were certainly unexpected, as Penn State averaged more than two points better than Temple in vault before Sunday, and were ranked six spots higher than the Owls. However, Penn State only underachieved by their former average by about half a point. Temple exceeded their former average by close to two points.
Breakdown: Every Penn State competitor in the parallel bars set some form of personal bests Sunday. Felix Aronovich placed first in the event with a 15.400, a career best. Tied for second was Mackenzie Dow with a 14.700, also a career best. Redshirt freshman Nihir Kothari has continued to gradually improve his scores on the bars, posting a career-best 14.000, which is a big step forward from the 11.900 he posted versus Army. Miguel Pineda also had a season best 14.400. Freshman Nestor Rodriguez was given his second nod of the season on parallel bars Sunday, and posted a 14.100, a vast improvement from his 11.8 at the West Point Open. Warren Yang, who is No. 3 in the nation on parallel bars, did not compete in this event Sunday. As a team, the Lions put forth their best performance of the year with a 58.600, and they placed first in the event.
Breakdown: Penn State gave a good effort on high bar, but no records were broken Sunday. Matt Albrecht took first with a 14.500. However, the most impressive performance may have come from Nestor Rodriguez, who received a 14.300 in his first high bar routine at the collegiate level. He earned second place in the event. The team posted a 56.100, good enough for the victory but below its national average.
Ed DeChellis didn't know about the impending snowstorm in the midwest -- until he received a call from Illinois coach Bruce Weber on Sunday night.
According to the National Weather Service out of St. Louis, Illinois is expected to be hit by a severe winter storm, which began mid-afternoon Monday and will continue into Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Penn State men's basketball team is scheduled to play Illinois at 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Assembly Hall.
"I didn't really know we were supposed to get this storm," DeChellis said in his weekly press conference Monday. "So [Weber's call] was helpful and I appreciate that."
With the news, DeChellis and the Nittany Lions adjusted their travel plans. DeChellis met with the team members Monday morning and told them to pack extra clothes -- in case they get stranded in Illinois. The Lions cut practice short on Monday -- eliminating their tape session -- and were scheduled to fly out at 5:30 p.m.
"As soon as the plane lands, we're going to get out of here," DeChellis said Monday afternoon. "So hopefully we can get in there [Monday] night, and whatever happens, happens. If we get officials in there, we'll play, depending on how bad it gets out there. Some people are calling for two feet of snow and ice."
In addition, the team's academic adviser, Sue Sherburne, will travel with the Lions to Illinois. Some players have quizzes scheduled this week, and Sherburne will be able to proctor them.
DeChellis said he hopes the team will be able to return to State College by Thursday. He will give the team Thursday off, then they will start preparing for the Lions' home game on Sunday against Michigan.
Penn State Sports Information Director Brian Siegrist confirmed in a text message Monday evening that ESPN's Andy Katz's blog post, mentioning that Penn State men's basketball guard Taran Buie was suspended for a number of reasons stemming from a fight during the summer, a drinking incident and academic problems, was accurate.
Katz's blog also mentioned that coach Ed DeChellis and Buie will meet after the season to figure out his spot within the program going forward.
Siegrist said the report was accurate, except for the word "booted," which Katz used to refer to Buie's status with the team.
"He has been suspended indefinitely and I do not expect him to return to the team before the end of the season," Siegrist said in the text message.
He also added that Buie — Talor Battle's half-brother — has not been in practice since December.
Another week has passed and the Penn State Lady Lions (18-5, 7-2 Big Ten) are still the No. 1 team in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage. The Lady Lions are 165-for-365 for a blistering 45.1 clip from downtown.
Drexel, which handed Penn State its lone home loss of the season on Dec. 21, is a distant second with a 42.4 percentage from beyond the arc. Samford and Princeton are also shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range, owning marks of 41.3 and 40.7, respectively.
Penn State freshman guard Maggie Lucas is third in the nation in the category with a 47.3 3-point field goal percentage, while junior guard Zhaque Gray is No. 24 at 42.3 percent.
Lucas is No. 2 with 3.5 triples per contest.
The Lady Lions are No. 21 in overall field goal percentage, shooting 44.9 percent.
Continuing every Monday for the rest of the season, the Collegian will be introducing a “Pondering with Pav” segment on the Above the Net blog. Each week the Collegian will ask head coach Mark Pavlik to dispense some of his non-volleyball knowledge or give some insight into the life that is “Pav.”
Considering this Sunday is Super Bowl XLV, and Pavlik’s favorite team is the Steelers, he decided to divulge what the Steelers need to do in order to win their seventh Super Bowl, make a final score prediction and give a few Super Sunday plans.
“Well they’ve got to protect Ben [Roethlisberger] in crucial situations. That’s the big one. They’ve got to let Rashard [Mendenhall] run. I think defensively, Dick LeBeau knows what he needs to do, so I’m not even getting into that. My prediction is 26-17 Steelers.
“I will be watching it at home. We’ll probably get a fire going in the fireplace and sit down. I don’t know [about food]. We might get some wings, maybe some pizza, we’ll see. That’s a good thought. I haven’t even though that far ahead yet. But we’ll see what we can do, see what Heather [coach Pavlik’s wife] wants to do.
“Jack [coach Pavlik’s son], of course, will be upstairs watching something else. It’s funny, he won’t watch football with me. I took him to his first Penn State game this fall, and I took him up into the press box for Temple. He lasted about the first two series until, “Dad, can I have your iTouch?’ So, he’s not a big football fan. But he’ll come down. He’ll ask what the score is.”
With two matches this weekend against teams ranked in the AVCA top 15, if the Lions were to win both games coupled with a Steelers Super Bowl victory it could be one heck of a weekend for the 15-year coach (just as long as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin takes his advice).
One big win can do a lot for a team in the rankings.
A day after upsetting No. 24 Ohio State, the Penn State Lady Lions received 23 votes in Monday's AP Top 25 Poll after garnering no votes last week.
In effect, the Lady Lions (18-5, 7-2 Big Ten) are the nation's 29th-ranked team. Only three other unranked teams - Syracuse, Marist and Duquesne - got more votes.
At No. 11, Michigan State is the top-ranked team in the conference, while Iowa is No. 20. Penn State beat Iowa on Dec. 30 and plays the Hawkeyes again on Sunday. The Lady Lions' lone contest with the Spartans is set for Feb. 10 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Ohio State dropped from the rankings after losing to Michigan and Penn State last week and is the only other Big Ten team getting votes with 14.
For those of you looking for Penn State to be ranked for the first time since 2001, you're going to have to wait. This week's AP Poll has been released, and the Nittany Lions are still on the outside looking in, despite upsetting then-No. 17 Wisconsin.
After receiving one vote each of the past two weeks, Penn State earned 14 votes this time around. Wisconsin dropped to No. 19, while Illinois -- PSU's next opponent -- fell out of the rankings. Other ranked Big Ten teams are Minnesota at No. 18, Purdue at No. 11 and undefeated Ohio State at No. 1.
While we go by the AP rankings at the Daily Collegian, it should be noted, the Lions are getting no love at all from the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Penn State doesn't have a single vote in that poll. Three coaches that have faced the Lions -- St. Joseph's Phil Martelli, Maryland's Gary Williams and Purdue's Matt Painter -- are part of the Board of Coaches who vote each week. Here is the newest AP Poll, which came out this afternoon.
Talor Battle has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week, powered by a 20-point second-half performance in Penn State's upset of No. 17 Wisconsin.
Battle scored only two points in the first half against the Badgers as the Lions trailed by nine entering the second half. But Battle scored 15 of the Nittany Lions' first 23 points in the second half, the last of those points to give the Lions the lead for good with under five minutes left in their 56-52 win.
Against Iowa earlier in the week, Battle scored a game-high 23 points.
Battle is second in the Big Ten in scoring with 20.4 points per game.
Surprisingly, it is only the second time Battle's won the award.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team spent its Friday in Florida, but the Nittany Lions still suffered the ill effects of the snowstorm at home.
The team originally planned to fly to Gainesville from University Park Airport, but the snowstorm forced a cancellation of the flight the team had booked, coach Jeff Thompson said.
The Lions rescheduled for another flight, which was again canceled, before finally finding a flight that would take them to Florida, Thompson said.
Unfortunately the flight left from Philadelphia International Airport and landed in Orlando, meaning the team would have two more long drives to add to its travel time.
Once in Florida, the team had the bad luck to be riding in a bus that wouldn't accelerate over 50 mph, making an already slow trip even slower, Thompson said. The team didn't check into its hotel until 2 a.m. Friday, the same day as the meet.
Thompson was pleased with how his gymnasts dealt with the lengthy trip, however.
"The kids never one time complained," Thompson said.
Thompson said some of the gymnasts looked tired before competing Friday night, and the coaching staff did their best to wake them up and get them ready to perform.
The Lions managed to shake it off and put up a solid score of 195.300.
No. 14 Loyola Chicago, after losing 3-1 to Penn State on Friday night, got knocked off on the road against St. Francis in five sets. St. Francis fell to Lewis 3-1 on Friday.
Ball State, another top 15 team, split its weekend. George Mason beat the Cardinals on Friday, but Ball State held on in five sets against Sacred Heart on Saturday. George Mason fell to IPFW, who lost to Sacred Heart on Friday. Very confusing.
Ohio State defeated Juniata four sets, while Rutgers-Newark won both its matches with wins over NYU and D'Youville. Rutgers-Newark is off to a strong start at 4-0, dropping just one set so far in 2011.
Lots of splits between the EIVA and the MIVA this weekend. Penn State was the only team to win twice.
Final impressions on Iowa's 22-13 win over Penn State:
It was certainly a disappointing day for Penn State wrestling, as a packed house saw a lackluster effort from the Nittany Lions. The No. 8-ranked Hawkeyes came out with a fire in every match, and an early lead was too much to overcome.
It's not a coincidence they now have a 73-match unbeaten streak going. Iowa wrestlers compete for a full seven minutes, as they did today.
Coach Cael Sanderson, too, remains winless against Iowa in his career. He was 0-4 team-wise as an Iowa State wrestler, 0-3 as an Iowa State coach, and is now 0-2 against the Hawkeyes as Penn State's coach.
For a man who never lost a collegiate wrestling match, this one has to sting, and Penn State entered as the favorites and the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.
Andrew Long and Andrew Alton got upset at 133 and 141 pounds respectively, which many people didn't expect to happen. Also Quentin Wright didn't look strong in a 8-3 loss to Iowa's Grant Gambrall. Long and Alton both looked tired toward the end of their matches, and gave up some takedowns near the end because of their conditioning. As our reporter Brandt Gelman pointed out, Alton has won most of his matches a couple of minutes in by pins, so he was tested by a stronger Montell Marion. Marion hadn't started a Big Ten meet yet this year, but came up with a huge win for his team.
Wright and Alton, both wrestling in front of their hometown fan bases, were bested by some relentless Iowa wrestlers. Considering this was the biggest Rec Hall meets in both of their careers, this is a disappointment for the central Pa. natives.
This was Penn State's first loss on the season, as they had previously won all six of its meets against ranked opponents.
That's all from me, make sure to read Brandt Gelman and Mike Still's stories in tomorrow's Collegian.
Thanks for following along.
125: McDonough (Iowa) pins Morgan at the 4:12 mark, Dual: 6-0 Iowa
133: Ramos (Iowa) wins by decision, 3-2 over Long, Dual: 9-0 Iowa
141: Marion (Iowa) wins by decision, 11-9 over Alton, Dual: 12-0 Iowa
149: Molinaro (PSU) wins by decision, 10-3 over Ballweg, Dual: 12-3 Iowa
157: Taylor (PSU) wins by major decision, 12-4 over St. John, Dual: 12-7 Iowa
165: Janssen (Iowa) wins by decision, 6-2 over Kemerer, Dual: 15-7 Iowa
174: Ruth (PSU) wins by decision, 10-3 over E. Lofthouse, Dual: 15-10 Iowa
184: Gambrall (Iowa) wins by decision, 8-3 over Wright, Dual: 18-10 Iowa
197: L. Lofthouse (Iowa) wins by major decision, 17-6 over Ortega, Dual: 22-10 Iowa
285: Wade (PSU) wins by decision, 1-0 over Raising, Dual final: 22-13 Iowa wins
285 pounds: Wade vs. Raising, Wade wins by decision, 1-0 — Final dual meet score: Iowa 22, Penn State 13
Cameron Wade enters the center mat in a situation in which he knows he can't win the match for his team, but he can keep up a successful season with a win here. He enters as the No. 5-ranked grappler at 285, and will face Raising, an unranked junior from New Hampton, Iowa.
There's not been much action here, as these heavyweights haven't been doing much but handfighting in the center. It looks like Raising has a couple pounds on Wade, who usually weighs in significantly less than 285 pounds.
The first period ends with the score tied, 0-0.
Raising selects to start the period neutral to start the second period, and there hasn't been much action here. Greg Schutta, the wrestling reporter at The Bergen Record newspaper in New Jersey, refers to heavyweights who don't do much as "dancing bears" because there's not much going on in the match. This is exactly what's going on in this match.
Wade wisely decides to start the third period on bottom, and escapes about 25 seconds in to grab the lead. Raising is in on a leg on Wade, but the Twinsburg, Ohio native gets out of the attempt.
The match will end, as Wade holds on for a 1-0 win. Penn State will drop the match, 22-13, here at Rec Hall.
197 pounds: Ortega vs. Lofthouse, Lofthouse won by major decision, 17-6 — Dual score: Iowa 22, Penn State 10
Senior Luke Lofthouse, the No. 14 ranked Iowa wrestler, has a chance to clinch this dual meet for the Hawkeyes, as he goes up against junior Justin Ortega at the 197-pound weight class.
Ortega has made this match interesting so far — he's fought to keep it close despite Lofthouse getting three takedowns in the first period, after Ortega earned a nice reversal on the edge of the mat in front of coach Sanderson. Lofthouse will enter the second period up, 7-3. The senior from Iowa got a crucial escape and takedown in the final 10 seconds of the period.
Ortega escapes to move the match to 7-4 to start the period. The match is still in a position for Ortega to come up with a win, but he's going to have to be smart against the ranked senior. This would undoubtedly be the biggest win of Ortega's career, but he's going to have to be aggressive with his shots and display good defense.
Lofthouse has made that less likely with a nice shot on the left side of the mat, to move the match to 9-4. He has Iowa in a position to win this match, with the Rec Hall crowd very quiet.
The Hawkeye has now got four points straight, one for an escape, one for interlocking hands and two points for a takedown as he dragged Ortega's leg back into the circle. The only ones making any noise is the small contingent of Iowa fans sitting directly below press row. Now the score is 15-6, with Ortega giving up another takedown.
There's 30 seconds here now in the match, and Ortega looks pretty tired. The senior from Iowa keeps attacking toward the end of the match, and now has a takedown and Ortega down on his back. He won't get any back points, but he will get a bonus point for the Hawkeyes, moving the score to 22-10 in favor of Iowa, and clinching the match for Iowa.
184 pounds: Wright vs. Gambrall, Gambrall wins by decision, 8-3, Dual score: Iowa 18, Penn State 10
Grant Gambrall, the No. 16 ranked wrestler at the 184-pound weight class, will face off against Quentin Wright, currently ranked No. 6. Wright is still sporting a shoulder brace on his left shoulder as he's still recovering from the injury he suffered earlier in the season. This will be a good test to see how Wright is doing, and to see if his conditioning is where it should be. You shouldn't question that with a guy like Wright, but he's going up against a talented wrestler in Gambrall.
Gambrall earns a takedown at about the two-minute mark, and puts on a huge ride of Wright. He will go into the second period with a 1:15 riding time advantage and a 2-0 lead.
Wright chooses to start the period on bottom, and escapes really early to move within one point. He almost got a reversal, but Gambrall fought out of it. Wright tumbled out of another takedown nicely. Gambrall added some to his riding time, and another takedown to go into the third period leading, 4-2.
But Wright isn't looking good. He's down 7-2 now in the third period, 8-2 with the riding time advantage. I'm sitting next to Iowa's radio commentator, and he's not the most neutral guy. Some quotes here: "You gotta be strong out there tough guy." "Put some pressure on him for crying out loud."
Nonetheless, the match will end, 8-3, with a huge decision by Gambrall. That pushes Penn State into an eight-point hole with two matches to go. Definitely looking like Iowa is going to pull this win off. Not some good fight from Quentin Wright, the local product. I have to think his conditioning isn't where it should be.
174 pounds: Ruth vs. Lofthouse, Ruth wins by decision, 10-3, Dual score: Iowa 15, Penn State 10
Ed Ruth enters centerstage to Kanye West's "Dark Fantasy" and needs to be the spark for the Lions going forward. This should be exciting to watch, as Ruth has put on some good shows so far this season. With the Lions trailing by eight, Penn State needs to win three of the next four matches, and add in some bonus points, too.
Ruth, who enters with a 23-1 record, will take on No. 13 Ethan Lofthouse of Iowa. Lofthouse is also a freshman, so this'll be a battle of two talented freshmen.
Ruth, the Harrisburg native, gets two takedowns in the first period, as the score is 4-1 to end the period.
Ruth escapes to begin the period, and now after a 25-second scramble at the edge of the mat, he earns a takedown to move the score to 7-1. The Nittany Lion was draped over the back of Lofthouse at one point, and got out of a shot by Iowa, and did a good job of defense to scramble for the takedown. Lofthouse gets an escape to move the score to 7-2 and that'll end the period. Ruth has a 1:08 riding time advantage going into the final period.
Lofthouse gets the escape a couple of seconds into the period to move the score to 7-3. Ruth has the riding time advantage but he's going to need to need to get a couple more takedowns for a major decision.
With 15 seconds left he gets a takedown, now he should cut the Hawkeye loose to get the bonus points. The match ends, however, so Ruth will settle for a decision, 10-3. I thought there could've been a stall point awarded at the end, but the match will end without it.
165 pounds: Kemerer vs. Jenssen, Jenssen wins by decision, 6-2, Dual score: Iowa 15, Penn State 7
A pretty boring match so far, with no score with 1:10 left in the first period. Jenssen got whistled for a stall warning at about the 1:35 mark, but I think he can trust in his conditioning up to this point in the match.
Jenssen now has the leg of Kemerer, and converts on an ankle pick to ensure a takedown with one minute left. Kemerer almost got the escape as the period concluded, but he was one second too late. Jenssen put together a nice ride, building up a 45 second advantage in riding time, and picked up and threw Kemerer on a couple of occasions.
Jenssen will start the period on bottom, and escapes pretty early in to move the match score to 3-0. Kemerer finally had a nice shot with about 35 seconds left in the period, and was on the right leg of Jenssen, but he showcased some nice hips in order to get out of that. The period will end with the Hawkeye winning, 3-0.
Penn State's Kemerer will start the final period on the bottom, as he needs to escape early and get going on some takedowns. He escapes at the 1:35 mark, after the riding time advantage has moved to 1:16. Kemerer has made a couple of shots, but coach Sanderson is yelling at Kemerer, urging him to keep fighting.
As Jenssen was trying for a leg he was called for another stall, so that's another point for Kemerer. That moves the match to 3-2. But Jenssen finishes off a takedown to secure the match for the Hawkeyes. With the riding time advantage, that'll be a 6-2 win for Jenssen. That wasn't necessarily a must-win for PSU, but it certainly would've been big.
There's about three minutes left in intermission here, as Penn State finds itself down five points in the dual. This will be a test on freshman Jake Kemerer, to see if he can grab a win from No. 14 Aaron Jenssen at 165. You figure on wins from Ed Ruth at 174, Quentin Wright at 184 and Cameron Wade at heavyweight, but the 197-pound weight class could mean bonus points for Iowa. That means Penn State has to take care of business at 165. Big pressure for Kemerer, the freshman native of Greensburg.
Continue to follow along here for updates.
157 pounds: Taylor vs. St. John — Taylor wins by major decision, 12-4, Dual score: Iowa 12, Penn State 7
Looks like Taylor got poked in the eye early here, as play is stopped with 2:42 left in the first period. The Hawkeyes are going to need to do more than that to keep Taylor from a win here.
Funniest sign I've seen: "Sit down Brands!" Some Lions fans in the fifth row are holding that one up, in reference to coaches Tom and Terry Brands, the two coaches for Iowa. They are really fiery guys -- I witnessed the two of them almost get in a fight with former coach Troy Sunderland at the 2008 Big Ten wrestling tournament at the BJC.
Taylor gets a takedown at the 35 second mark, as he was relentlessly shooting on St. John, who isn't a pushover, ranked No. 14 at the 157-pound weight class. He's a freshman, with Taylor entering as a freshman after his redshirt year.
Taylor had St. John on his back momentarily with the tilt, but couldn't get any back points. Taylor has worked up a 1:14 riding time advantage on the Hawkeye wrestler.
In the middle of the mat on a restart, St. John was close to getting a reversal as he was sitting on top of Taylor as the Urbana, Ohio native tried to get St. John on his back. But now they'll remain wrestling, with the period ending as Taylor is up, 2-0. He has worked up a 2:25 riding time advantage after one period.
Taylor chooses the bottom position to start the period, and doesn't get the escape until one minute into the period. He then continues to shoot at St. John, and finally gets the takedown in the middle with about 50 seconds left in the match. St. John almost had the takedown for his own, but the wrestlers scrambled and Taylor came out on top. Make that 5-0 for Taylor.
This is proving to be a good match. Taylor has been the aggressive one, but hasn't necessarily dominated. Taylor will end the period up, 7-2,
With the third period starting, St. John escapes to move the score to 7-3. Now Taylor is calling for an injury timeout again as his eye appears to be bothering him once again. This is causing some anger from said fiery coaches from the Iowa side, as the Brands brothers are not happy with the officials. There's really no love lost between both of these programs. The Penn State fans are booing the heck out of the Iowa coaches — they are urging the Hawkeye coaches to sit down.
In the meantime, Taylor has move the match to 11-4 with another takedown, so that'll ensure a major decision with the riding time advantage. Amidst a chorus of boos, hoping for a stall call. That won't happen, but Taylor stays undefeated and gets the major decision at 157 pounds.
149 pounds: Molinaro vs. Ballweg, Molinaro wins by decision, 10-3 — Dual score: Iowa 12, Penn State 3
Looks like Mark Ballweg is going at 149 pounds despite being listed as a 141-pounder. I guess the Hawkeyes can afford to send out a smaller guy who is better defensively, to prevent Penn State from getting bonus points here.
Molinaro, the No. 5 wrestler at the 149-pound weight class, will take on Ballweg, a sophomore from Waverly, Iowa. His brother, Matt, is also on the team -- he's a senior.
Molinaro got an early takedown, picking up Ballweg and really overpowering him on the Penn State side of the mat. Nothing much else happens, as Molinaro builds up his riding time advantage to 2:01 after the first period. He leads 2-0.
Starting the period on bottom, Molinaro escapes quickly and gets a takedown right after that, getting a single leg on the left side of the mat. That moves the match score to 5-0 for the Barnegat, N.J. native. Molinaro now lets up the escape to Ballweg, and the sophomore had a leg on Molinaro, but didn't have the strength to get the takedown on the Nittany Lion.
They'll start neutral in the middle, as the officials do not let Ballweg get more time to work on the takedown. Molinaro overpowers Ballweg for another takedown before the end of the second period. It'll be 7-1 Molinaro going into the third period.
Ballweg starts down, and Molinaro cuts him loose right away to give away the escape. That's 7-2 now. Molinaro overpowers the Hawkeye again for a takedown, getting a come-from-behind shot to move the score to 9-2. After an escape, the score is 9-3, and Molinaro has about 40 seconds to get a takedown to get a major decision and bonus points for the Lions. Ballewg now has a double leg in the center, and just dies without any power, probably trying to stall a bit. The officials blow the whistle to neutral and Molinaro has about six seconds to get some bonus points. He's unable to, so Molinaro will take the win, 10-3, with the riding time advantage point.
No harm for the Hawkeyes there.
141 pounds: Alton vs. Marion — Marion wins by decision, 11-9, Dual score: Iowa 12, Penn State 0
Andrew Alton steps on to the Rec Hall mat for the biggest match in a Penn State singlet, needing to shift momentum back in favor of the Nittany Lions. Two early victories by the Hawkeyes has this crowd a bit stunned, as the crowd is real quiet in the beginnings of this match. Alton is the freshman sensation, bringing in a 24-2 record.
Long hasn't had much offense, he had a headlock on Marion but wasn't able to finish it off for a takedown. Two minutes into the first period, and there's no score here. Penn State's first three wrestlers haven't been too aggressive, as I expected Alton to be.
And at the 16.6 mark, Alton has the crowd at Rec Hall on its feet. He had Marion on his back and appeared close to a pin, but Marion sneaked out of it. This crowd really erupted here..pretty cool. So that'll be two points for a takedown and three near fall points, as Alton finishes the period up 5-1. That has to be a huge confidence boost for the freshman, as he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
Marion starts the period on bottom, and escapes to move the score to 5-2. Marion shot for Alton's leg, but the Mill Hall, Pa. native showcased some great hips being able to get out of the takedown. Now Marion shoots and gets Alton on a single leg, and he'll earn this takedown, moving the score to 5-4. Alton escapes after the restart, moving the score to 6-4 with about 45 seconds left. Now the two wrestlers are handfighting in the middle, as Alton is trying to shoot on the Hawkeye wrestler. Alton still hasn't been too aggressive here, as Marion has dictated the pace.
End of the second period, and the score is 6-4 with Alton on bottom. He escapes right away, but now there's a stall warning on Alton. Marion gets a takedown on the right edge with about 1:20 left in the period. Alton escapes, but now Marion has earned another takedown on a bear hug. Alton looks really tired here, and the wrestlers will restart in the middle with Marion on top. Alton somehow escapes, but that allows Marion an opportunity to get another takedown and take the match for Iowa.
Marion basically overpowered the tired Alton on the edge of the mat, to earn a crucial win for Iowa. The Hawkeyes could not have scripted this one up any better.
133 pounds: Long vs. Ramos — Ramos wins by decision, 3-2, Dual score: Iowa 9, Penn State 0
Here's one of the marquee matches of the day: Andrew Long, ranked No. 5 at 133, against Tony Ramos, a freshman ranked No. 10. No action yet through the first two minutes of the period. Actually the officials just whistled Ramos for a stall warning, after the crowd called for one for about a minute.
Ramos finally gets a high crotch with about 45 seconds remaining in the period, but Long fights out of it, and the wrestlers will start neutral in the center.
Long did a nice job to fight out of that, and the score will be even after one period.
Long starts the second period down, and doesn't have to fight too much for the escape. The Iowa wrestler must be pretty confident in his abilities to shoot on Long, an Iowa native. With about 1:12 left in the second period, Ramos squared up on a double leg on the side of the mat, and finally earned the takedown to put him up, 2-1. They'll start back up in the middle and Long earns the escape about five seconds later. The score is now tied, 2-2, with 30 seconds left. Haven't seen much out of Long, but just as I type that, he was in on Ramos' right leg. It looked like he'd get the takedown, but Ramos slipped his leg out of Long's grasp to prevent the two points.
At the end of two periods, it's all tied up, 2-2. Ramos selects the bottom position to start, and escapes about 10 seconds in. That's surprising, Long is known for being a good wrestler on top. Looks like he's quite tired here. That puts Ramos up 3-2, here with a full period left. Riding time won't be a factor, as Ramos only has a four-second advantage.
Long now has one minute left to get a takedown, but it's Ramos who has the left leg of Long. Ramos is up in the air with it, and now 34 seconds left in the match, they'll start out neutral. The crowd is trying to will Long to a takedown, but he looks really gassed right now. They'll start neutral, and Ramos fights off a final attempt by Long.
That's a huge win for Ramos, and now Penn State has to think about getting bonus points to win this dual.
125 pounds: McDonough vs. Morgan — McDonough earns the pin at the 4:16 mark. Dual score: Iowa 6, Penn State 0
This match is supposed to be a wash for the Nittany Lions, as last year's national champion, Matt McDonough will take the mat first for the Hawkeyes. The Lions sent out Morgan, a Nebraska native, to try and prevent some bonus points.
In the first period, McDonough led 8-3 on four takedowns, and earned the pin of Morgan at the 4:16 mark. McDonough put the freshman in a cradle, and got the pin about 30 seconds later. The Rec Hall crowd is quiet, but it's likely the fans will get pretty roudy with some good matches upcoming.
The atmosphere is insane at Rec Hall today, for the biggest dual meet of the year — Penn State vs. Iowa. This is sports editor Stephen Hennessey taking you through the matches of the afternoon, starting at 125 pounds.
For Iowa, it'll be Matt McDonough, the No. 2 wrestler in the country. He's 14-1 on the year so far.
Penn State sends out Nate Morgan, who will see his first action of the year.
A few offensive rebounds by Penn State are melting valuable time off the clock. Trogele's on the line, and this one looks like it's in the books. She hits both shots. PENN STATE DEFEATS NO. 24 OHIO STATE, 80-71.
Trogele makes the free throw to put the Lions up by nine. Prahalis makes two foul shots for the Buckeyes. Bentley returns for the Lions with four fouls. Nickson makes a pair of free throws. Two more FT by Trogele push Penn State's lead to 72-61. Nickson gets free down low, receives a pass from Bentley and makes the bucket while drawing yet another foul. She missed the free throw. Lavender grabs an offensive board before being fouled. She hit both free throws. Gray throws up a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. The ball bounced off the rim, rolled on the top of the backboard and fell in for a good basket. Penn State leads 77-66 with 3:27 remaining.
Greene gets a putback layup, and Trogele converts a 3-point play the next time down the floor. Ohio State responded to both baskets, and the Penn State lead is eight. Trogele grabs the ball from Lavender, but the referees called it a foul. That was the Lions' seventh foul, so Ohio State is in the bonus. Greene gets a layup from the left block and is fouled. She missed the free throw, which was the Lions' first miss from the charity stripe. They're 13-of-14. Bentley picks up her fourth foul with more than nine minutes left to play. She heads to the bench and Lucas checks in. Trogele comes up with a timely bucket, and she was fouled. She'll be shooting to try and finish the 3-point play after the media timeout. Penn State leads, 67-59, with 7:16 left.
Lucas finds some space in the corner and hits a 3-pointer. Prahalis has lost track of Lucas for just a split-second the last two Penn State possessions. Both times Lucas made OSU pay by sinking a shot from downtown. Greene adds another basket, and Penn State is back up by 10. Lucas hits another 3 after a screen forced the Buckeye defenders to switch responsibilities. The Buckeyes get five straight points to cut the Penn State lead to 56-48. Lucas lobs a pass to Trogele in the post. The senior laid the ball in for her second bucket of the game. Penn State leads 58-51 with 11:49 left.
Greene travels during the first possession of the 2nd half. Gray was left hopping up and down on the left wing, as she called for the ball. Instead, Nickson received a pass in the post and drew a foul while shooting. She made both foul shots. Two more fouls shots by Bentley push the Lions' lead back to 10 points. Hill responds by getting a basket while drawing a foul for OSU. She made the free throw to cap the 3-point play. Prahalis hits a jumper and it's back to a five-point game. Bentley has to throw up a 3 with the shot clock about to expire and she drew air. Prahalis scores two more points from the foul line. Bentley responds with a jumper. Penn State leads, 45-40, with 15:46 remaining.
So far, fouls have prevented some Lions from getting into a rhythm. Trogele, Greene, Lucas and Nickson each have two fouls. Bentley and Lavender each have 16 points. Lucas is being guarded closely at all times, but she's managed to hit 3-of-4 3-pointers for nine points.
Lavender makes both free throws following the timeout. Nickson get her shot blocked by Lavender after trying to work against the OSU center. Lavender gets another basket down low to pull OSU within nine. A 3 by Brittany Johnson caps a 9-0 Ohio State run. Penn State's lead, once at 13, is now just four points. Prahalis fouls Bentley, who makes both free throws. The Lions are now in the bonus. Ohio State gets a generous call with a charge issued to Trogele. Looked like a flop from up here. Ohio State is back on the line after East picks up her first foul. After OSU converts the free throws, Bentley draws a shooting foul at the other end of the court with 7.1 seconds left. First shot is good. Second is good, as well. Ohio State misses a 3 to end the half. Penn State leads, 39-33, at halftime.
Bentley hits a jumper, and Lucas follows with another 3-pointer. The freshman is 3-of-3 shooting, with each shot from behind the arc. Talia East enters the game for the first time. Lavender gets behind the defense again for an open layup, causing Penn State to take a timeout. The Lions lead, 31-22. Gray finds a lane to the basket and lays the ball in. Penn State leads, 35-22, with 3:29 left in the half.
Greene takes Lavender to the bucket, misses, but grabs the rebound and converts. The Buckeyes get a pair of free throws to pull within three, but Greene gets another bucket to push the Penn State advantage back to five. A pump fake by Nickson draws Lavender into a foul, her first. Nickson makes both foul shots. Bentley drives to the left baseline and pulls up for a good jumper. Prahalis makes one of two free throws. Greene fouls Lavender on the Buckeyes' next possession. The OSU center makes both foul shots. Penn State leads 26-20 with 7:26 left in the half.
Maggie Lucas enters the game for the Lions. Both teams exchange baskets before Lucas hits a 3 to put the Lions up, 13-11. Lavender ties it with another open layin, but Nickson responds with a putback basket for the Lions. Lucas appeared to have a steal and fastbreak opportunity, but she was whistled for a foul. Following a steal by Wolfe, Bentley finds Lucas for a transition 3-pointer. Penn State is up 18-15, with 11:54 remaining in the first half.
The Lions win the tip and work the ball down low to Greene. She starts the game strong with a left handed hook shot. Ohio St. responds with a 3-pointer by Hill. Lavender runs the floor and converts a layup to put the Buckeyes up by three. Two free throws by Bentley bring the Liosn within one point. Lavender's left open by the PSU defense, and she gets another basket. Trogele gets her first points of the game with a jump shot. The PSU senior then got a steal, took it down the left side of the court and found a cutting Bentley, who laid it in. Ohio State responded with a basket. Ohio State leads, 9-8, with 15:45 left in the first half.
We're moments away from the start of today's matchup between the Lady Lions (17-5, 6-2 Big Ten) and No. 24 Ohio State (13-7, 4-4). The Buckeyes have defeated Penn State 11 straight times.
Ohio State starters:
G Samantha Prahalis
G Tayler Hill
G Brittany Johnson
F Ashley Adams
F Jantel Lavender
Penn State starters:
G Zhaque Gray
G Alex Bentley
G/F Julia Trogele
F Mia Nickson
F Nikki Greene
The Daily Press in Victorville, Calif. reported last weekend that Candice Agee verbally committed to play for Coquese Washington and the Lady Lions.
Agee is a 6-foot-6 junior center for Silverado High School. She's averaging 17.1 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game and 6.6 blocks per game this season.
Though the center has yet to visit Penn State in person, she is expected to officially join the Lions when the early signing period begins for the Class of 2012. Agee told the Daily Press she likes the fast-paced style of play Penn State displays.
Agee is the first recruit the Lions' have landed in the Class of 2012.
0-Points scored by Wisconsin's bench in Penn State's upset victory. However, it's not as if the Lions did much better as they got only four points from their bench -- all from Jermaine Marshall.
2- Amount of points Talor Battle scored in the first half. He finished with 22 after taking over in the second half. The senior guard finished 7-for-16 from the floor including three big 3-pointers and five free throws. It was his sixth 20+ scoring performance this season.
4- Amount of 3-point attempts and misses by Wisconsin's Jon Leuer. The lengthy Leuer is a deadly shooter and Badgers coach Bo Ryan said he had plenty of open looks Saturday with time to set up. The shots just didn't fall for the Badgers' big man.
5- Rebounds by Battle. The guard played very physical on the glass late in the second half to make sure the Lions got the ball on a number of Wisconsin misses. His ability to push around the big guys down low was a difference maker.
7- Points scored by Badgers not named Leuer, Taylor or Nankivil. Wisconsin's other two starters scored only seven points while the bench went scoreless. This let the Lions' defenders key in on those three shooters. Again however, Penn State wasn't much better as the Lions got only 12 points from players not named Jackson, Battle or Brooks.
8- Missed free throws by Penn State. The Lions had been shooting 96 percent from the charity strip in their last four games -- 44-for-46. However, PSU shot 12-for-20 against Wisconsin. Drew Jones missed four free throws, while Battle missed three. But up by only three in the final minute, Battle hit a big free throw to secure the victory.
9- Halftime deficit against Wisconsin after the Badgers dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. But over the next 20 minutes, Penn State fought back and eventually pulled out the upset. The Lions shot better than 63 percent in the second half, compared to 33 in the first. After allowing Wisconsin to shoot 54 percent in the first, the Lions held them to 32 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes.
14- Rebounds by Drew Jones. The senior center was a monster on the glass, and he was a main reason why Penn State won the rebounding battle. The Lions started poorly on the boards, but they significantly improved as the game went on.
70- Career blocks by Jeff Brooks after picking up two more against Wisconsin. Those two blocks gave him 36 on the season, and he now sits at No. 8 on Penn State's all-time block list.
2003- The last time Penn State defeated Wisconsin. While the Lions have upset teams like Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue in recent years, they have not been able to find an answer for the Badgers. That's all in the past now as the Lions will be riding a one-game winning streak against UW on Feb. 20 when the two meet again in Madison.
14,292- Amount of fans at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday. It was a great atmosphere, and the players seemed to really feed off of the energy. Despite the weather, fans came out to wait in line for a chance to see their team upset another ranked opponent. The Lions didn't let them down, and the fans are to thank for that.
That'll do it for our coverage. Penn State will take on No. 7 UC Irvine and No. 13 CS Northridge next weekend.
8:28 Sunder puts down the kill after Del Valle comes up with two great digs. Nittany Lions win it 25- 19.
8:26 Timeout Lewis as Penn State goes up 23-19.
8:25 Big block by Goas and Mars, 21-18 Penn State.
8:22 Lewis reels off three straight to cut the lead to 19-17, timeout Lions.
8:19 Olsen another kill then a ball hit out by Lewis forces a timeout for the Flyers, 19-14 Lions.
8:17 Gallik the kill for Lewis, but Sunder gets the kill off a block that goes out of bounds, now 16-13.
8:14 Olsen a kill then a service error by Penn State, now 12-10 Penn State.
8:12 Turko gets his fifth kill, and a ball off the antenna by Lewis makes it 9-8 Lions.
8:10 Kegerreis with the kill and Mars registers his fifth after a Lewis kill. 6-5 Lions.
8:08 Pair of kills by Sunder, now 4-3 Nittany Lions.
8:05 Third set underway, Petty with a kill for Lewis makes it 2-0 Flyers.
7:53 Sunder with a kill to end the second set 25-19. The ball looked like it was going out but was tipped by Lewis' libero to end it. Penn State goes up 2-0 going into the intermission.
7:52 Covello comes on to serve for Penn State and Lewis gets a kill. 23-18 Lions.
7:49 Mars tallies his fourth kill and Kegerreis gets another, now 22-15 Lions.
7:46 Sunder gets another kill, his 8th, Penn State goes up 16-12. Hitting error by Lewis and another Sunder kill makes it 18-12.
7:44 Olsen gets his fifth kill and Turko with a another kill makes it 14-10 Penn State.
7:41 Del Valle with two great digs but Lewis gets the point. Block by Flick for Lewis and it's 9-8 Lions. Turko and Kegerreis get the block after Olsen puts down the kill on the overpass to put the Lions on top 11-8. Flick gets the kill to cut the deficit to two.
7:39 A kill up the middle and an ace, both by Sunder, and Penn State goes 8-6 and Loyola takes a timeout.
7:37 Sunder the kill and Penn State takes the lead, 7-6.
7:35 Olsen with his third kill knots at at four.
7:33 An ace and two kills by Lewis and it's 3-1, but Sunder with the kill makes it 3-2.
7:28 Olsen wins the battle at the net as Penn State takes the first set, 26-24.
7:27 Goas hits the serve too far, 24-24. Service error by Lewis makes it 25-24.
7:25 Petty hits the serve long, timeout Lewis.
7:24 Sunder blocked by Gallik, but comes back with the kill to make it 23-21. A kill by Petty, 23-22. Ace by Petty makes it 23-23. Timeout Lions.
7:22 Two kills and a service ace and Lewis had cut the lead to 22-20. Timeout Nittany Lions.
7:20 A kill by Olsen and an error by Kegerreis and the score is 21-17 Lions.
7:16 Service error by Lewis to put the Lions up 4, 18-14. Kegerreis with the kill to make it 19-15 and Covello will come on for Mars to serve. Kegerreis with another kill as Lewis takes a timeout at 20-15.
7:13 Turko with a kill to make it 13-11. Back row block on Lewis and the score it 14-11 Nittany Lions. Olsen the ace puts Penn State up 15-11. Another good serving run here by Olsen, his second of at least three.
7:11 Two aces by Sunder puts Penn State up 10-7. Kill by Lewis makes it 10-8.
7:09 A block and kill by Mars puts Penn State up. Kegerreis with a kill makes it 8-7.
7:07 Team's trade kills to make it 5-4 Lewis.
7:05 Three straight kills for Lewis ties it at 3-3.
7:03 Goas with the block to make it 1-0. Sunder puts it down on the overpass to make it 2-0. Goas on the overpass to make it 3-0. Olsen on a nice run serving here.
Penn State goes with the same lineup as last night, Goas, Sunder, Mars, Kegerreis, Turko, Olsen, and Del Valle at libero to start.
Lewis goes with Boldog, Muesenfechter, Gallik, Flick, Petty, Karbiener and Torres-Davis to start.
In 2010, Penn State traveled to Chicago and defeated the Flyers 3-1. Joe Sunder had 20 kills hitting at .273. Edgardo Goas dished out 65 assists for the Nittany Lions, while Dennis Del Valle had 17 digs.
Collegian men's volleyball writer Steven Petrella will be giving live updates throughout the match so stay tuned.
Welcome to Rec Hall for this nonconference matchup between No. 9 Penn State and Lewis.
Battle was the story down the stretch for Penn State today during its huge win. On offense, he made play after play for the Lions as he wanted the ball when it mattered. He had a giant assist on a Drew Jones dunk and he had a number of big shots. On defense, he pulled down three aggressive rebounds in the last five minutes. This is a gigantic win for Penn State that keeps its dreams alive of making the NCAA Tournament. The fans were a huge factor and they were on their feet for mostly all of the second half. The PA Announcer, expecting a victory, requested that fans don't rush the court after the game. It was made with 26.1 seconds left. The fans booed. HUGE win by Penn State. One of the Nittany Lions' biggest wins in recent memory.
Penn State 46, Wisconsin 42: 4:16 left in second half
The story this half has been the relationship between the Lions and their fans. Battle, Brooks and the rest of the players are really relying on this large crowd to fire them up and its working. Down by two, Battle nails a long 3-pointer to give Penn State a one point lead. Then, on the next possession, Brooks hits a huge 3-pointer as well which sends the crowd into a frenzy. Both Battle and Brooks run back on defense and gesture for the fans to get loud and on their feet. We're in the middle of a timeout here and the stands are packed and cheering. It's a rare scene for a Penn State basketball game to have this atmosphere and the players and fans are making the most of it.
Wisconsin 40, Penn State 40: 7:05 left in second half
Billy Oliver called for an offensive foul and DeChellis is ANGRY. The coach jumped a good three feet to the side in shock on the call, and it takes him a good minute or two to get into the huddle as he is in disbelief on the sideline. After taking the lead on a Talor Battle 3-pointer, Penn State controlled the next few minutes. But Wisconsin tied it up with its own long ball after Penn State left Nankivil wide open on the outside. Time is winding down and Penn State is going to need a stellar final seven minutes to get the win -- and stay on the Tournament Bubble.
Wisconsin 35, Penn State 35: 11:10 left in second half
Penn State is feeling it and so are the fans. Talor Battle is playing electric right now and he's urging the crowd to stay on their feet. Down by two, Penn State tied the game on a beautiful play by Battle and Frazier. With time winding down on the clock, Battle called for the isolation with the much bigger Leuer on him. He stepped in and found Frazier in the wing, who drove to the basket and made a powerful layup in traffic. This play on offense has translated on defense where Penn State is playing much tougher down low and battling hard for every play. A light has gone off on the PSU sideline and the players are starting to realize the importance of an upset against Wisconsin. It's going to be crucial for the Lions to keep the pace up and keep the crowd in the game. Battle and crew seem to be really feeding off of it.
Wisconsin 35, Penn State 33: 12:19 left in second half
Battle has come alive with Penn State's last seven points. A pair of layups and a big 3-pointer bring the Lions within only two points. The crowd is starting to come alive and the players are feeding off of it. Penn State is becoming more of a presence on the boards, and they are playing with a purpse over the last few minutes. They are playing fast and they are playing aggressive.
Wisconsin 31, Penn State 26: 15:56 left in second half
The BJC is on their feet and the loudest its been all seasn after a big dunk by Drew Jones on a nice pass by Tim Frazier. Earlier in the play, Frazier got a big offensive rebound after Brooks tipped the ball. He kicked it out to Battle, who took and missed a long 3-pointer. That dunk by Jones cut the lead down to five points, but Wisconsin is going to the line after this timeout. Earlier in the half, Brooks and Battle each hit baskets. The two of them need to take over this second half for Penn State to win today. It's going to be a defensive slugfest for the next 16 mintues, and the Lions need to capitalize on any extra opportunities they can get.
Penn State is down by nine at the half, but it could be a lot worse. The Lions are having a tough time matching up with Wisconsin's length and its evident on the boards as PSU has only six defense rebounds. The combination of Leuer and Taylor have been giving Ed DeChellis' defense fits all game. The two have combined for 22 points -- two more than Penn State has all together. The Badgers have been able to find an open man on nearly every possession as they have been taking their time rotating the ball around. On offense, Talor Battle has been fairly silent all game. A big reason is because of Taylor's defense, but if Penn State wants to come back and win, Battle will need to get going. He only has two points while taking only five shots. Most of the offense has centered around D.J. Jackson, who has seven shots and eight points -- thanks to back-to-back silky smooth 3-pointers. Let's see how Battle and Jeff Brooks come out to start the second half as the Lions need a run, and they need those two guys to facilitate it. We are minutes away from the start of the second half.
Wisconsin 29, Penn State 20: End of first half
I said Penn State would be lucky if they could get it under five. Well, it's 29-20, and that's about fair given the way Wisconsin has rebounded and produced late in the shot clock. I'll be handing it over to Alex for the second half. Thanks for reading.
Wisconsin 26, Penn State 20: 50 seconds left first half
A harmless scoreboard malfunction has turned into a malfunction of the clock and the horn. The officials are sorting it out with 50 seconds to go in the first half.
At least on the glass, Penn State has looked like a completely different team than it was in the first 10 minutes of the game, and those boards are translating to the scoreboard, too. Transition baskets, usually start with a good rebound and outlet pass, and that's what led to Jermaine Marshall's layup to cut the score to four.
Jeff Brooks' block from behind had the arena as loud as it's been all day, and Jackson had another open 3, to make it louder and missed. The Badgers lead is six.
Wisconsin 24, Penn State 17: 3:49 to go first half
D.J. Jackson's back to back 3-pointers have this crowd finally going. A tough thing to do given the way Wisconsin plays offense. The Badger's methodical ball movement lulled the BJC to sleep for about 15 minutes of game time. Those 3s cut the lead to seven, and if Penn State can get it under five at half, the Lions should consider themselves lucky, given the way they have rebounded.
Wisconsin 22, Penn State 11: 6:42 to go first half
-Battle finally breaks free from Taylor to receive the ball at the top of the key, before hitting a runner from eight feet. Like, I predicted early, he's getting the ball to start the possessions now, and it makes sense because of all the stress Wisconsin is putting on denying him the ball.
-Jordan Taylor hits a huge three at the shotclock buzzer with the fans finally starting to come alive. Penn State has been switching in its man-to-man defense, leaving Taylor to be guarded in a mismatch by Billy Oliver. He chose to pass, before eventually receiving it back for the wide-open longball from the top of the key.
-Some of the Penn State big men could take a lesson from Jermaine Marshall. He draws a foul on a textbook box out, where the Wisconsin defender pulled the back of his jersey because he had perfect position. Athleticism alone won't get rebounds, especially today against a very long Wisconsin team.
Wisconsin 17, Penn State 5: 10:19 to go first half
-Wisconsin is running the offense I used to run in high school. We called it "41." I'm not sure what Bo Ryan is calling it. Basically, here's the scheme. They've been running a shell on the perimeter with four guys and putting one guy in the paint, rotating as the ball swings. When he gets the ball, the other players from the perimeter cut to the hoop, and that's how Jordan Taylor has all six of his points. The key to defending that gameplan is having a guy who can go 1-on-1 with Wisconsin's big man in the paint. If you have that, you can't fall asleep on the perimeter. So far Penn State has fallen asleep and the back cuts are killing them. It's Wisconsin up early, 17-5.
-Also, Penn State is getting out-rebounded, 9-2, and yup, it's as bad as it sounds. Wisconsin is doing a phenomenal job blocking out when Penn State has the ball, and the Badgers' spacing on offense makes it difficult to account for everyone when they're on offense. In fact, after Wisconsin misses, the Badgers have three boards, Penn State has two. That's a bad, bad stat for Penn State fans.
Wisconsin 9, Penn State 5: 14:41 left first half
-It's a defensive struggle early. Neither team is making it easy around the rim. With a three-point play, Jeff Brooks cut WIsconsin's six-point lead in half, but even then, Brooks was knocked to the ground on what was eventually called a block. It looks like it's going to be difficult for the Lions to score down low, but with Wisconsin's length, there won't be many opportunities from the perimeter either.
-Jordan Taylor is doing a phenomenal job of denial on Talor Battle. DeChellis may have to reconsider, letting Battle take the ball up the floor.
-A huge conference game is about to tip off. I've been saying this whole conference season that Penn State needs 11 conference wins to reach the tournament. It's a stretch, but that number is absolute. The Nittany Lions also have no shot at 11 if they lose today because of their very difficult schedule down the stretch.
-Jordan Taylor capitalizes on Wisconsin's first possession down low, as Wisconsin is spreading the floor. That is very typical of a Bo Ryan coached team. Leuer also scores for Wisconsin, so it's 4-0. He's probably the Badgers most versatile scoring threat, so the Lions counter with their most athletic player. Jeff Brooks is guarding him.
Good afternoon Penn State sports fans, we've got what should be a thrilling game about to tip off at the Bryce Jordan Center. It's a great weekend to be a Nittany Lions fan living in Happy Valley with a colossal showdown against PSU's and Iowa's wrestling teams tomorrow. But in the meantime, we're set for a great game here at the BJC today. After taking care of Iowa earlier in the week, Penn State is facing the No. 17 Wisconsin Badgers today, and the Lions need a big win to stay on the NCAA Tournament bubble. With a daunting schedule up ahead, Penn State is going to defend its home court and pull out today's game. The Lions are still a long way away from making the Tournament, but a victory against a ranked Wisconsin team would be a step in the right direction.
Wisconsin is one of the most consistent teams in the Big Ten, and it enters today's contest 15-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Led by Jon Leuer, the Badgers run a very simple, methodical offense that doesn't make many mistakes. Leuer is averaging over 19 points per game, which is good enough for third in the Big Ten. Stopping him will be the key to this afternoon's game. The starting lineups are about to be announced and today's game is almost underway. Stay tuned for full updates throughout the entire game...
A great weekend here for sports in Happy Valley with both the men's basketball and wrestling team hosting huge home matchups.
Coquese Washington doesn’t care if Ohio State has already lost seven games this season, two more than all of last season.
In the eyes of Penn State’s coach, the Buckeyes still set the standard in the Big Ten.
“They struggled a little bit so far in conference play, but I think [former Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers coach] Rudy Tomjanovich said it: ‘Never underestimate the heart of a champion.’ And in my book, they’re still the Big Ten champions until somebody knocks them off,” Washington said at her weekly press conference on Wednesday.
The Lady Lions (17-5, 6-2 Big Ten), who moved into a four-way first-place tie with their 67-65 win Thursday night at Illinois, host the No. 24 Buckeyes (13-7, 4-4) at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
After becoming the first men or women’s basketball team to win six straight Big Ten titles last season, the Buckeyes have struggled at times this season. They dropped three non-conference games, including a 31-point romp at the hands of Connecticut, and four Big Ten games, including two to Michigan.
They arrive in Happy Valley coming off a 69-66 home loss to the Wolverines Thursday night.
Despite that, Washington said Sunday’s game will be a tough matchup for her team.
“They’ve lost some games but they’re still a very good team,” Washington said. “They’ve had their struggles this year in a lot of ways, but I’m looking at Ohio State and we’re preparing for the best Ohio State team. That’s the team I expect to see in the BJC on Sunday.”
Lavender was voted the Big Ten Player of the Year in each of her first three seasons at Ohio State, and at 6-foot-4, will pose a challenge for the Lady Lions foul-prone center Nikki Greene.
“She’s one of the best finishers in the country,” Washington said of Lavender. “She has a knack for getting the ball in the basket. She runs the floor extremely well. And she’s got a great point guard who knows how to find her, who knows how to get her the ball where she wants it, when she wants it.”
Said Greene on Lavender: “She’s a big post player in the Big Ten. I guess for me to prepare for that game I have to watch film on her, scout her moves and learn her moves and try to counter her to another alternative moves. Make her shoot high post shots or defend her really well so she won’t go off and score her average.”
In last year’s game at the BJC, the Lady Lions led for most of the game, at one time by 15 points. But a late 17-4 run by the Buckeyes proved costly. Washington said her team played 34 or 35 good minutes before running out of gas in that Feb. 7, 2010 game, their 11th straight loss to Ohio State.
On Sunday, they hope to break that losing streak.
“I know we’ll be ready to play,” Washington said. “I know we’ll be ready to give them our best effort. Hopefully we’ll come away with a W.”
And this ends out broadcast day. We will see you again tomorrow as the Lions play Lewis, same time, same place.
Final note: Scott Kegerreis wins the Mike Anderson player of the match (Nice pick by the Collegian crew)
8:53 The Lions play Survivor, win the fourth set and the match 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-20 29-27)
8:52 The Lions have their first match point at 28-27
8:51 And Loyola's up 27-26...
8:50 Well this has certainly woken the crowd up, tied again
8:49 This kind of came out of nowhere. Lions thought they had the match in the bag, 25-24 Ramblers
8:48 Loyola now has a set point at 24-23
8:46 Oh yea, Jace Olsen's still here. He gets a solid kill, 22-19 Lions
8:44 After a bit of a scare, Sunder gets a point for the Lions with a kill. Loyola utterly refusing to quit though. 19-17 Penn State
8:42 Got to high on themselves Penn State did, Pav calls a timeout to settle the troops, Lions up three at 18-15
8:40 Sunder's going to get the Mike Anderson Penn State player of the match, but Scott Kegerreis has been phenomenal tonight. 18-14 Lions
8:38 After the Lions win five straight points, Loyola finally gets back on the board. It's now 15-10 Lions
8:36 Sign of a superior team...Lions have some trouble in the first set but take care of business at the intermission, Loyola can't react quick enough. 12-9 Penn State
8:35 Ace for Kegerreis, Turko with a kill, Lions have their first lead of the set, 11-9 Penn State
8:34 Penn State comes within one and then loses one, has happened since it was 6-5 Loyola, it's now 9-8 Loyola
8:31 Timeout Loyola, State has won two straight points with the last coming on a Sunder kill, 6-4 Ramblers
8:30 Trouble afoot, Lions down four early, Hendries in for Mars, 6-2 Loyola
8:28 Kegger with the kill to give Penn State its first point of the set, 4-1 Ramblers though
8:26 Early timeout for the Lions as they trail 3-0 in the set
8:25 First point of the fourth set goes to Loyola
8:21 Penn State wins the second set 25-20, takes a 2-1 lead
8:19 Penn State one point away from being one set away from being one win better, 24-19 Lions
8:17 Turko and Olsen at the net for the block, 21-16 Penn State
8:15 Kill, Kill, KILL! Sunder knocking em dead. 18-13 Penn State
8:13 Muchos betteros playos at the nettos, 16-12 Pennos Statos
8:12 Loyola's Mike Bunting gets his first kill since the first set, 13-10 Lions
8:10 Errors from the Lions letting Loyola come back, 12-9 Penn State. Timeout
8:07 The ace of spades! Two straight aces for Goas, 9-2 Lions
8:06 Thunderous Sunderous, Joe's racking up the kills, 7-2 Lions
8:05 Alan Mars with his fourth kill of the match, 6-2 Penn State
8:03 Lions looking cat-like, up 5-1 in the third set. Timeout Loyola
8:01 Twenty minute point finally ends with a Sunder kill, 3-1 Nittany Lions
7:59 The third set begins with a service error from Loyola
7:55 Sunder hitting at a .364 clip, Kegerreis at .471, Olsen at .333
7:51 Loyola's leader in kills in the first set, Mike Bunting, had zero kills in the second. Penn State kills leaders: Sunder with 12 and Kegerreis with 10
7:50 T-SHIRT TIME!!!
7:48 Petrella goes to the concession stand. In the words of Rex Ryan, Let's go get a ***damn snack. Intermission.
7:46 The Lions tie things up at one set a piece off Sunder's 11th kill of the match, take the second set 25-17
7:44 Someone turned the power on in Rec Hall. The energy has arrived, Lions look alive. 22-15 Penn State
7:43 The set is going back and forth...in terms of kills for Sunder and Kegerreis. 18-14 Nittany Lions
7:41 Scott Kegerreis with the kill, Penn State has its largest lead of the night, 17-12 Lions
7:38 Timeout Loyola as the Lions have control of the match, 15-11 Pav's People
7:36 Joe Sunder now tied for the match lead in kills with eight, Kegerreis only one behind at 7. Nevermind, he has 8. 13-9 Lions
7:34 Pav says something to I think Ryan Wolf, could be coming in soon. Lions still up though, 10-7 Penn State
*Reminder that this game is airing on the Big Ten Network, but that doesn't mean you should leave the blog. The BTN is awful anyway, much better insight here
7:31 Penn State has its largest lead of the night at 7-4, timeout Loyola.
7:28 There it is, a block at the net for Sunder, 3-2 Lions
7:27 Lions need a shakeup here if they want to avoid the upset and avoid losing to the Ramblers for the second straight year, 2-2 in the second set
7:22 Loyola takes the first set, 25-21. Errors abundant and energy not so much
7:21 The Lions look out of it, three points away from losing the first set, 22-19 Loyola
7:18 Timeout Lions as they trail the Ramblers 20-17, Pav trying to wake his team up
7:17 Mike Bunting of Loyola the leader in kills overall with six, Olsen and Sunder tied with four a piece, 19-17 Loyola
7:14 Loyola regains the lead and a timeout ensues for the Lions. 17-16 Loyola in a back-and-forth match
7:13 Olsen the early leader in kills for the Lions, he has four. 16-15 Lions
7:11 Penn State takes its first lead of the match since being up 1-0, 14-13 Lions. Timeout Loyola
7:10 Net violation on Penn State, Pav not pleased, chirping to the ref.
7:09 Penn State with a nice block, sadly for the Lions it goes out of bounds. Intensity is getting there...12-10 Loyola
7:06 Too early to tell, but the net play/blocking problems that plagued the Lions against Saint Francis seem to be here early. 8-7 Loyola
7:04 Nifty assist from Goas to Mars, Penn State still down one, 4-3 Loyola
7:02 Loyola takes the lead on a kill from Bunting, 2-1 Loyola, now 3-1
7:01 First point of the match goes to Penn State on a kill from Sunder, 1-0 Lions
Loyola's starters are Tommy Becker, Mike Hutz, Mike Bunting, Joseph Smalzer, Tim Frydendall, Eric Daliege and Domenic Dewaele
Penn State's starters are Edgardo Goas, Dennis Del Valle, Nick Turko, Jace Olsen, Scott Kegerreis and Joe Sunder.
Good evening Penn State volleyball fans, Collegian writer Joe McIntyre here to give as many updates as my internet will allow.
Tonight's game pits the No. 9 Nittany Lions against the No. 14 Ramblers in a non-conference matchup.
So far on the season, the Lions are 4-1 and 2-0 in the EIVA including two wins at home last weekend against Saint Francis and Springfield. Loyola is 4-0 and has yet to play a MIVA game. So far on the season Loyola has beaten Carthage, MSOE, Cardinal Stritch and Lindenwood.
Penn State is currently in the new 68-team NCAA Tournament field, according to at least one bracketologist's latest projection.
Jerry Palm, operator of CollegeRPI.com (a paid subscription site), has the Nittany Lions as a 12-seed in the East Region, which means the Lions would play in one of the new first-round play-in games.
Other noted bracket predictor Joe Lunardi currently has the Lions as one of his "Next Four Out," meaning the Lions are five to eight spots from securing the final spot in Lunardi's latest projection.
The Lions face off against Wisconsin at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lions have little room for error, and, with a number of tough road games left on the schedule, they really could use a quality win against a team like Wisconsin.
Penn State will take on two familiar foes this weekend at Rec Hall in No. 14 Loyola Chicago and Lewis. Last season, the Nittany Lions dropped a five set match to Loyola in Alumni Gym, a place head coach Mark Pavlik described as one of the best home court advantages in the country. Here's what to look for this weekend.
Players to watch
Penn State setter Edgardo Goas: The redshirt junior had 65 kills in three sets against Lewis last year and 67 against Loyola. Look for him to have a big weekend orchestrating an ever changing Penn State offense.
Loyola Chicago outside hitter Mike Bunting: A ,Pennsylvania native, Bunting is off to a strong start this season with 41 kills while hitting at .468. Bunting had 22 kills and hit at .364 in the Ramblers win over Penn State in 2010.
Lewis outside hitter Jay Petty: Petty has been on fire in 2011, putting down 64 kills and hitting at .454. Loyola also has two strong middle blockers in Aaron Flick and Matt Gallik who are both hitting over .400 on the season.
Keys to watch: Penn State's home court advantage could prove to be the difference in tonight's match. Loyola's alumni gym is one of the toughest places to play in the country with its low ceiling and close bleachers, so forcing Loyola Chicago to take an eight hour bus to State College to in the wide open Rec Hall could be a major factor.
Overlooking Lewis would be huge mistake for the Nittany Lions with No. 7 UC Irvine and No. 13 Cal State Northridge coming to town next weekend. Lewis hasn't lost this season and won all but one nonconference games against EIVA opponents last season.
The No. 23 Penn State women's gymnastics team takes a travel day today as they head to Florida for a tri-meet with No. 13 N.C. State and No. 1 Florida.
"Getting [to Florida] is an issue. It's an all day event," associate head coach Rachelle Thompson said.
While Florida may be a little off the beaten track for Penn State’s gymnasts, head coach Jeff Thompson is no stranger to SEC competition. He coached for 11 years at Auburn and faced Florida every season, compiling a 2-6 record since the 2003 season.
Based on his experience, Thompson said he expects a good atmosphere, with 4,000-5,000 people, including a small Penn State cheering section made up of several parents of gymnasts who are making the trip down for the meet.
After 11 years in SEC country, neither him nor his wife Rachelle will be complaining about the warmer weather in Gainesville either.
"It'll be a nice break for us from the cold weather. Especially for me," Rachelle Thompson said.
The focus won’t be on lounging in the sun however, it will be in the gym. The team will look to better its score and stay competitive with the No.1-ranked team in the country tomorrow night, and its result here could indicate how well the team will do going forward.
It Was Over When...: Drew Jones dunked the ball with 38 seconds left in the first half. The basket gave Penn State its first lead since four minutes into the game, and momentum it would never relinquish. The Lions struggled for nearly all of the first half, until they stormed to a 10-3 run heading into halftime. That run was capped off by Jones' dunk.
Player of the Game: Jeff Brooks. Yes, Talor Battle recorded another 20-point game — the 40th of his career — and provided plenty of highlights, including a beautiful 27-footer in the second half. But Brooks, who finished the night with 22 points, was one of the Lions' best players on the court the entire night. He was 8-for-13 from the field and tied a career-high with four 3-pointers. More than that, Brooks was consistent. When Penn State struggled for much of the first half, Brooks displayed energy. His blocked shot, which soared a few rows into the stands, in the first half was the first time the crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center really had a chance to cheer.
Stat of the Game: 53.2 percent. That was Penn State's field goal percentage at the end of the game, marking the Lions' third straight game where they shot better than 50 percent from the floor. The last time Penn State accomplished that feat in Big Ten play? February 1999.
Surprise of the Game: Penn State came out flat. The Lions allowed Iowa to lead by as many as 11 points in the first half. That's not what you would expect from a team that just split four games against ranked opponents.
Quotable: "I don't think we would have this game last year." - Coach Ed DeChellis on his team's resiliency to fight back from a sloppy first half performance. DeChellis said that he's not sure if last year's Lions — who finished the season 11-20 — could have fought back to win this type of game.
What's next: The Lions have a quick turnaround, as they host No. 17 Wisconsin at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Penn State men's gymnastics team has come a long way since the end of last season.
The No. 5 Nittany Lions placed fourth with a score of 345.550 at last year's NCAA championship qualifying round and failed to qualify for a chance to compete for the national title for the second consecutive year.
But that was the past.
After winning meets against Army and No. 6 Michigan and capturing its 13th West Point Open title, Penn State has left the past behind them and is focusing instead on the meets that lie ahead.
Sunday, the team will travel to Temple to take on Army in their second match-up this season. In the Jan. 8th meeting the then-No. 7 Nittany Lions defeated then-No. 15 Army 343.300-319.100, winning all six events and capturing five of the six individual titles.
Next up, select Nittany Lions will travel to Las Vegas to compete in the Winter Cup Feb. 3- 5.
Last season, seniors Nick Virbitsky and Matt Greenfield along with then freshman Scott Rosenthal made the trip across the country to compete against the nation's top gymnasts for spots on the U.S. Senior Team.
Penn State will return to dual-meet style competitions Feb. 12 against Springfield College and again on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 against No. 3 Illinois and No. 8 Ohio State respectively.
The team will then travel to Minnesota to take on No. 9 Iowa, a team Penn State hasn't competed against for over five years.
Penn State will then match up against a team that will seem all too familiar, Illinois, Mar. 19 to close its conference season.
Big Ten competition begins Apr. 1 in Champaign, Illinois with team and all-around finals and concludes Apr. 2 with individual event finals.
At the 2010 Big Ten men's gymnastics competition, the then No. 7 Nittany Lions posted a team score of 347.300 - barely edging out host Ohio State - to place third.
Penn State's season will come to a close with the 2011 NCAA championships Apr. 14- 16 in Columbus, Ohio, where the team hopes to improve from last year's fourth place finish and have a chance to compete for its 13th national championship title.
Welcome to The Daily Collegian’s new men’s gymnastics blog, Raising the Bar! I’m Dan Norton, and my partner Katie Montgomery and I are your Penn State men’s gymnastics reporters.
We will be using this blog as a channel for anything and everything happening on the mats. Men’s gymnastics boasts one of Penn State’s most loyal fan bases, and Katie and I know you all can’t get enough of your favorite Nittany Lion athletes. Therefore, we will serve as your liaison to the team, and maybe we can help you get to know Jepson’s Uglies a little bit better. (Don't worry, he's kidding.)
Katie and I already have a few good ideas. For example, we will now be grading the Lions’ performance in every event for the remaining two home meets and possibly more. And when the Lions are not competing, we will give you updates on their progress in practice. We’ll also be posting some more multimedia, like audio and video, so you feel as close to the action as possible.
We will continue to brainstorm throughout the season and see what kind of cool stuff we can get up on the blog for you. Feel free to post any suggestions or comments, too!
Penn State 63, Iowa 51 1:17 left in the second half
About to pack things up and head to the post-game press conference. Thanks for checking in, and make sure to read tomorrow's Collegian for full coverage of what should be another Big Ten win for the Lions.
Penn State 55, Iowa 48 2:57 left in the second half
Penn State takes a 30 second timeout.
No change in the score here, but just wanted to point out that the Lions are shooting exactly 50 percent from the field right now. Like I said pregame, if the Lions can finish the night shooting better than 50 percent from the floor, it will be the first time they've logged three-straight games of 50 percent or better of shooting since December 2005. The last time Penn State accomplished that feat in Big Ten play was February 1999. For context, Battle was just 11-years-old then.
Penn State 55, Iowa 48 3:06 left in the second half
Brooks hits a three -- this time, it's good -- and the Lions claim their largest lead of the night, ten points.
Yet the Hawkeyes won't let Penn State run away with this one. Exactly twenty seconds after Brooks' three, Gatens counteracts with his own shot from behind the arc to pull Iowa back within seven points.
Brooks and Battle are both having excellent offensive nights -- they've combined for 37 of Penn State's 55 points. But the rest of the Lions are stagnant.
Stat that should speak for itself: Iowa's bench has outscored Penn State's bench 11-2. That's not what you want.
Penn State 50, Iowa 45 5:47 left in the second half
But Penn State is letting Iowa hang around. Jones commits his third foul -- this one in the offensive zone -- to give the Hawkeyes the ball.
Battle watch: He's now up to 20 points. That marks Battle's 40th career 20-point game. Wow.
Penn State 48, Iowa 40 7:49 left in the second half
Media timeout, and the Lions seemed to have things figured out. They're shooting nearly 48 percent from the floor and have limited the Hawkeyes to just a 36.6 field goal percentage. Turnovers are still a problem, though, as Penn State has committed five more since halftime.
Penn State 45, Iowa 39 12:03 left in the second half
I'm not too good at math, nor am I good at estimating distance, time, or the number of people in a crowd, but Battle may have been 28 feet away on that 3-pointer he just made. Swished right through the net, too. The senior now has 15 points on the night. That was the first 3-pointer he has made in five attempts.
Jones, meanwhile, has quietly been having a solid night. He has accumulated nine points and nine rebounds. Should he get one more of each, he'll have his fifth career double-double.
Penn State 40, Iowa 36 13:11 left in the second half
Jackson is called for a foul in Penn State's offensive zone, and the senior is clearly not happy. He shrugs his shoulders, stands for a moment where the foul committed, then slowly plods down the court to play some defense. On the bench, looks like Oliver is about ready to check back in.
Penn State 37, Iowa 33 15:38 left in the second half
An awkward angle jumper by Jones followed by a layup by Frazier -- the sophomore's first points of the night -- puts the Lions up by four.
Media timeout, and a bunch of fans by the floor have averted their attention to Daryll.
Clark, the former Penn State quarterback, who is standing down at the corner of the court. Clark, sporting a purple plaid shirt, has been signing autographs and taking pictures with students since halftime.
Penn State 33, Iowa 30 17:20 left in the second half
Don't know why, don't know how, but Brooks is left wide open on the arc and the senior capitalizes -- hitting a huge three to give Penn State a four point lead, its largest lead of the night.
Scratch that.... After a long review, the shot is actually ruled a two-point basket. Penn State only has a three point lead, but still, its largest lead of the game.
The Lions hit their last five shots of the half to claim a one point lead. Very nice comeback, considering they were down by as many as 11 points and they finished the half with eight turnovers.
Battle and Brooks each have 10 points -- and that's about it for Penn State's scoring. Jones finished the half with five points while no other Lion recorded more than two.
Penn State did out-rebound the Hawkeyes 13-11, but, on par for the season, the Lions were a dreadful 2-for-8 from 3-point range.
Some keys for the second half: the Lions are going to need to get more players involved. Battle can't carry this team every night. Neither can Brooks. When Penn State was successful in its last four games against ranked opponents, all four seniors were putting up points. In fact, in that stretch, Jones, Battle, Jackson and Brooks each averaged double-digit figures.
The Lions are also going to need to take care of the ball. Eight turnovers in one half is clearly unacceptable, and it is a main reason Penn State trailed the Hawkeyes for so long.
HALFTIME: Penn State 29, Iowa 28
Wow, what an end to the half by the Lions. They go on a 10-3 run to enter halftime with momentum. I'm about to hit the concession stand -- Dollar Dog Night!! -- but I'll be back soon for some analysis.
Iowa 28 Penn State 27 1:38 left in the first half
On a fast break, Battle scores a layup and picks up a foul. Huge three-point play for Penn State, which is maybe coming alive? The Lions were trailing by as many as 11 points and now are just one-point behind the Hawkeyes. Crowd is feeling it. So is Battle, who looks into the stands, emphatically lets out a fist pump and encourages fans to cheer even louder.
Iowa 28 Penn State 22 2:15 left in the first half
Brooks scoops up a loose ball in Iowa's offensive zone to give the Lions the ball and a chance to cut the Hawkeyes' lead down after the break. Brooks' defense has been one bright spot for the Lions in this half. But like I said, there hasn't been much to get excited about. This does not look like a team that challenged Ohio State and Purdue on the road. Heck, this doesn't really look like a team that has realistic chances at an NCAA tournament berth right now. Not when they're playing like this.
Iowa 25 Penn State 17 4:39 left in the first half
Another Brooks block, another roar from the crowd. But that's about all they've been able to cheer for lately. Penn State is having an awful half. The Lions are now shooting just 33 percent and are an unsightly 1-for-7 in 3-point range. They've committed eight turnovers, which is the real reason they're behind by so many points to the Big Ten's worst team.
Now it appears senior Steve Kirkpatrick is set to enter the game. Kirkpatrick is a former-walk on and has seen very few minutes in Big Ten play so far.
Iowa 21 Penn State 17 6:15 left in the first half
A big rebound and tough layup by Jones breaks a nearly two minute scoring drought by both teams. Penn State's lineup is pretty interesting right now. Battle, Marshall, Woodyard, Battle and Jones. Not a lot of height there....
Iowa 21 Penn State 15 8:06 left in the first half
Momentum changer? Fran McCaffery leaves the Iowa bench and marches almost midcourt to argue with the ref. I'm assuming he's contesting Zach McCabe's foul in the offensive zone. McCabe took down Penn State's Billy Oliver in a drive to the basket.
Iowa receives a technical foul by the bench and Battle hits both free throws to pull the Lions within six.
Iowa 19, Penn State 10 10:44 left in the first half
Look out for Cartwright, he's on fire. The junior guard has accounted for nine of the Hawkeye's 19 points so far, and is 4-for-6 in field goals.
Meanwhile, sloppy play by the Lions. Really sloppy. Penn State has committed six fouls so far. Iowa has only two.
Iowa 16, Penn State 7 11:22 left in the first half
After Brooks' blocked shot, the Hawkeyes go on a 9-0 run and DeChellis is forced to take a timeout. The Lions are 3-for-6 from the floor, but have committed five turnovers. And Iowa has capitalized. The Hawkeyes are 7-for-12 in field goals and are spurred by six points and two assists from Cartwright.
Iowa 8, Penn State 7 14:05 left in the first half
Battle hit an off-balanced jumper to cut the Hawkeyes' three-point lead down to just one point.
On the following play, Brooks jumps up just inches from the basket to swat away an Iowa shot. The ball flies well past Penn State's bench. That got a nice cheer from the Bryce Jordan Center -- which, by the way, has filled up much more than I expected.
Iowa 6, Penn State 5 16:00 left in the first half
Bryce Cartwright hits an off-balance jumper at the shot clock buzzer -- to me, it looked like he was seconds away from pancaking flat on his back -- to give the Hawkeyes a one-point lead.
And we're underway. A layup by Brooks and a shot clock-beating jumper by Jackson puts the Lions ahead 4-2 early. That's 2-for-2 so far from the floor for Penn State. Should the Lions hit better than 50 percent from the floor again, it'd be a pretty big deal. The last time Penn State recorded three-straight games at 50 percent or better was in December, 2005. The last time the Lions did it in Big Ten Play? February 1999.
No surprises with Penn State's lineup. Ed DeChellis goes with his usual five: Talor Battle, Tim Frazier, Drew Jones, D.J. Jackson and Jeff Brooks.
Some stats that might play a factor in this game:
Penn State is playing at the BJC for the first time in 10 days. The Lions shot better than 50 percent from the floor in each of their last two games -- both against ranked opponents, and both on the road. Penn State has made 34-of-35 foul shots (97 percent) in its last three games. The Lions won the rebounding battle in each of their last four games.
Hey folks. Emily Kaplan here at the Bryce Jordan Center and I'll be live blogging tonight's game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
It's about ten minutes until 6:30 tip-off and there are plenty -- plenty -- of extra seats. Part of that can probably be attributed to the weather -- it's pretty awful outside. There's been a steady snowfall all afternoon and the streets are plain slush. It took me about 15 minutes to walk here from my on-campus dorm.
Fans that are here will be able to see what I consider a pretty interesting matchup. For Penn State, this is a must-win game. The Nittany Lions performed well above expectations in their school-record stretch of five-straight games against ranked opponents. After knocking off then-No. 18 Michigan State and then-No. 16 Illinois in back-to-back games -- the program's first consecutive wins over ranked opponents since 1954 -- Penn State lost to then-No. 2 Ohio State and then-No. 13 Purdue by a combined total of four points. Both of those games, I should add, were on the road in very hostile environments. At Value City Arena there were more than 18,000 scarlet and gray-clad fans cheering for the No. 1-in-waiting Buckeyes. On top of that, Ohio State recently moved their student section to directly behind the Penn State bench.
Now the Lions are 3-4 on the conference season, and if they have any chance for an NCAA tournament bid -- the team's ultimate goal for the season -- they're going to need to finish at least 9-9. That means they'll need to win the games they should win, and also win a few that they aren't expected to win.
This is a game Penn State should win.
The Hawkeyes are 1-6 in conference play and 8-11 overall this season. They recorded their first Big Ten win just last week.
Can the Lions keep up their momentum from a successful five-game stretch? Or will they be affected by a small crowd with little energy and play down to the level of their competition? Follow here live.
After a week off following devastating losses to Ohio State and Purdue, the Nittany Lions are back in action tonight against Iowa. In a must-win game for Penn State, the Hawkeyes shouldn't be too much of a problem if the Lions play like they have recently. However, Penn State hasn't had the best success against Iowa lately, and this could be a trap game. Here are some notes about the team the Lions are going up against tonight.
Over the past three years, Talor Battle and crew have gone 2-3 against the Hawkeyes. Last year, Penn State and Iowa met only once with the Hawkeyes winning at home, 67-64. Battle chimed in for 31 points and seven rebounds in a game that saw Penn State leading by as many as 11 points at one point in the first half. However, the one game against the Hawkeyes that best comes to mind is the heart breaker two years ago, which went into double overtime in Iowa. Penn State lost that game, 75-67, and its hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid died with the game. At that point, Penn State needed about one more win to make a statement before the Big Ten Tournament, while Iowa was an afterthought with only four conference victories. Going even further back, Iowa has won 14 of the last 19 meetings between both teams.
Tonight's game will be a nice change of pace for Penn State. After facing the likes of JaJuan Johnson, Jared Sullinger and Kalin Lucas in recent games, the Lions will face a team without that go-to stud player. Iowa is led by Matt Gatens, who averages 13.2 points per game, but he is shooting under 40 percent from the floor this year. After Gatens, the Hawkeyes have two other players who average double-digit scoring -- Bryce Cartwright and Melsahn Basabe. On the glass, Basabe is Iowa's biggest threat with seven rebounds per game. Although this could be a trap game, Iowa's starting lineup doesn't pose the same problems that Penn State has had to game-plan against recently.
We all know what happened in Penn State's last game. Purdue's JaJuan Johnson hit a heart-breaking jump shot in the final seconds to give the Boilermakers a one-point lead, and the Lions eventually missed out on a huge road victory. As for Iowa, the Hawkeyes are coming off one of their most complete games this year. After starting off conference play 0-6, Iowa picked up its first victory in the Big Ten on Jan. 23 against Indiana. The Hawkeyes manhandled the Hoosiers, 91-77, which shows how dangerous this team can be if its offense clicks. Four players scored in double digits for the Hawkeyes, who were led by Basabe and his 20 points. Gatens chipped in 19 as well and Roy Devyn Marble scored 18 off the bench.
Starting on Jan. 21 against Pittsburgh, Wade took down then-No. 3 Ryan Tomei by a score of 3-2. And on Sunday, the redshit junior capped off the weekend by shutting out then No.-14 Ricky Alcala of Indiana by a score of 6-0.
The No. 5-ranked heavyweight in the country, Wade is 21-3 with eight pins, three technical falls and two majors. For his performance this past weekend, he was awarded the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week.
This week's Tuesday Timeout features redshirt freshman David Taylor. The 157-pounder is 23-0 on the season and ranked No. 3 in his weight class. Of Taylor's 23 victories this season, just one was by less than a major.
Despite constantly having to maintain his weight, we found out Taylor indulges in the occasional Creamery visit and what his education here at Penn State means to him.
Despite a 16-5 record, the Lady Lions failed to receive any votes in the latest AP Poll.
However, three Big Ten teams cracked the rankings, led by No. 10 Michigan State. Iowa (No. 18) and Ohio State (No. 24) are also ranked, while Northwestern also received votes.
Meanwhile, Penn State continues to lead the nation in 3-point percentage, shooting 45 percent from behind the arc.
Here's a look a look at the top teams in some of the major statistics, as well where the top Big Ten team and Penn State stand.
NCAA- Gonzaga (85.0 ppg)
Big Ten- Penn State (12th, 81.0 ppg)
NCAA- West Virginia (47.2 ppg)
Big Ten- Michigan State (16th, 53.8 ppg) Penn State (237th, 67.1 ppg)
NCAA- UConn (50.0 percent)
Big Ten- Penn State (16th, 45.2 percent)
Assists Per Game
NCAA- UConn (20.0)
Big Ten- Northwestern (11th, 18.0) Penn State (126th, 13.6)
NCAA- Texas A&M (11.22)
Big Ten- Michigan (43rd, 3.63) Penn State (62nd, 2.81)
Penn State's Maggie Lucas leads all Big Ten players in 3-point shooting percentage and 3-pointers per game, while Alex Bentley leads the conference in turnover-to-assist ratio.
The Lions will have their hands full this week with some of the top players in the Big Ten. Thursday at Illinois, the Lions will face Karisma Penn, who leads the conference in double-doubles. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in points per game, rebounds per game and field goal percentage. Fellow Buckeye Samantha Prahalis leads the conference in assists per game. The Lions host the Buckeyes at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Off to the best start in program history, the 13-0 Penn State wrestling team moved into the No. 1 spot in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches dual team poll this week, replacing Cornell.
With 275 total points in the poll, the Nittany Lions sit 12 points ahead of the No. 2 Big Red. The Lions also sit at No.1 in the Intermat official tournament team ranking, as well as for polls by TheOpenMat.com, Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. Magazine.
In addition eight Lions are individually ranked by Intermat:
125 pounds: Redshirt senior Brad Pataky is ranked No. 11 with a 7-2 record.
133 pounds: Redshirt sophomore Andrew Long sits at No. 5 and is undefeated in six matches with the Lions.
141 pounds: True freshman Andrew Alton is ranked fifth with a 24-2 record, including 16 pins.
149 pounds: At 19-2 on the year, redshirt junior Frank Molinaro is the fifth-ranked 149-pounder in the country.
157 pounds: Undefeated redshirt freshman David Taylor sits at No. 3 at 157 pounds. Of Taylor's 25 victories, just one has been decided by less than a major.
174 pounds: Redshirt freshman Ed Ruth remains at No. 2 at 174 pounds.
184 pounds: Redshirt sophomore Quentin Wright stays at No. 2 at 184 pounds.
Heavyweight: Cameron Wade, named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after defeating two ranked opponents this past weekend, is No. 5 a 21-3 record.
This week, the Lions are preparing for a highly anticipated dual with No. 8 Iowa at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Beginning this Monday and continuing every Monday for the rest of the season, the Collegian will be introducing a “Pondering with Pav” segment on the Above the Net blog. Each week the Collegian will ask head coach Mark Pavlik to dispense some of his non-volleyball knowledge or give some insight into the life that is “Pav.”
“With Larry Bock resigning at Juniata and moving down to the Naval Academy, my wife [Heather] has been named head women’s coach at Juniata.
“She’s ready for this; it’s been 15 years in the making. She’s been at Juniata since 1991, except for the one year where she student taught. So that kind of dominated the week at the Pavlik house.
"Of course Jack [coach Pavlik’s son] didn’t care. As long as we fed him and got him to the comic swap, we were in good shape.
“And now people are saying “Two head coaches?” But nothing much changes, because she was intimately involved with every facet of the Juniata program, now she’s just feeling the responsibility of being a head coach. I think that’s what’s kind of going on in our household this week.”
Heather Pavlik has been a coach on the bench for Juniata College’s two NCAA Division III national championships in 2004 and 2006, and Mark Pavlik has been head coach at Penn State for the Nittany Lions’ 2008 NCAA national championship.
Mark Pavlik said his wife, considering she has won two national championships to his one, is the better coach in the Pavlik house. Although the Penn State Pavlik may have forgotten that he was an assistant when the Lions won the 1994 national title. So in reality, they each have two championships under their collective belt.
But according to Pav, his wife is the better of the two. Regardless of whether or not they have the same amount of national titles.
Penn State stayed put in the third round of ACVA rankings this season, but Ohio State pulled even in the polls with the Nittany Lions at No. 9. No. 14 Loyola-Chicago will travel to Rec Hall this weekend. Lewis, who received seven votes but failed to make the top 15, will take on Penn State Saturday. Next weekend two top 15 teams, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge will pay the Nittany Lions a visit at Rec Hall in non- conference play.
Redshirt junior Edgardo Goas was named EIVA Tait Player of the Week after leading his team to two home wins over the weekend, conference officials announced Monday.
In Friday's match against Saint Francis Goas tallied 43 assists, six kills and six digs. He earned himself a .714 hitting percentage and led the team to an overall percentage of .376. Goas was also named the Mike Anderson Player of the Game for his play against the Red Flash. The Lions won the match 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22)
On Saturday the 6-foot-5 setter chipped in with 32 helpers, three kills and four digs to lead the Nittany Lions past Springfield in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-18).
It's the second straight week a Nittany Lion has earned the award as redshirt junior Joe Sunder received the award last week for his play at the Outrigger Invitational in Hawaii.
In the latest ACHA rankings, issued last Friday, the Penn State Icers have dropped one spot to No. 11, putting themselves right on the bubble in the national playoff race.
The Icers were tied with No. 10 Oakland, but dropping two games to now No. 3 Ohio cost Penn State a spot in the top-10.
With important matchups with Rhode Island and Delaware looming in the next two weeks, the Icers will have a chance to solidfy their spot or fall out of the picture completely. The Icers will have to do this with assistant coach Josh Hand calling the shots, with head coach Scott Balboni representing Team USA with Tim O'Brien and Eric Steinour.
Here's a look at how the rest of the top-25 panned out:
Robert Morris (IL)
Robert Morris (PA)
Others receiving votes: Rutgers, Syracuse, West Chester, Slippery Rock, Indiana (PA), Indiana, Navy, and Pittsburgh.
In Monday's Collegian, several college basketball experts shared their thoughts on Penn State's recent string of success. Here's a few things that didn't make the paper:
CollegeRPI.com owner and operator Jerry Palm said he's been impressed by the Nittany Lions' performance in the past four games, yet he was quick to put the results into into context. Palm said Penn State will likely have to finish out its Big Ten schedule 7-4 or 8-3 "to even think about" a berth in the NCAA tournament.
ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil said the most important thing to take into consideration about Penn State this season is they have yet to record a quality win on the road. The upsets over then-No. 18 Michigan State and then-No. 16 Illinois both happened at the Bryce Jordan Center. "Until they win one of these games on the road, it’s hard to say for sure if Penn State is a legitimate Big Ten contender," O'Neil said. "They kind hit lightning in the bottle at home, and that’s great, but you need to win a tough game on the road before people legitimize yourself as a Big Ten contender. I think what they can do is continue to get their confidence going, which is another improvement."
Sporting News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy said Penn State's loss to Maine in December certainly hurt the Nittany Lions but won't be the end-all for the NCAA selection committee when it reviews Penn State's resume in March. "Maine can be wiped out," DeCourcy said. "Some of what they’ve done to this point has begun to erase that. We've had teams before that have had ugly losses, but have done enough in their league and gone on to make the tournament and have been able to do well. It’s certainly a loss that hurts, in part numerically, because it gives you one more that you probably needed to have. It also hurts from a perception standpoint. But you get enough of those results like Michigan State, Illinois, etc., you start to turn that perception around."
Penn State's biggest test of the year just got a bit more interesting.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions, along with Penn State athletics, have declared the Lions' dual with No. 8 Iowa on Sunday Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. a White Out.
Though the match had been declared sold out to the public as of Jan. 5, and extra standing room only tickets sold out not long after, student tickets are still available.
Starting Friday Jan. 28, a limited number of student tickets will be made available to Penn State students. Starting at 7 a.m. and continuing through 9 a.m. on the 28th, students can go to the Rec Hall ticket office by presenting a valid Penn State student ID. Student tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Penn State improved to 13-0 this weekend with wins over No. 22 Pittsburgh and Indiana, its best start in program history.
Iowa is the three-time defending NCAA Wrestling Team Champions and has taken the last the three meetings against Penn State by a combined score of 87-25.
Sophomore Maddison Merriam won the Ann Carr Award for the most inspirational gymnast of the meet in Penn State's win against New Hampshire Saturday night.
Merriam, competing on floor exercise for the first time this season after recovering from a spate of minor injuries, scored a 9.875 on the event. That score was the top score of the night on floor. Merriam also scored a 9.775 on uneven bars and a 9.8 on vault.
Merriam was pleased to win the award for the first time in her career after missing out several times last year to sophomore Sharaya Musser and now-graduated Brandi Personett.
"I wanted to win that award so bad," Merriam said. "I was really excited."
Merriam's performances on floor exercise and vault were critical in helping the team to its season-best scores on each event. The Lions scored a 49.075 on floor and a 49.05 on vault.
Thanks for keeping up with us here at Rec Hall. Check the Collegian online for a wrap-up of today's game and the Daily Collegian on Monday for a full recap of the PSU men's volleyball's weekend that included two wins against EIVA foes.
Final word: Joe Sunder wins PSU Player of the Match
5:18 Penn State defeats Springfield 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-18)
5:15 Turko with the ace now, Penn State about to wrap up a dominating 2nd and 3rd set and eventually the match, 22-17 Nittany Lions
5:12 Sunder has taken control in the third set, kill after kill after kill, 19-13 Lions, Springfield timeout
5:10 Looks like Penn State is in cruise control, now up 17-12 here in the third set
5:06 Timeout Springfield with the score 14-8 Lions
5:04 Just about to say PSU errors at a minimum today when Lions get a service error. Still not that many today. 11-7 Penn State
5:01 Nittany Lion jacked up after a Penn State kill, 7-5 Penn State
4:59 Nice block again from Sunder and Co., 6-2 Lions
4:56 Third set begins with an ace from JACE Olsen, 1-0
4:52 May have just spotted one of the referees dancing to loudspeaker music. Look out Mr. Dougie
4:50 "All I do is Win" playin' in the S. Gym dawg
4:45 Penn State takes the second set 25-15, now leads 2 sets to none over Springfield. Getting a much needed 10 minute intermission
4:42 Block Party at Rec Hall, all are welcome. Lions hosting. 22-12 PSU
4:41 No. 15 Alberto Bravo comes into the game for Springfield sporting some of the reddest shoes I have ever seen. He may be trying out for the Bulls after the match, 19-11 Lions
4:39 Jace Olsen my early candidate for PSU player of the match, 15-8 Lions
4:36 Penn State starting to look like Penn State, now 11-3 Lions
4:34 Someone has been watching the Australian Open on ESPN at 3 a.m., ace from Turko. Now 9-3 Lions
4:33 Digging the dig from Nick Turko, 7-2 PSU following the timeout
4:31 Foul tip finds its way over the net off the fingers of Ian Hendries, 6-2 Penn State. Timeout Springfield
4:29 "Nick Turrrrkooo with the kill, point...Penn State" 2-1 PSU
4:28 The first point of the second set goes to Springfield
4:27 The teams switch sides and prepare for the second set, PSU up 1-0 at Rec Hall
4:24 Penn State takes the first set 25-22 on a kill from freshman Jace Olsen.
4:23 Sunder with a service error, Penn State 2 points away from a first set win 23-21...24-21 now...
4:20 Springfield calls a timeout, 22-20 Penn State
4:19 Sunder with a kill Call of Duty: Black Ops noobs would be proud of. 20-19 PSU
4:17 Penn State calls a timeout after Springfield ties it at 19 a piece, trying to make out what Pav is saying, can't.
4:16 Sneaky behind the back magical move from Mars, 19-18 Penn State
4:15 Springfield within one at 17-16 PSU, back-and-fourth we go...
4:13 Assist master Edgardo Goas racking them up, 16-13 PSU
4:11 Springfield with a block on Joe Sunder, 13-11 Penn State, but Sunder follows it with a smash off the head/hands/something on the body of Springfield, 14-11 PSU
4:09 Service error from Springfield, something St. Francis did a lot of yesterday...maybe PSU is poisoning the away locker room's water. 12-9 PSU
4:07 "Black and Yellow" being played in the South Gym, an obvious insult to all Philadelphia and NY Jets fans in the gym from coach Pav. We'll talk post game.
4:06 Timeout Springfield after going down 9-4 here in the first set. Pav wearing brown shoes.
4:04 Block at the net, Penn State block that is, something they did very little of yesterday against St. Francis 5-3 PSU
4:02 Penn State takes the 3-2 lead off a Turko kill
4:00 The first point of the match goes to Springfield off a kill from Springfield's Mike Pelletier.
Penn State is 31-0 all-time against the Pride
PSU starters: Goas, Sunder, Turko, Olsen, A. Mars, Del Valle, Kegerreis
Penn State is about to face off against Springfield in the South Gym of Rec Hall and Collegian men's volleyball reporter Joe McIntyre will be updating those wild and crazy PSU V-ball folks out there.
The No. 9 Lions own a 3-1 record on the season while the Springfield Pride come to Penn State with a 1-2 record.
If any of you are so inclined and have a Twitter account, be sure to check @CollegianMenVB for any other updates you may need on the match.
With the team looking ahead to tonight's home double dual meet with New Hampshire 7 p.m. at Rec Hall, senior Danielle Hover, who suffered a sprained knee earlier this week, is expected to compete in a limited role.
Head coach Jeff Thompson said he's leaning towards starting her on balance beam, and holding her out as an alternate on uneven bars.
"This week we're just gonna keep her on beam and protect the knee," associate head coach Rachelle Thompson said. "There's not a lot of pounding on her beam routine."
Hover performed both routines in the team's intrasquad on Friday without incident, and said she felt good about her recovery from the injury and how her knee is holding up.
Hover led the team off on uneven bars and balance beam last week at Michigan. She scored a 9.625 on beam and a 9.575 on bars.
Thompson said that otherwise the lineup will be exactly the same.
This time its Alan Mars on the overpass and Penn State takes a two-point lead at 18-16. For the most part, St. Francis has left the first and second touches unguarded tonight. But Penn State has yet to take full advantage.
A kill from Nick Turko gives the Lions their 20th point of the set. They lead 20-18. A mental lapse by Olsen gives St. Francis a free ball that is hammered home Logan Patterson. Mistakes are killing and helping the Lions as St. Francis continues to make costly mistakes to get the Lions off the hook. Still, it's close with Penn State leading 21-20.
A kill from the back row gives the Lions match point and St. Francise takes a timeout.
Sunder buries a kill and Penn State earns the victory over St. Francis, 3-1.
Check back to Collegian website later in the night. And be sure to check back into to ATN tomorrow as Penn State hosts Springfield at 4 p.m.
St. Francis doesn't seem fazed by the setback in set three, the Red Flash jump out to a 4-2 lead in set four.
A St. Francis player nearly rips down the net but isn't called for a net violation. Penn State still earns the point to make it 5-4 in favor of St. Francis. Jace Olsen then does a nice job of keeping the ball alive for a Sunder kill from the back row and set four is even at 5-5.
A kill from Kegerreis evens the set at 9-9 despite the effort of St. Francis libero John Wappler to keep the ball alive with his foot. This isn't soccer, point Penn State.
Penn State shooting itself in the foot a bit and letting St. Francis hang around. A Lion's service error brings the Lions lead to 13-12.
A good scramble by St. Francis keeps the ball alive and they even the score at 14-14.
An attempt from the back row comes up short and Penn State takes a 17-14 lead. St. Francis coach Mike Rumbaugh takes a timeout.
Penn State leads set four 17-14.
Penn State was better in set three, hitting .324. But statistically, St. Francis was pretty even with the Lions. The Red Flash hit .348 and had more blocks.
Again, it was the serving that made the difference. The Lions had four aces and eight errors while the Red Flash had just one ace and 12 errors.
If Penn State wins this match, they can thank the St. Francis servers.
A double touch by St. Francis gives the Lions their 23rd point of the set and a kill from Alan Mars gives them set point.
A kill from Kegerreis seals set three for Penn State.
They win the set 25-18 but still not a lot of life for the Lions or the Lions' fans.
After three sets: Penn State 2, St. Francis 1
Sunder can't dig up the Red Flash kill and St. Francis earns the first point out of the timeout. Kegerreis pounds one down the net line and Penn State's lead is back to four at 16-12.
Goas again is successful on the overpass and the Lions lead sits at 18-15. The overpass has been working for Goas tonight as he has gotten a few points off of it. St. Francis doesn't seem to be adjusting to it, the move could be a factor for the Lions if Goas continues to be successful.
A block from Turko and Olsen forces a St. Francis timeout and puts the Lions in the driver's seat as they lead the Red Flash 22-17 in set three.
Goas on the overpass gives the Lions the 1-0 lead in set three. But the Red Flash answer right back with an uncontested kill.
An emphatic kill from Nick Turko ties the set at 3 apiece. Turko showing a but of swagger after his kill, something the Lions were lacking completely in set two.
The two teams go back-and-forth as Kegerreis nets a kill and evens the set at 5-5.
A block from Kegerreis gets the Penn State bench animated and the Lions take a 7-6 lead. The lead soon disappears after a service error from Turko.
A double touch on St. Francis gives the Lions a 2-point lead at 11-9.
A tough serve from Sunder ends in a free ball and a kill for Olsen and Penn State opens a three-point lead at 14-11. A sideout on a block attempt gives the Lions a 15-11 lead and St. Francis takes a timeout for the first time since set one.
If set one was Jekyll for Penn State, than set two was Hyde's even uglier step-sister.
After hitting .565 in set one, the Lions hit an abysmal -.077 in set two. St. Francis meanwhile dominated the stat sheet, hitting .364 in set two and tallying 6.5 total blocks.
Despite having six service errors, the Red Flash managed to defeat the Lions by 5 points in set two. By far the worst performance of the season thus far for the Lions.
It will be interesting to see how they respond coming out in set three.
A Penn State block goes out of bounds and the Red Flash lead now stands at 21-17.
Jace Olsen gets two shots and putting the ball down and is successful after being blocked on the first attempt. The St. Francis lead still sits at four, though, after a foot fault on a sevre from Kegerreis.
St. Francis now two points away from set point. They lead 23-19.
Sunder is blocked as Rec Hall explodes. With the wrestling match going on in the main gym it seems there are more St. Francis fans here than Penn State fans.
The Red Flash take set two 25-20, and even the match score at 1-1.
Jace Olsen can't afford touching a ball headed out of bounds at St. Francis is back on top, 11-10.
The Red Flash lead is erased by another error as John Skarupa gets called for a double touch.
It seems every time Penn State evens the match, the Red Flash find a way to get a ball down. The only thing that is keeping this set from being heavily in St. Francis' favor are the mistakes the Red Flash keep making. A service error from St. Francis evens the match at 16-16.
The Lions showing some sings of frustration as Sunder angrily throws his hands down after a hitting error. The error gives St. Francis an 18-16 lead. A huge block by Adam Roche makes the St. Francis lead 19-16 and Pav takes another timeout.
A reversal of fortunes to start the second set as St. Francis reels off five-straight points to take a 5-0 lead. The Lions gave the Red Flash a few free balls and couldn't get the block set in time on another point, and coach Mark Pavlik was forced to take a timeout.
Goas notches the Lions first point of the set on the overpass. St. Francis leads 6-1.
Penn State starts to claw back as a kill from Comfort and an ace from Goas make it 7-4 St. Francis. A controversial sideout ends in the Lions favor and the lead for the Red Flash is cut to two at 7-5.
A change for the Lions as Scott Kegerreis comes in for Tom Comfort.
An error from the Red Flash evens set two at 8 apiece. A block from the Lions gives Penn State a 9-8 lead and St. Francis takes a timeout.
Penn State's Joe Sunder was a perfect 7-for-7 on kill attempts in the first set. The Lions hit .565 as a team, but St. Francis was no slouch, hitting .409. Logan Patterson paced the Red Flash with 5 kills on 8 swings.
The Lions had two total blocks while St. Francis had one.
A service error by the Lions out of the timeout makes it 14-10, but a kill from Sunder brings the Lions lead back to five at 15-10.
A solid double block by Hendries and Comfort put the Lions out in front 17-10. Hendries had his kill attempt denied, but did a nice job of regrouping to set up the double block with Comfort.
Another net violation by the Red Flash puts the Lions five points away from set point. A St. Francis blocker got a little overzealous as Sunder went up for the kill. Lions lead 20-14.
Goas is met at the net by two blockers as he attempts the overpass, he is two strong for the double block as his attempt finds the floor and gives the Lions a 23-16 lead.
With Lions sitting at 24 points, the Red Flash will not go away quietly as the bring the score to 24-17.
A kill from Sunder seals the First Set for the Lions 25-17. As we switch side here at Rec Hall, Penn State leads St. Francis 1-0.
St. Francis earns the first point at Rec Hall this season as Goas is denied on the overpass. The Red Flash jump out to a 3-1 lead, but a kill from Sunder off the double block makes it 3-2.
Sloppy play from both teams early as a service error and a net violation by St. Francis evens the first set at 4. A kill from Tom Comfort gives the Lions their first lead of the night at 5-4.
St. Francis is using the net to their advantage, perhaps not intentionally, but nonetheless their balls are hitting the net and finding the floor. The Red Flash are keeping it close as Penn State leads the first set 11-9.
The Red Flash take a timeout as the wheels start to fall off a bit. Penn State takes a 14-9 lead in set one as the Lions hitters are starting to assert their dominance. St. Francis must fix the mistakes if they want to keep it close.
Set 1: Penn State 14, St. Francis 9
Penn State starters: Alan Mars, Ian Hendries, Jace Olsen, Tom Comfort, Joe Sunder, Edgardo Goas and Dennis Del Valle
St. Francis starters: Colin Sherwin, Ryan Williams, Seth Katich, Logan Patterson, John Skarupa, Adam Roche and John Wappler
Hey Penn State volleyball fans. Collegian men's volleyball reporter Bill Landis coming to you from the South gym of Rec Hall where tonight the No. 9 Nittany Lions will take on the St. Francis Red Flash.
The Lions bring a record of 2-1 into tonights match while the Red Flash come in with just one match under their belts, a loss at the hands of Ohio State.
After playing the likes of Hawaii, UCLA and Ball State this weekend, the Lions should be happy to see an opponent like St. Francis across the net, but anything can happen and the Red Flash will be sure to put up a fight.
I'll be back with starting lineups in a few minutes. And don't forget to follow along on Twitter @CollegianMenVB
The Penn State women's gymnastics team had one last chance to perfect their routines before the big meet Saturday night in an intrasquad meet held Friday afternoon at the White Building.
“It’s just a chance for us to go through the lineup, for them to get used to who they follow, for us to see how they react in different situations,” coach Jeff Thompson said.
The team had a good showing at the intrasquad despite a few mistakes. Associate head coach Rachelle Thompson said the team did amazing, but she also pointed out that the gymnasts made a few mistakes on floor routine and balance beam. She said the team had too much energy on floor, and that resulted in a few errors. Balance beam wasn't up to the usual standard in practice, as there were quite a few wobbles and one fall. Still, everyone felt confident about tomorrow's meet with New Hampshire.
“I feel comfortable and confident that we’re going to go in tomorrow and hit all our routines, I really do,” Rachelle Thompson said.
The coaches said the intrasquad is a chance for the team to gain confidence from hitting their routines in an environment that has a little more pressure than an actual meet. However, Thompson emphasized that the gymnasts are the only ones who can put pressure on themselves. That's been a theme for the Lions all season long.
Thompson said the team will have an intrasquad on the day before every home meet this season, and on the day before traveling to each away meet.
“We just put the lineup that we think we’re going to use up on each event in the gym Friday, and it’s just a way for the girls to hit, feel one another hitting, gain confidence, and do something as a group before the meet,” Rachelle Thompson said.
Penn State will get EIVA play underway this weekend with matches against St. Francis on Friday and Springfield on Saturday. The Nittany Lions haven't lost in the EIVA since 2008, and dropped just two sets all of last year.
Players to watch: Penn State OH Jace Olsen
The Manhattan Beach, California native impressed in his first weekend of collegiate volleyball in the Outrigger Invitational. Olsen was third on the team in kills in the tournament with 22 behind Joe Sunder and Tom Comfort. Olsen saw time in all three matches against top 15 teams--Hawaii, UCLA, and Ball State--and should continue to improve as conference play begins. Look for him to see a lot of time and have a big weekend.
St. Francis setter Ryan Williams
A sophomore last season, Williams orchestrated an offense comprised of almost all seniors, dishing out close to 12 assists per set. This year, with a lot of new faces on the court for the Red Flash, Williams will need to step up and lead a very young St. Francis team.
SpringfieldMB Cal Palumbo
The senior was a force for the Pride last season, putting down 266 kills and hitting .438 from the middle. In 2011, Palumbo has 19 kills and has hit for a .394 clip.
Things to look for
Springfield has less wins against Penn State in the last 33 years than the United States hockey team has gold medals (that's one for non-hockey followers) and St. Francis hasn't beaten the Nittany Lions since Clinton was in office.
Following a strong finish to a weekend against some good competition, look for Penn State to keep rolling as it begins conference play.
Time is running out for Penn State's quartet of senior starters. After almost upsetting Ohio State, there was a glimmer of hope with a road test against Purdue up next. The game against the Boilermakers ended eerily similar to the Buckeye game with Penn State, coming one play short of the upset. The Lions have shown flashes of greatness but what's next? There are only so many chances to play Purdue or Ohio State to make that statement win.
With three in-conference wins -- and only one road victory -- all year, Penn State has to play pretty flawless over the next month. However you look at it, there are still a lot of ranked teams left on the Lions schedule. Some see it as a positive as there are a number of chances to pick up big wins against tournament-caliber teams. Others see it as too big of a mountain for Penn State to climb without that big road win under its belt.
First up will be Iowa at home, and if the Lions play as well as they have over the last two weeks, that should be chalked up as a win. With this team, you never know. Assuming they get the win, Penn State will be 4-4 in conference (and no, there aren't any asterisks for almost wins come March). After Iowa, there aren't any easy games left. There are two games against Wisconsin -- one at home on Jan. 29 and another on the road later on. The Badgers are ranked and would constitute a pair of nice resume boosting wins, especially on the road. However, Ed DeChellis has never defeated the Badgers while Penn State's coach. Not a good sign.
Then there is the second game against both Illinois and Michigan State. As we all know, DeChellis' teams have always matched up well against both. But its not easy to beat both ranked opponents twice in one season. The Lions have played successful in Champaign and East Lansing, but road wins aren't easy to come by. It's also important to remember both those upset wins the other week could have easily been losses if one or two plays went differently down the stretch.
There's another game against Michigan on deck, too. This all-of-a-sudden confident Penn State team should handle the Wolverines at home but Michigan easily beat PSU in Ann Arbor earlier this month. After these last four games, that road loss against the inferior Big Ten team may come back to bite the Lions in the butt.
Penn State will also get a look at both Northwestern and Minnesota in the coming weeks. The ranked Gophers are one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten and all of college basketball right now. While the Lions couldn't pull it out against Purdue, Minnesota was fully capable of earlier in the week. And just like Penn State, Minnesota was able to nearly pull off an upset against the Buckeyes at Ohio State. Safe to say, one win against Minnesota will be hard to come by, let alone two. Northwestern came into the season with higher expectations than usual and started off well by entering Big Ten play at 9-1. They will also be a bubble team come March and will be looking for big wins just like Penn State.
And if things go well for Penn State over the next month, the Lions will have their shot at that one big win against Ohio State at Penn State on the first day of March. A lot could happen during that time, but by the way OSU has been playing this year, there is a chance the Buckeyes come into that game undefeated and No. 1 in the nation. A win in that game would be huge and one that could push a bubble Penn State team into the NCAA Tournament. But a lot of things would need to go Penn State's way leading up to that. The Lions will need about seven or eight wins over the next month and a half to make a case to send Talor Battle and co. to their first NCAA Tournament. With such a tough schedule, that's no easy task. Penn State will need to keep playing as it has over the past two weeks to have any shot at that. The only difference is the Lions need actual victories -- not just the moral ones.
This week, Back Points brings you the first edition of "Off the Mat", a comprehensive preview of Penn State wrestling matches with beat writers Brandt Gelman and Mike Still. As the No. 2 Nittany Lions prepare for a dual meet with in-state rival No. 22 Pittsburgh this Friday at 6 p.m., Back Points is here to give you the details.
During the 2008-09 season, Alex Bentley and Dee Dee Williams helped lead Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis to a 30-0 record and a state championship.
Thursday night, they will face off against each other for the first time of many times at the collegiate level.
Bentley, a sophomore, is the starting point guard for the Penn State Lady Lions, while Williams, a freshman, is listed as a guard/forward for the Boilermakers.
"I'm really excited to play against her," Williams told www.purduesports.com. "We talked over Thanksgiving break and she's really excited, too."
Bentley is second on Penn State, averaging 14.7 points and is first with just under six assists per game. Williams has played in each of Purdue's 18 games, starting in four, and she averages 2.2 points.
"In high school, she was really good obviously. But she didn't really like going left as much," Williams said. "Hopefully she's still kind of like that so I can try to force her that way. But if not I'm just going to play my normal defense and try to get some stops on her."
Two straight games and two straight heartbreakers. Penn State fans were left to think, 'What if' after this week knowing the Nittany Lions could have pulled off both upsets against now-No. 1 Ohio State and No. 12 Purdue. Unfortunately, moral victories don't really mean much when it comes time to pick the field of teams for the NCAA tournament.
But before we delve into what this game means going forward, let's take a closer look at the numbers in a game Penn State came one shot (and one questionable call) away from winning.
Penn State won this battle while shooting a very impressive 52.2 percent from the field. On the other side, Purdue finished shooting 44.4 percent. The Lions opted for smart shots throughout the game and found some open looks against the Boilermaker defense. Basically, every Penn State player shot for a good percentage except for Talor Battle, who struggled for 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Aside from Battle, Penn State's starters combined to shoot 63 percent off of 19-for-30. D.J. Jackson made some big 3-point shots, including one that put the Lions in the lead with 19 seconds left.
The Nittany Lions got stomped by Purdue on the glass in the teams' first meeting this season as the Boilermakers finished with 15 more rebounds.
In the second game between the two, Penn State outrebounded Purdue significantly, 30-19.
The guards came back to grab some big rebounds while the post players controlled the paint for the most part. Not one Purdue player was able to find a rhythm off of the glass as no Boilermaker finished with more than three rebounds. The only problem for Penn State was it allowed Purdue to pick up nine offensive rebounds, which led to a number of second chance opportunities.
This was the difference in the game. Penn State finished with 13 turnovers. Purdue only had three. In a game decided by one basket, all of these turnovers proved to be the difference.
The Boilermakers were able to make a number of easy plays in transition thanks to six steals. Penn State didn't record a single one. Late in the game with every possession crucial, Tim Frazier turned the ball over which allowed Purdue an easy basket with no Lions there to defend.
Frazier, who has been more aggressive, turned the ball over three times after four turnovers against Ohio State. While his offense has definitely improved lately, he is being too careless with the ball at times and needs to find a balance.
But it appeared Penn State forced a turnover with under 10 seconds left. A loose ball hit Frazier's hands and was knocked out of bounds from his grasp by E'Twaun Moore. However, the referees whistled the ball in Purdue's favor, which gave them a shot for the game. Replays showed it appeared Purdue was the one to knock the ball out but that's what happens. Maybe a few less turnovers over the previous 39 minutes and Penn State isn't in that situation. Who knows.
Overall, a very tough loss for Penn State. Quite possibly one of the toughest losses in these players' careers as the frustration was evident afterward. These seniors aren't content with moral victories. They want actual wins and one slipped away on Wednesday.
Running in circles around a cramped room and doing simple stretches can get a little boring.
At practice on Tuesday, the No. 2 Penn State wrestling team took a break from their usual warm up and started practice a little differently.
The result? This chaotic form of impromptu football.
Though the game may appear a little hectic, Cael Sanderson and his coaching staff are firm believers in changing up the daily practice routine and keeping things fun.
"It's just something different," assistant coach Troy Letters said. "It's something that they have fun doing and we just try to mix things up in here and make sure they're always having fun. This is something like they to do to warm up."
The game has no name and no written rules, with the exception that each player can take only three steps before passing the ball.
But it gets the players' blood flowing and gets them moving around.
More importantly though, it allows the Lions to break away from the mundane and keeps them excited to come to practice.
"We want these guys to make sure that every time they're coming in here, they're giving us their best," Letters said. "We just think that when we do mix it up like this and change things, it brings the best out of these guys every time."
Coming into the season, Penn State was a Big Ten afterthought. But after upsetting Michigan State and Illinois, along with a near monumental road victory of newly appointed No. 1 Ohio State, the Nittany Lions are starting to get some attention.
From ESPN and CBS to Sports Illustrated and Yahoo, Penn State basketball is getting recognition as a team that could make some noise. Right now, this is not an NCAA Tournament-caliber team. If the Lions would have beaten Ohio State, that would be a different story.
Bad losses against Mississippi, Maryland and Maine have Penn State in an unfavorable situation. But with a road game against Purdue up next and plenty of more big conference games, the Lions can continue to make some noise. Win a few more of those games and the Lions can remain on the bubble and hope for the best at the end of the season. Here is a quick look at what everyone is saying about Penn State after this past exciting week of basketball.
Andy Glockner's bubble watch says this about Penn State: "Coming off the MSU win, the Nittany Lions edged Illinois but just missed pulling off what Ken Pomeroy judged to be a 500-1 trifecta when they fell late at Ohio State. Still, with two high-quality wins in their pocket, they're back in the at-large picture. This week only features the rematch with Purdue, which handled PSU easily in State College earlier this month."
In Joe Lunardi's most recent bracketology, he has Penn State amongst his next four out after the first four to miss the cut. That's pretty impressive for a team that lost to Maine pretty badly at home not too long ago. He has Penn State's chances of making the tournament at 25 percent but says a win against Purdue would be enough to take the Lions very seriously.
Also, here is what Penn State graduate and ESPN college basketball writer Dana O'Neill had to say about her alma mater when asked if the Lions are really better:
"Full disclaimer here: I'm a Penn State graduate. Of course, that also makes me a Penn State realist. I saw the smoke and mirrors that was the Crispin brothers' run to the Sweet 16 a decade ago as not a sign of a team getting better, but a team catching magic in a bottle.
So what to make of the Nittany Lions' past three games -- upsets of Michigan State and Illinois and a down-to-the-wire loss to Ohio State? Is this more smoke and mirrors?
I say no. Penn State is playing better. The Lions are making better decisions and playing sounder defense, and they have an air of confidence that this team hasn't had in years.
Credit coach Ed DeChellis for his patience in developing this team and Talor Battle for his willingness to carry the Lions until his peers figured it out.
And that's really been the difference: Battle is no longer a one-man band. Jeff Brooks, Andrew Jones and David Jackson, all seniors, have had a lightbulb-going-off moment at precisely the same time. The trio of forwards have learned how to score and work the boards, making it impossible for opponents to concentrate all of their efforts on Battle.
The big question, of course, is can Penn State sustain it? Can a team that lost to Maine actually get into the NCAA tournament conversation? The reward for four straight games against ranked foes: a game against a fifth, at Purdue on Wednesday.
It would help Penn State's cause considerably to get one of these upsets on the road."
This is where Penn State lands in Jerry Palm's most recent bracket prediction. "On the fence: Penn State. Projected Champ: Ohio State. At-large: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin."
Jason King has Penn State ranked seventh in the Big Ten after being ranked ninth last week. As for whom King thinks is hot, the Lions made the list. Here is what he said: "The Nittany Lions have already matched last season’s Big Ten win total of three. And it’s not as if Ed DeChellis’ squad has been blown out in its losses. Two if its three setbacks have come by single digits. If Penn State remains this competitive, DeChellis won’t have much of a reason to worry about his job."
Penn State also made Yahoo's Gerry Ahern's top team to avoid right now in college basketball. Below is what he wrote about the Nittany Lions and their recent play:
"Penn State (10-7, 3-3) has gone from funk to funky since conference play began in January. The Nittany Lions looked like the worst team in the Big Ten during preconference, going just 7-4 with losses to Maine and Mississippi. Then Ed DeChellis’ charges made an interesting turn. After dropping two of its first three league games, Penn State out-toughed Final Four favorite Michigan State 66-62 in State College, then stopped Illinois 57-55. For good measure, they gave Ohio State, the conference’s best team, everything it could handle before succumbing 69-66 in Columbus. The Lions have controlled tempo, milking the shot clock and limiting opponents’ possessions. The strategy has been stellar. Everyone who follows the league knows that Talor Battle (20.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds) is a star. But contributions from Andrew Jones (5.6 rebounds per game) and Tim Frazier (4.5 assists per game) have also been huge. If DeChellis’ team can maintain this level of intensity, no one in the conference will want to see the Lions coming, which is truly a shocking turnaround. Penn State’s string of playing ranked teams stretches to five games Wednesday when the Lions travel to West Lafayette to face Purdue. If they can take care of the basketball and dictate pace, they have a chance. Is this team an NCAA tournament contender? No. But it sure could make things difficult for the Buckeyes, Boilers, Spartans, Illini, Badgers and Gophers, who will go dancing."
For those of you too lazy to search the Internet on your own, I hope this helped. So far it looks like only good things for Penn State heading into another big showdown against Purdue.
For one of the first times in their careers, all four senior starters on the Penn State basketball team seem to all be clicking at the right time. In the past three games, which have been against ranked opponents, each senior starter is averaging double-digit scoring. However, a huge portion of the success can be attributed to the youngest member of the starting lineup - sophomore Tim Frazier.
The Houston native doesn't light up the scoreboard every single night, but he's making big plays and coming up large in different areas to help lead the Lions from the point. He scored a season high in points against Ohio State with 11 while playing aggressive with the ball. Sometimes a little too out of control with the ball, Frazier said he is going to try and calm down to cut on the turnovers and find a balance in his offensive game.
Against Illinois on Tuesday, Frazier contributed a career high with eight rebounds, including a number of key boards down the stretch. In the team's loss against Purdue on Jan. 5, the sophomore guard picked up another career high with eight assists. His play has been up and down at times with his frantic play, but he is starting to gain the confidence to rely on his own shot. Frazier said he's been putting in more time practicing lately, especially working on his shot. Going forward, his next step is going to be cutting down on the turnovers, as it is essential for Frazier to dictate the pace of the game.
Here is what Frazier's teammate senior Jeff Brooks had to say about Frazier's recent performance:
"Tim has developed into a floor general. That's something him and I talk about all the time. What can he do better and this and that. He's directing us much better. I think that comes with a lot of confidence. As a sophomore starting with four seniors, it's a pretty big role to fill. I think he's doing a beautiful job and hopefully he can keep it up."
Brooks on Frazier shooting the ball:
"I think it's great to see him become a scoring threat. We want him to shoot the ball. We know he can take guys off the dribble, and we know he can make some big plays. If he keeps that going, that makes all of us better because when they start to key on him it gets us more open."
Brooks on Frazier finding a balance:
"He's going to have to start to pick and choose when it's really time to attack and be conservative. Don't try to force a play, that's when turnovers come. Even for me. When he starts making those adjustments, he'll be fine."
Redshirt junior Joe Sunder was named EIVA Tait Player of the Week on Monday by conference officials. The outside hitter led the Lions to a 2-1 record in the Outrigger Invitational this past weekend in Honolulu.
Sunder averaged 5.83 kills per set and .883 blocks per set during the Lions three matches in Hawaii. Against No. 5 Hawaii, Sunder had a career-best 33 kills and hit a lusty .583 in the Lions' 3-2 victory over the Warriors.
The honor is the second of Sunder’s career.
In other news, Penn State moved up one spot in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s coaches Top 15 poll to No. 9 this week.
The Lions were helped by victories against then-No.14 Ball State and then-No. 5 Hawaii. Ball State moved up two places to No. 12 while Hawaii fell to No. 13 after going winless in the Outrigger Invitational. The fourth team playing in Honolulu over the weekend, UCLA, made the jump from No. 8 to No. 3 after sweeping the field.
USC remains at the top of the poll, receiving all 16 first-place votes.
Keep checking Above The Net for more updates throughout the season.
Illinois has cut the Penn State lead to 20. Maggie Lucas comes off the bench and hits a 3-pointer, giving her the record for threes in a season by a freshman. The crowd is giving her a standing ovation as the teams head to the benches for a timeout. Penn State leads, 67-46, with 7:48 remaining.
Bentley sets Lucas up with another behind-the-back pass. This time it was good for a fast break layup. Lucas hits another three. Edwards gets a fast break layup after a Greene block. Penn State leads, 62-35, with 12:20 remaining.
The Lions finished the first half on a 39-14 run after falling behind 9-2. Penn State shot 46.7 percent in the first half. After an Illinois basket, Greene gets the Lions' second half scoring started with a layup. Good hustle by Nickson earns her a second-chance layup. She came from behind the 3-point line to grab that rebound. Bentley goes back to Nickson on the next possession and the forward comes up with a basket while taking contact. She completed the 3-point play. Bentley finds Gray for a 3-pointer in transition. Penn State 51, Illinois 28 with 15:57 remaining.
Lucas gives a pump fake to free herself. She then steps back for a 3-pointer. Lucas settled for a layup to put Penn State up 39-23. Talia East checks in for the Lions. Trogele hits a pair of free throws to extend the lead. Lucas gets a rebound and drives to the basket, where she was fouled. Wolfe's last-second layup rolls off the rim. Penn State leads, 41-23, at the half.
Gray converts both free throws to put the Lions up by 10. Illinois gets three straight points, but Gray responds with a 3-pointer. Penn comes back with a layup at the other end. Renee Womack makes her first appearance, as she enters for Gray. Trogele hits a 3-pointer from the top of the key. That was the Lions' seventh 3-pointer of the game. Illinois doesn't manage to get a shot off on its next possession. Bentley hit a 15-foot jumper from the baseline. Penn State 34, Illinois 21 with 3:51 left in the first half.
Moore hits both foul shots to tie the game at 16. Bentley drives along the right baseline and gets a pull-up jumper to fall. Trogele draws a charge on the Illini's next possession. Penn State gets another basket off a drive to the hoop. This time it was Gray. Lucas takes a pass from Gray in transition and drains a 3-pointer. Penn State is up by seven. Trogele is fouled on a drive to the basket. She splits the free throws. Gray receives a pass on the block and is fouled while shooting. She'll be at the foul line after the timeout. Penn State 24, Illinois 16 with 7:53 left in the half.
A fake pass frees Amber Moore up for an Illinois 3-pointer right out of the break. Lucas comes back and hits a three of her during the Lions' next possession. Gray catches and shoots and hits a three. Penn State is down by just one now. Bentley does the ol' behind-the-back pass to Lucas for a 3-pointer. The Lions now lead 11-9, as Illinois takes a quick 30-second timeout. The NCAA champion women's volleyball team sure enjoyed that last play. Bentley gets in on the long-distance act with a three from the corner. McGee hits a three for Illinois, but Greene gets a layup at the other end. Lucas tries to draw a charge, but her feet weren't set and it was called a block. Illinois will be shooting free throws after the timeout. Penn State 16, Illinois 14 with 11:29 remaining.
Illinois wins the tip but is called for a double dribble on the game's first possession. The Lions have to settle for a rushed 3-pointer by Bentley with the shot clock about expire. Both teams fail to score on their first two trips down the floor. Illinois's Rukavina nets the games' first two points, and a basket by Penn puts Illinois up 4-0. Rukavina grabs a rebound and lays the putback in while drawing a foul. The free throw was no good. Nickson gets a friendly roll on a transition jumper in the paint. Penn State 2, Illinois 6 with 15:41 remaining in the half.
F Karisma Penn
G Centrese McGee
G Eboni Mitchell
G Lydia McCully
F Lana Rukavina
Penn State starters:
G Zhaque Gray
G Alex Bentley
G Julia Trogele
F Mia Nickson
F Nikki Greene
The Lady Lions (14-4, 3-1 Big Ten) are set to square off against Illinois (7-10, 2-2) in less than 15 minutes here at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Fighting Illini are led by Karisma Penn (16.7 ppg and 8.5 rpg).
Penn State holds a 24-14 advantage all-time against Illinois.
After coming back from a 23-18 deficit in the first set and jumping out to a quick lead in the second , it looked like Penn State picked up right where they left off last season.
But No.8 UCLA didn't give in so easy. The Bruins stormed back to take the match 3-1 and emerge victorious in the opening match of the Outrigger Invitational.
UCLA's team high in kills was just 12, but got good performances from a number of hitters. The Bruins had five players with at least five kills, while Penn State had just three. UCLA has shown it can go to a number of different players in key situations this season and it should help them come late April, and hopefully, for them, early May.
Errors plagued the Nittany Lions tonight. They had 24 to UCLA's 15, while Sunder and Comfort had ten and eight, respectively.
Penn State MVP: Joe Sunder
The 6'7, Greensburg, PA native had a match high 24 kills and was a force for the Nittany Lions. He should be a major spark for the Penn State offense this season.
UCLA MVP: Thomas Amberg
Although he registered half the kills Sunder did, Amberg had just one error, as opposed to the ten that Sunder made, and hit at .579.
Battle of the freshmen
Both teams sported freshmen who saw a decent amount of playing time. UCLA's Gonzalo Quiroga hit over. 500 and had 11 kills with just one error. Penn State's Jace Olsen had five kills, but hit at just .133 percent and had three errors. Olsen should continue to see a good amount of time and improve as the season goes on.
Gray hits the first and Womack comes in for Lucas as Gray hits her second.
Bentley draped on Antoine as the buzzer sounds and that'll do it. We're heading down thanks for reading
14.0 seconds 2nd half PSU 56 - MINN 54
Frantic last minute here as Lucas comes up with a HUGE steal and Minnesota is forced to start fouling.
With 23.4 left, Bentley goes to the line and misses the front end of a one-and-one. Lucas fouls Buford and that is not a good play at all. With 15.3 left, Buford hits the first and second.
Gray gets fouled and will go the line..after this timeout
Loberg back to the line, hitting both but Bentley responds with a dirty pull-up jumper in the lane.
Lucas tosses it in to Green who had postion and the turnaround but the ball didn't drop.
Greene hits the floor for about the fourth time tonight and gets possession back for her team. trogele comes on for greene.
Lucas, coldly, from the top of the key, with a 3. The freshman is at 20 points.
Buford gets on to bank in and Penn State is only up four going into the last 83 seconds
3:59 2nd half PSU 51 - MINN 46
A Sota airball turns into a Trogele layup.
PSU mishandles the ball and it leads to a tie-up and the arrow gives it to Minnesota.
Noga overshoots the net and PSU give it to Lucas who does what Lucas does -- hit a 3.
Gray called for an absurd travel, considering she didn't have the ball. She wa snot happy with that call.
Lucas can't convert a layup and fights Gray for the ball, losing it, but Sota misses the other end and Trogele gathers it in and calms the Lady Lions down before she picks up a foul.
Timeout on the floor
7;22 2nd half PSU 46 - MINN 44
Lucas gets a shot in the lane.
Bentley threw an awesome behind the back pass to Lucas who hit the 3 to put the Lady Lions level with Minnesota.
Gray finishes a steal by greene and Penn State is back in the lead.
Studevent in for Bentley and Nickson in for Trogele.
This is still a close game as we go into the stretch here.
11:18 2nd half MINN 40 - PSU 37
Well my idiot computer just exploded and it figures, because Penn State heated up.
Bentley ended the scoring drought with a jumper, then Nickson got a three-point play and Lucas hit a three.
Minneosta got an answer but Trogele just went the length of the floor to earn a trip to the line. The senior hit both shots and for the first time, the BJC is alive.
Sari Noga with a 3 for Sota to quiet the crowd a little, and an offensive foul by Trogele isn;t helping the good momentum.
Minnesota can't inbound the ball in the allotted five seconds. Seriously, that got called.
Greene tries to go up for a putback, misses and falls down hard then Nickson compltes the play and earns a trip to the line. Greene is slow to get up but does so and will be replaced by Gray.
At the line, Nickson hits her FT and the Lady lions are within three.
Bentley called for an illegal screen and Sota gets the ball in this time.
Gray misses an open three but a great defensive possession leads to a steal by bentley.
17:00 2nd MINN 33 - PSU 24
Well, I just realized the Orlando Magic and A-Rob Top 15 players Dwight Howard, JJ Redick and Jameer Nelson are playing on TNT. The sacrifices I make for this job. Oh well, the Heat aren't on until 1030.
Back to the Lady Lions, Minnesota gets the first basket of the half and Trogele sits for Womack less than a minute in to the second half.I
f this blog suddenly goes offline, it's because I hurled my netbook in a rage. This thing is really testing my nerves right now.
Penn State's shooting woes continue, but the team doesn't look like it wants to go after rebounds, which can't make Coquese happy.
Lucas is on for Gray. Bently turns it over in the backcourt and Antoine scores on a breakaway layup.
Studevent comes in for Bentley with Penn State down seven.
Studevent bricks a three off the side of the backboard and walks away dejectedly as it comes back to her predictably, she does not come up with the rebound
Timeout on the floor.
0:00 1st half MINN 26 - PSU 24
PSU comes out of the timeout and Studevent gets a layup to go, but Sota answers with a 3 from Leah Cotton, who well, hits all cotton.
Studevent hits a three and brings the Lady Lions within two as the clock runs out on the first half.
1;16 1st half MINN 23 - PSU 19
Out of the timeout, Bentley throws the ball away, but it was on Lucas for making the wrong cut.
Sota travels on the other end, but Lucas loses her handle on the ball and turns it over for PSU.
Loberg looks at an open shooter but instead goes up for a basket and knots the game at 19.
Penn State is called for a shot clock violation after Lucas has a desperation jumper blocked. Womack and Gay back for PSU
Sota goes ahead on another Loberg basket. My netbook is fighting me tooth and key to write this live blog. Again Loberg socres and Penn State takes timeout with Coquese looking rather upset
3:57 1st half PSU 19 - MINN 17
We're back with a Nikki Greene basket.
Lucas on an outlet pass goes up and gets fouled, which puts her at the line. The freshman sharpshooter sinks both after getting a roll on the second attempt.
On the next trip down, Lucas gets free for a 3 but can't get it to fall and Antoine answers for Sota.
Penn State travels which brings on Gizelle Studevent for Gray.
Sota off on a run here as Sari Noga hits a corner three, and they close the gap to one.
Penn State playing a 2-3 zone and Studevent manages to come down with a rebound. Lucas again drives to the lane and again gets fouled but almost Dwyane Wade-s the ball through the hoop. Would of been ill if it went.
Lucas back at the line hits the first as Edwards comes in for Wolfe and Lucas misses the second shot.
Nikki Greene has the ball knocked out of her hands and goes crashing to the floor after it. That was loud, but PSU comes up with possession.
7:45 1st half PSU 14 - MINN 12
Womack and Trogele came in for Nickson and Lucas after the break.
There's another timeout but I'm not going to insert a break, because nothing happened.
In other Penn State news, men's soccer forward Corey Hertzog was drafted by the New York Red Bulls with the 13th pick in the MLS SuperDraft today. I've now filled my shameless soccer plug for the night.
Betley was called for a foul before that timeout but it's moot as Sota turns it over.
Gray finds Bentley on a run-out and the sophomore finishes the layup, but Trogele is called for her second foul as Nickson comes in for Greene.
Womack comes in fro Trogele, who takes her right shoe off on the bench and is fixing her ankle brace. Washington singled Trogele out as a player she tried to rest over the bye date last weekend.
Womack goes to the line, hitting her first and second, which brings Wofle off the bench to replace Womack. Oddly, Womack isn't getting long stretches on the court tonight.
Loberg gets a very friendly bounce, which is ridiculous because this isn't her home court. Nickson really wants the ball inside but doesn't get though she gets a called foul on Jackie Voight.
Greene in for Wolfe, and Mastey in for Minnesota. Nickson quickly called for her second foul, which brings Wolfe right back off the bench.
Loberg travels and we have timeout.
11:35 1st half PSU 10 - MINN 10
The Lady Lions have not played since Jan. 6 at Northwestern and they look out of synch to start here tonight.
Womack is in, replacing Betley and Ariel Edwards is in for Trogele.Nickson your only starter and Lucas has switched to SG.
Edwards rolls off a screen for an open jumper but it rims out and Wolfe can't handle it. Gray returns for Womack, maybe Coquese sees something for the sharp shooting gray to exploit.
Yeah, I'm right, as gray drains a triple from the top of the key.
Sota's answer clanks out and Lucas gets on the board with her first basket, a 3. With nine more makes, the freshman will tie Penn State's single-season threes record.
Kiara Buford is off to a good start, with six of Sota's ten points. Greene back in for Wolfe while Loberg and Sari Noga check in for Sota.
Lucas drives in and gets some contact, which brings Bentley off the bench to replace Edwards. Nickson called for a push-off in the post.
Lucas gets up for a nice board but the offense slogs down on the other end.
And we have a PSU timeout.
15:40 1st MINN 6 - PSU 4
'Sota wins the tip, but Trogele with a nice hustle play to tie up the ball on the wing and force the alternating possession to the Lady Lions. That's a bit of color for an upcoming feature.
Penn State's first shot is a miss and on the other end, Trogele is called for her first foul on Katie Loberg. At yesterday's presser, Trogele said she's being concious of cutting down her fouls, but she had no help inside.
Loberg makes one of two, but Nickson works the ball inside and gets the Lady Lions on the board.
Gray misses a three, but Nickson flies in, grabs the ball with one hand, clears space and scores. That's what the redshirt forward gives you game in and game out.
Sota with the first sub and it's forward Kionna Kellogg.
Green gets called for a foul, which the crowd isn't happy with and it puts Loberg back at the line.
With 17:05 left, Maggie Lucas comes in for Gray as Penn State's first sub. Then Marisa Wolfe replaces Greene with the game tied at 4 after another 1-of-2 from Loberg.
It's a relatively uptempo game so far, which Coquese Washinton said to expect, but, it's been anything but pretty so far.
Lucas copies Trogele with a tie up on the wing, but this time it goes back to Sota thansk the arrows. The Lady Lions force Minnesota into a bad shot but then turn the ball over and Kiara Buford gets her second basket of the game.
There's a timeout on the floor and Renee Womack should be in after the break
Good evening fans, Andrew Robinson here to blog tonight's game despite a painful blister on my left hand.
13-4 Penn State State takes on 8-9 Minnesota, which is 0-4 in the Big Ten.
In this special Thursday edition of the Tuesday Timeout, we spoke with Nittany Lion-newcomer Andrew Long.
The Iowa State transfer officially signed with Penn State on Dec. 27 and made his first appearance in blue and white this past weekend at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Va. Long went 4-0 in Hampton on his way to the 133 pound championship. The sophomore is already ranked No. 5 in the country in his weight class and is proving his worth early. We talked to Long and found out a little bit more about the talented Iowan.
Following a first-place finish at the Virginia Duals this past weekend in Hampton, Va., the Penn State men's wrestling team retained its No. 2 national ranking.
Cael Sanderson's crew went 4-0 in Virginia after defeating VMI, Edinboro, No. 17 Kent State and No. 11 Michigan en route to the tournament championship.
After a 4-0 run to the 125-pound title at the Duals, redshirt senior Brad Pataky (pictured at right) is in the national rankings for the first time this season at No. 11. Pataky has missed much of the season thus far due to a right-knee strain but is now healthy and ready to go.
Redshirt sophomore Quentin Wright sits No. 7 at 184 pounds. Wright hasn't competed since suffering a shoulder injury at the Nittany Lion Open in December and is 8-2 on the year.
Going 4-0 for the 133 pound title, Iowa State transfer Andrew Long made his Penn State debut in Virginia. The redshirt sophomore All-American is ranked No. 5. Also ranked No. 5 at 141 pounds is true freshman Andrew Alton. Alton is 22-2 on the year with 15 pins, already good for fifth all-time at Penn State for falls in a single season.
Redshirt junior Frank Molinaro is No. 6 at 149 pounds. Redshirt freshmen David Taylor and Ed Ruth hold the Lions' highest individual rankings. Taylor is undefeated at 23-0 and stands No. 3, and Ruth has moved up to No. 2 at 174 pounds with a 21-1 record. Ranked at No. 9 at heavyweight is redshirt junior Cameron Wade.
The Lions are off this weekend, and are back in action again on Jan. 21. No. 23 Pittsburgh visits Happy Valley for a nationally televised dual meet at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
Wow! That's the only word I can come up with to describe what just happened. A crazy left-handed lay-up by Battle misses rim with less than two seconds left, but Illinois doesn't get a block out on Jones, who dunks it back in with exactly one tick left on the clock.
Illinois' desperation heave is no good. And the fans rush the court again.
1:35 remaining: PSU 55, ILL 53
PSU hasn't done a good job of generating offense these last few minutes. The good news for them: Neither has Illinois. DeChellis called a full timeout here to set up a play. Penn State needs a bucket here. You're not going to hold down McCamey and Tisdale over the final 90 seconds.
4:25 left remaining: PSU 55, ILL 51
It looked like it was going to be same old Penn State again for a second. Leading by two, Jermaine Marshall fouled D.J. Richardson on a 3-pointer. Richardson hit all 3 free throws to give the Illini a 1-point lead.
But Andrew Jones hit a 16-foot jumper on the Lions' next possession, and then Battle hit a 3 from the coaches' box. Battle let out a roar to the crowd, and, after an Illini timeout, the crowd rose to its feet. This place is energized.
PSU is prone to lapses on defense, and, if the Lions hope to pull off a second straight upset, they can't have any.
7:51 remaining: PSU 44, ILL 43
Sloppy four minutes by both Penn State and Illinois. Turnovers, some missed chip shots, airballs.
It looks like Illinois' size is starting to wear down Penn State. Every defensive rebound for PSU is a struggle. Tisdale has three fouls, so PSU should try to attack him and make him pick up his fourth, relegating him to the bench until the final media timeout roughly.
This one will come down to the wire.
11:42 remaining: PSU 42, ILL 40
The Illini took their second lead of the game, but it was short-lived. The Lions left Tisdale wide open for a 3, which he knocked down for a one-point lead. On the Lions' ensuing possession and with the shot clock set to expire, Battle took a 3 from the PSU logo. As the ball swished through, the crowd rose to its feet and exploded.
Imagine how much help a full BJC crowd would be to the Lions.
15:09 remaining in the second half: PSU 35, ILL 30
Penn State struggled with Illinois' size early in the half as the Illini had a couple of blocks, but a Billy Oliver 3-pointer that hit the rim, bounced straight up and then in got the momentum back in the Lions' favor. Battle stole the ball on the Illini's next possession and scored on a fast break and then Battle drilled a 3 on another fast break to give the Lions a five-point lead.
The Illini have been solid but unspectacular in this game, but that is what is allowing them to stay in the game. PSU has been very streaky, so the Illini's consistency isn't allowing Penn State to pull away.
HALFTIME: PSU 25 , ILL 25
Penn State looked like the more dominant team for about 90 percent of the first half, playing with confidence and energy. Yet the Lions let up a bit at the end -- ill-timed with the Illini finally finding a rhythm -- and the half ends with the game knotted at 25.
The Illini ended the half cruising on a 12-0 run. The Lions were scoreless in the final 5:58.
The key stat of the half has to be the turnover margin, as the Illini have committed nine turnovers while the Lions have five. That's what kept Penn State in it for most of the half.
Also to be noted is that each of the Lions' five starters have scored -- lead by Battle's nine points -- but Penn State has not received any points from the bench.
1:14 remaining in the first half: PSU 25, ILL 21
It's now an 8-0 Illinois run.
The Lions' lead is slipping away as Tisdale scores to pull the Illini within four. A Jones turnover on Penn State's next possession didn't help matters. The Lions could be lucky if they maintain this four-point lead into halftime. Illinois looks like it's heating up.
3:27 remaining in the first half: PSU 25, ILL 17
The only thing keeping Illinois in it right now is the fact that its 3-for-7 from 3-point range. Other than that, the Illini have not been able to score on a consistent basis, making only six of 19 shots from the floor. McCamey only has five points right now as he's only 1-for-3 from the field.
Meanwhile, the Lions' scoring is evenly distributed -- exactly what they need -- as Battle has nine points, Jones has six and Jackson has five.
5:53 remaining in the first half: PSU 25, ILL 13
Battle intercepts an Illini pass, then converts on a breakaway dunk to make it 22-13 Penn State. The crowd is the loudest its been all night.
On the Lions ensuing possession, Brooks hits a three from the corner to extend the lead to 25-13 (Tisdale missed a jumper on Illinois' possession).
Weber burns another timeout, clearly not happy with his team. The Illini, who came in hitting 65 percent from floor in Big Ten games, are just 4-for-16 from the floor.
8:35 remaining in the first half: PSU 16, ILL 13
About nine minutes in and Cole hits a three to cut Penn State's lead to just five points. The Lions have lead by as many as nine points tonight. They're not exactly hot, Illinois is just struggling to get it going offensively. The Illini are shooting a mere 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) from the floor.
Now, under nine minutes to go in the half and it's 16-10 Penn State. Battle misses a shot from 3-point range and the Illini drive down the court then convert on two free-throws by McCamey.
The Lions turnover the ball on their next possession and you can clearly see Tim Frazier's frustration as the sophomore sighs and simply walks down the court. McCamey hits a three and Penn State's lead is cut to just three.
11:42 remaining in the first half: PSU 13, ILL 5
DeChellis' first two subs off the bench tonight are Billy Oliver and Jermaine Marshall. Oliver's been the team's go-to sixth man all season long while Marshall has emerged in the past two games as a serious scoring threat off the bench. He has scored 26 points in the last two games combined after scoring only 12 points in the first 13 games.
It'll be interesting to see if he can maintain this high level of play. Marshall missed out on his entire senior season of high school with a knee injury and redshirted last year at Penn State -- adding 15 pounds of muscles in the weight room -- so it's an adjustment for him to be playing now on a regular basis.
One of the reasons DeChellis has relied on Marshall, and really the key ingredient to his success, is that the redshirt freshman is confident. Very confident. At practice this week, senior Jeff Brooks told me Marshall talks all the time. All the time. On the court, off the court, etc. And it's all positive encouragement. Brooks called Marshall -- who is just 19 years old -- a young leader for the Lions.
12:57 remaining in the first half: PSU 11, ILL 2
Jones, who tied a career-high 16 points in the Michigan State win, seems to be picking up where he left off. The senior has accounted for six of the Lions' first 11 points and is the leading scorer on the court right now. He also looks like the most confident player -- which is key if Penn State is going to pull off a second straight upset. The Lions need all four of their senior starters to produce for them to have a chance in this game, or any game for that matter in the ultra-competitive Big Ten conference.
16:40 remaining in the first half: PSU 9, ILL 2
The Lions have come out hot -- hitting four of their first six shots -- and have charged to a 7-2 lead. The crowd -- I'm pretty sure it's Thon Night -- is lively and Penn State is playing energized basketball.
An Drew Jones dunk stretches the Lions' lead to 9-2 and Bruce Weber calls timeout to settle things down.
There's no surprises on the Lions' end of the court -- coach Ed DeChellis has gone with his usual starting five. Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, D.J. Jackson, Drew Jones and Tim Frazier.
The Illini go with D.J. Richardson, Mike Davis, Bill Cole, Mike Tisdale and Demetri McCamey .
You'll definitely want to keep an eye on McCamey and Battle, as they are two senior All-Big Ten guards facing off eachother. Pretty cool, as you rarely see that in the college game these days. You can read more about the intriguing matchup in columnist AJ Cassavell's story today: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2011/01/11/AJ_column.aspx
The snow is falling outside, but the students are filling up their seats at the Bryce Jordan Center as the Penn State men's basketball team looks to build off its upset win against Michigan State on Saturday in a key matchup tonight against No. 16 Illinois. This is Collegian basketball writer Emily Kaplan and I'll be taking you through the first half.
The Illini enter the game as one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten. They are shooting 64.7 percent from the field in conference play, and set a school record by shooting 70.5 percent last Thursday against Northwestern. See if Illinois will stay hot tonight against the Nittany Lions and what should be a decent home crowd.
Another storyline to follow will be Talor Battle's playing time. The senior captain, who has averaged better than 35 minutes per game over his four-year career at Penn State, is poised to break the school record for minutes played. Battle needs to play in just seven minutes tonight to eclipse Joe Crispin's record of 4,063 minutes played between 1998-2001.
Penn State will take on UCLA, the University of Hawaii, and Ball State in Honolulu this weekend. Here's what they've done this season and how they have fared against the Nittany Lions in the past.
Penn State v. UCLA
UCLA has opened the season 2-1, defeating UC San Diego and Long Beach State in the UCSB Invitational. The Bruins fell to UC Santa Barbara in the second match of the tournament. UCLA came back from 2-0 down against Long Beach State to take third in the invitational. Junior Jeremy Casebeer had 14 kills and had a .346 hitting percentage while Matt Hanley had 11 kills and hit at .348. In the loss to Santa Barbara, UCLA hit just .220 and fell 3-1.
UCLA has won the Outrigger Invitational five times in ten appearances and finished second four times.
The last time the Nittany Lions and Bruins met was in 2008, when Penn State swept UCLA in the second match of the Outrigger Invitational. UCLA is 22-6 all time against Penn State.
Penn State vs. Ball State
Ball State opened its season Friday Jan. 7 against Lindenwood and beat the Lions in straight sets. The Cardinals had four players with at least six kills, and got 14 kills from redshirt freshman libero Tommy Rouse.
In 2010, Penn State defeated Ball State twice during the regular season, 3-0 and 3-2. In the first matchup, Joe Sunder registered 13 kills and a .706 hitting percentage for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State vs. Hawaii
Hawaii will open its season with the Outrigger Invitational. Penn State defeated Hawaii in the Outrigger Invitational in 2010 in five sets. Tom Comfort had 21 kills and hit at .548 while Sunder tallied 19 kills and hit at .400. Edgardo Goas had 72 assists for the Nittany Lions. Joshua Walker had 22 kills and a .391 hitting percentage to lead Hawaii in that match.
Having not played since falling to Stanford in last year's national title game, the Nittany Lions should be ready to go. Despite the loss of opposite Will Price and middle hitter Max Lipsitz, Penn State has had players step up during fall training and head coach Mark Pavlik expects his new starters to do well in a competitive atmosphere.
It Was Over When...: Andrew Jones tipped in Talor Battle's missed 3-point attempt with less than two minutes left in regulation. The Nittany Lions were down by one point, and everybody knows when the game is close, the ball goes to Battle. But when Battle missed the shot early in the shot click, Jones was right there, following up the shot. Jones scored, giving the Lions a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Player of the Game: All of Penn State's four seniors. The win marked the first time this season that the Lions' four senior starters -- Battle, Jones, D.J. Jackson and Andrew Jones -- posted double-digit points, and just the second time ever in their four years. The only other occurrence was Feb. 17, 2010 at Northwestern.
Stat of the Game: 17. That's the number of points Brooks scored Saturday, marking his 12th double-digit scoring game of the season. Last year, Brooks recorded double-digit points in just nine games.
Surprise of the Game: Jones. The senior forward had a breakout performance, scoring 16 points along with four offensive rebounds. This could be a turning point in the season for Jones, who was averaging 5.1 points per game and struggled to find a spark in his game. Saturday marked his first double-digit game this season.
Quotable: "Not everything was perfect, but I think we did everything hard tonight," senior forward D. J. Jackson said of the win.
What's next: Penn State concludes a three-game homestand against top-25 teams when it takes on No. 20 Illinois on Tuesday night at 9.
Penn State wins, 66-62, over No. 18 Michigan State
This is the Lions' biggest win of the last two years, which sends a decent contingent of students onto the floor to celebrate the win.
Frazier hit one of his two foul shots, giving the Lions their four-point lead, then Lucious decided to take the ball in for a quick layup. He missed the layup, giving the Lions the win.
That's the Spartans' fifth loss of the season, with their other losses all coming against ranked teams — No. 1 Duke, No. 8 Syracuse, currently No. 8 UConn, and then-No. 18 Texas.
That's impressive company for the Lions.
Check back with the Collegian for a full story.
Penn State leads 65-62 with 8.7 seconds left in regulation.
The Spartans opted for a contested 3-pointer, with Lucas swinging the ball to Summers in the right-hand corner. Brooks had a hand in his face and the senior airballed the shot.
Frazier grabs the rebound and is fouled. He's got two shots, one of which will make it a two possession game.
Penn State leads 65-62, with 15.3 left in regulation.
Twelve seconds separated the shot clock and the game clock, and the Lions drained a lot of time off the clock. Battle then got the ball on the right side, felt his defender off him and pulled up for a fadeaway jumper. He nailed the shot, gave a fist pump and ran back down the floor with his team looking close to closing out a huge win for the Lions.
Tom Izzo calls a timeout here. Will the Spartans go for a quick two, or try to send it to overtime with a 3-pointer? They're 6-for-18 from 3-point range on the day.
Penn State leads, 63-62, with 38.3 left in regulation.
Summers makes his first and misses the second, with the loose ball going to the Lions. They still lead by one with DeChellis calling a full timeout.
Marshall is now back in the game for the Lions, but the offense is still stagnant. Battle gets open and drives down the lane, dished to Jones, who gets fouled by Green, who looked like he got a clean piece of the Jones layup.
Jones makes one of two, putting the game at 63-61.
Then Durrell Summers drove the lane, closely guarded by Jackson and lost the ball, getting wrapped up by Jackson and Frazier. The referees didn't whistle for a jump ball, though, then blowing the whistle after Frazier grabbed Summers' arm. That's Frazier's fourth foul, and the crowd hated the call.
Penn State leads 62-61, with 1:26 left in regulation.
Battle forced up a 3-pointer early in the shot clock, but Jones somehow tipped the rebound in to give the Nittany Lions the lead once again. This is the loudest the crowd has been all day, pumped up with the effort from the big man from Philadelphia.
Izzo called a timeout to set up a play here.
I'm surprised DeChellis hasn't gone back to Marshall instead of Frazier, but the Lions' starting five is back on the court.
Korie Lucious misses a 3-pointer at the top of the key, and Brooks blocks a Lucas layup, then grabs the rebound. DeChellis calls a timeout here with the Lions holding possession and the lead.
Roe gives the Spartans the lead back, with an impressive, powerful move down low to put the Spartans up, 61-60.
Battle missed a 3-pointer from the left side of the court on the other end, then Tom Izzo calls a 30-second timeout with Roe trapped in the corner.
Penn State leads 60-59, with 3:41 left in regulation. Battle is guarded closely by Korie Lucious on the left side of the court, and the officials rule the ball went out of bounds off Battle's leg. Another media timeout here at the BJC as both teams are battling in a closely-contested contest. Four of the last six games between these two teams have been decided by single digits.
The Spartans push the ball down the court after Battle misses a 3-pointer. Summers gets the ball as the trailer, and will go to the line for a 1-and-1, but misses the front half. Marshall was whistled for his fourth foul on the play, which easily could have been a charge. He's still in the game with four fouls, showing DeChellis' trust in the redshirt freshman. He's has back-to-back great games.
Lions still clinging to a three-point lead.
The Lions with a broken possession, then good defense on the next play down the court, but Summers puts in an emphatic put-back jam off a Roe miss. Spartans trail by one now.
Jackson misses another 3-pointer and is now replaced by Billy Oliver at the 4:40 with Roe at the line. Marshall also is replaced by Frazier. Roe misses the second one, with the score tied at 58 right now.
A bailout foul on the left block by Korie Lucious, putting Battle to the line for a 1-and-1 with 4:20 left. The senior captain from Albany hits both free throws to give the Lions a 60-58 lead. That was a big foul by Lucious — there's not much offense on the floor for the Lions with Jackson and Marshall off the floor.
Green is fouled by Brooks on the right side of the key, putting the big man at the free throw line. He goes 1-for-2 from the line, moving the score to 60-59. Jackson now enters the game once again for Brooks.
Timeout on the floor.
Penn State leads, 58-55, with 7:22 left in regulation.
Spartan freshman Adreian Payne hits 1-of-2 free throws to cut the lead to one, but Brooks hits a jumper out of the timeout to keep the Penn State lead at three points with 7:38 left.
On the ensuing possession, Korie Lucious can't hold on to an errant pass and steps on the halfcourt line, giving the Lions the ball on the Spartans' their 10th turnover. Penn State has turned it over only four times.
Another timeout on the floor now with 7:22 left.
Penn State leads, 56-54, with 8:19 left in regulation. Jeff Brooks hit a long 2-pointer on the right side to give the Lions a two-point lead. The basket was originally ruled a 3-pointer, but reversed by the officials during the timeout.
Delvon Roe goes to the bench with his fourth foul. Both teams are about to be in the bonus soon — the Spartans have five team fouls and the Lions have six.
Jermaine Marshall continues to show his playmaking ability, hitting a long 2-point jumper from the left side, giving the Lions a one-point lead, 50-49.
DeChellis puts the Lions in a 1-3-1 zone down the floor, but no one switched over to guard Lucious in the corner. The guard nails the 3-pointer to give the Spartans the lead, 52-50.
After a really stagnant possession down the floor, the Lions are probably really tired from this fast-paced game, Marshall hits a 3-pointer at the top of the key with the shot clock expiring. The redshirt freshman has eight points now.
Green responds with a layup down the other end, tying the game back up at 54.
Back down the court after a Summers missed 3, Brooks hits an open 3-pointer to put the Lions up three, 57-54 with 8:19 left.
Michigan State leads 49-48, with 11:44 left in the second half. Both teams are trading baskets in the second half, as Jackson has been huge with an eight-point run for the Lions.
Jackson now has the last eight points for the Nittany Lions, extending their lead to 44-40. He's having a huge second half thus far to pace the Lions. He's got 11 total points in the game, giving PSU three forwards in double digits.
Green responds with his first points of the game, a jumper at the top of the key, bringing the lead to 44-42.
Drew Jones now with a nice tip-in off a Battle fast break layup. The big man is having his best game of the year.
Lucas responds with five straight points for the Spartans, putting the Spartans back up by one. Both teams are trading baskets here to start the half.
Jermaine Marshall with a really nice take to the hoop, slashing down the left side and finishing with a layup to give the Lions back the lead, 48-47.
Jackson fouls Nix down low, putting the big man at the line. He hits both shots, giving the Spartans a one-point lead.
Jackson gives the Lions the lead, 41-40, with a jumper off the dribble. He has the last four points of the half, giving the Lions their first lead since the middle of the first half. 15:45 left in the half now after a 3-second call on Garrick Sherman, with nice defense from Jones and Brooks. That's a 10-4 run to start the half for Penn State.
Brooks has 13 points and eight rebounds right now, leading the Lions in points. Jones is behind him with 10 points, and Battle with nine.
Michigan State leads, 40-39 with 16:43 left in the half after a charge called on Kalin Lucas. Jackson got position nicely on the left block.
Some nice back and forth inside play to start the half..a no-look pass to Drew Jones for a powerful dunk to start the half..then an ally-oop layup for Summers. That puts Jones at 10 points for day, his first double digit game since the last game of the 09-10 season.
Brooks then drove the lane, got hacked but it wasn't called, then corralled the ball and took it back strong. He made 1-of-2,but that's the kind of energy the Lions need from Brooks.
Summers might end up with 30 points this game, he puts an offensive rebound back in and gets fouled, but misses the layup. Jackson hasn't been boxing out the small forward, and he's shooting 6-of-10 from the field.
Jackson hits a 3-pointer now after Battle tried to drive the lane. He dribbled it off a Spartans' ankle, corralled it, then dished it to Jackson for a 3 at the top of the key. The Lions need some more contribution from him, too.
Michigan State leads, 36-31 at halftime. The Spartans close the half on a Darrell Summers 5-0 run in a 34-second span to take the lead going into the half.
Leading scorers at the half:
MSU: Summers - 14 points
PSU: Brooks - 10 points
Brooks hits both foul shots, bringing the Lions within four, 29-25.
Back-to-back missed jumpers by Green and Frazier, then an airball on a 3-pointer by Korie Lucious. Don't see a lot of those..Lucious has good range but he was quite a bit behind the 3-point line.
Battle fouled on the play, and hits both free throws. Lions trail by only two now.
Next time down the floor, Nix is whistled for an offensive foul, as about three Lions went down like a Jenga game in the paint.
Brooks ties the game back up for the Lions back down the floor with a quick-release jumper on the elbow. 29-29 at the BJC with two minutes left.
Back down the floor, Michigan State gets the ball to Nix inside for a quick deuce.
Battle gets fouled up top on a reach by Kalin Lucas, and hits both with the Lions in the double bonus. Score tied at 31.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Steve Kirkpatrick sighting. He's in the game and he's running down the floor on a fast break. Battle threads the needle with a pass to Kirkpatrick on the left side, but can't make the contested layup. He gets the loose ball, though, and a nice cheer for the effort by the senior from Carlisle. Brooks airballs a runner in the lane, though, giving Michigan State the ball.
They'll call a timeout here to set up a play. Out of the timeout, Summers hits a 3-pointer.
DeChellis calls a timeout, likely setting up Penn State for the last shot, but Battle's shot at the elbow is an airball, and Brooks is called for a loose ball foul, sending Summers to the foul line. He hits both shots with 0.2 seconds left. MSU 36-PSU 31 at the half.
Consecutive fast-break layups by Lucas and Summers put the Spartans up by six, 29-23. Summers was fouled by Frazier on the layup and hit the ensuing foul shot. Timeout on the floor now with 3:48 left in the half and Brooks at the line for two FTs.
Nix misses on a turn-around hook shot in the lane off an inbounds play to begin play, then the ball went off on a Michigan State defender to give the Lions the ball.
Then DJ Jackson missed on a runner in the lane and got blocked by Green on an offensive rebound. Penn State battling nicely on the boards for the most part, leading the Spartans 15-11 in total rebounds.
Brooks has another nice block on Derrick Nix, but Nix grabs the ball back and lays it in to give the Spartans the lead, 21-20.
Jackson misses yet another open jumper off a nice pass from Frazier. He's 1-for-7 from the field thus far.
Back down the court, big man Draymond Green with an impressive touch pass from the top of the paint to Garrick Sherman down on the block. Green is one of the best passing big man in the nation. Sherman got fouled on the play, too, and hit the foul shot to put MSU up, 24-20.
Battle stops the bleeding with a tough 3-pointer in the corner to bring the Lions within one.
Timeout on the floor now, as Jermaine Marshall is whistled for a blocking foul. The Penn State coaches and the Nittany Lion fans wanted a charge called along the baseline. Penn State leads, 20-19 with 7:27 left in the first half.
Brooks converts on both free throws after the timeout, making it a 17-14 lead for Penn State.
Next possession down the court, Roe grabs a loose ball and puts it in. DeChellis is mad with Oliver, who was just standing under the hoop, not really boxing anyone out. Roe got fouled but missed the foul shot.
Drew Jones with a nice put back off a Battle missed layup. Battle switched hands on the layup as Jones' man came to help, leaving Jones alone for the easy tip-in. Penn State, 19-16.
Jermaine Marshall with a nice take on the right side and gets fouled. The Red Land, Pa. native hits 1-of-2, putting Penn State up by four points.
The Lions fail to defend on the ensuing possession, leaving Lucas alone for a 3-pointer on the top of the key. PSU leads, 20-19 with 8:51 to go.
Resetting the lineups for both teams after Battle missed two foul shots:
For Penn State: Jones, Jackson, Brooks, Frazier and Marshall
For Michigan State: Lucas, Roe, Summers, Nix and Appling. Freshman center Adreian Payne got some burn, too, for about a minute.
Penn State leads, 15-14, 11:32 left in the first half.
Corey Lucious, Garrick Sherman and Austin Thornton check into the game after the timeout, with Lucas and Green remaining on the floor for the Spartans. No changes for the Lions.
Michigan State unsuccessful on its first possession, and Drew Jones just hit a jumper from behind the foul line to give the Lions the lead once again, 13-12. That came after Green blocked a Brooks shot but Penn State retained possession.
Freshman Jermaine Marshall, fresh off a breakout, career-high point total of 18 points.
Talor Battle just slashed to the lane, taking a nice pass from Drew Jones and finishing it nicely. Penn State leads, 15-12.
Roe and Summers just checked back to the game at the 12:22 mark. Izzo has a lot of options off the bench.
Jeff Brooks with a HUGE block of Summers as he slashed to the hoop. The Lions played great team defense, moving to the ball on that possession, then Brooks punctuated it with a rejection. Then on the restart, the athletic senior Korie Lucious slashed to the hoop untouched to bring the Spartans within one. DeChellis got heated, laying into Jackson as he ran back down the court.
Timeout on the floor now with Brooks at the foul line after a nice offensive rebound of a Marshall runner.
Michigan State leads, 12-11, 14:10 left in the first half.
The Spartans have worked it in to their bigs in two of their first three possessions. Draymond Green and Delvon Roe with two bad misses, and Kalin Lucas scoring on a fast break layup.
Jeff Brooks gave Penn State the first points of the game with a runner in the lane, and D.J. Jackson hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Brooks. Brooks just corralled a loose ball and took it up strong for a layup to give the Lions a lead momentarily, but Michigan State has responded with baskets on its last three possessions, two 3-pointers from Durrell Summers. Delvon Roe just hit a nice jumper from about 12 feet.
The Lions' offense is doing well.. a lot of movement so far.
Michigan State leads 12-11 at the first media timeout with 14:10 left in the first half.
There's a big Spartan fan presence at the Jordan Center, with their fans clapping as the lineups are announced. Korie Lucious isn't in the starting lineup for the Spartans. Tom Izzo has mixed up the starting lineups quite a bit to start the season, with the freshman guard Appling starting the last few games. Expect Lucious, the experienced senior with nice touch and great handle, to get a lot of minutes. The Spartans have a lot of depth, too, playing 11 deep at times, so expect Izzo to mix and match a lot.
Michigan State starting lineup: G Keith Appling, F Draymond Green, F Durrell Summers, F Delvon Roe, G Kalin Lucas
Penn State startling lineup: G Tim Frazier, G Talor Battle, F D.J. Jackson, F Jeff Brooks and F/C Drew Jones
In a snowy State College, Penn State is hosting one of the conference's best, No. 18 Michigan State. There's about 10 minutes to tip at the Bryce Jordan Center in this conference game. This is editor Steve Hennessey taking you through the live blog of this game.
No Taran Buie sightings during pregame layup lines. Coach Ed DeChellis said in his teleconference yesterday he had no update on the freshman guard. Looks like he's still suspended indefinitely.
We'll update you as the starting lineups are announced.
Scouting Michigan State
After back-to-back Final Four seasons, Michigan State entered the 2010-11 season with its usual high expectations and a No. 2 ranking in the coaches' poll. With an experienced, battle-tested squad returning to East Lansing this year, the Spartans appeared destined for another successful season. However, things haven't come so easily for Tom Izzo's squad this year. His team enters today's game against Penn State with a 10-4 record and a No. 18 ranking. Nevertheless, the Spartans' four losses have come against some of the best teams in college basketball this season — Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse and Texas. Here is a look at what Penn State can expect from Michigan State and what the Nittany Lions need to do to pull off the upset.
Hot and Cold
The past five games have been completely different for Penn State and Michigan State. The Spartans come into today's game with a 4-1 record in their last five. Their one loss came to a ranked Texas squad that has found its identity. MSU has started Big Ten play with wins against two tough opponents in Minnesota and Northwestern. On the flipside, Penn State has gone 1-4 in its last five games. That stretch includes an abysmal showing at home against Maine as well as an 1-2 start to Big Ten play after Purdue ran away with the game Wednesday night.
Both teams came into this season with one thing in common. They were both very experienced. However, the Spartans' returning players are used to playing in meaningful games in March while Penn State's only know the championship NIT run in the 2008-09 season. Returning for Michigan State this year are Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Korie Lucious and Draymond Green. Meanwhile, Penn State's seniors have underwhelmed thus far. Talor Battle has been the Nittany Lions' main source for scoring, but has been very streaky at times with too many extended cold shooting stretches. Jeff Brooks has also stepped up his game, but not enough in big moments. D.J. Jackson has had a few good spurts recently but hasn't been a consistent threat.
For some reason, Michigan State has always had a problem with Penn State once a year for the last three seasons. Last year, the Lions almost pulled off a huge upset against the Spartans before losing down the stretch, 67-65. Battle, Jackson and Brooks combined for 41 points and Penn State came within a basket of a shocking win. However, the win wouldn't have been so shocking since Penn State actually pulled one out the season before. In that game two years ago, Battle scored a then-career high of 29 points as the Lions shocked MSU on the road. And in Battle's freshman season, the guard put up 17 points to help lead Penn State to victory. It would be a huge confidence booster for Penn State to keep up with the Spartans in this meeting.
Doesn't get easier
Virtually every analyst predicted the Big Ten as the nation's best or second-best conference and Penn State will find out why over the next couple weeks. The Lions already saw what Purdue can do when the Boilermakers handled Penn State on Wednesday, 83-68. Michigan State is the next challenge and after the Spartans its Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue again. After a less daunting game against Iowa, its Wisconsin and another game against Illinois. Then it's a home date against Michigan, which already beat Penn State, followed by Northwestern twice, Minnesota twice, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Safe to say, Penn State has its hands full. A win against Michigan State would be huge with such an imposing schedule the rest of the way. There won't be a single easy game the rest of the way for the Lions, who have at least shown some success against the Spartans in the past.
Three Keys for Penn State
1. Start out strong and don't let up- We've seen this Penn State team play very well at times in the first half. Against both Purdue and Maryland this season, the Lions played at a high level early on to give their fans hope. However, things eventually crumbled in both of those losses as the Lions couldn't sustain their momentum for a full 40 minutes. A big knock on this team is that it can't finish out games and that has been true at times. The Nittany Lions were able to pull it off against Indiana to open the Big Ten season but not against Michigan. It won't be an easy task against the Spartans but it will be necessary to pull the upset off.
2. Find some help for Battle- This has been the key all season long for the Lions. Battle has proved in the past that he can take over a game on his own but Penn State plays its best when others step up. With his brother Taran Buie suspended indefinitely, the bench is relatively thin which means Battle will likely play another 40 minute game. Brooks will need to have a big game and Jackson has to find his shot early on and not abandon it like he has in the past. If the Spartans are able to solely focus on stopping Battle, we can see another rough shooting night from the senior. Penn State can't beat an experienced Spartans team behind another 6-for-22 shooting effort from its star player.
3. See if Jermaine Marshall can duplicate his performance - If there was one bright spot in Penn State's loss against Purdue, it was without a doubt Marshall. The redshirt freshman came out of nowhere to contribute 18 points off the bench to lead the Lions while shutting down E'Twaun Moore. We know Battle, Jackson and Brooks can score. But we don't know much about anyone else on this team. It's too early to abandon this year but coach Ed DeChellis has to put some thought into next season. Four seniors will be graduating and there is no guarantee Taran Buie will be back after the coach suspended him indefinitely. That leaves Billy Oliver, Tim Frazier and Cammeron Woodyard as the most experienced Nittany Lions and that trio won't cut it in the Big Ten. We saw Tre' Bowman have a good game earlier this season but we haven't seen much of him since. DeChellis can't let that happen with Marshall. If Wednesday was no fluke, Marshall can be a key player off the bench this year and, more importantly, as a starter next year.
The Lady Lions followed up a great win against then-No. 13 Iowa with a 15-point loss to unranked Wisconsin.
Tonight, Penn State (12-4, 1-1 Big Ten) looks to bounce back when it takes on Northwestern (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
The game should be a tough test for Penn State – Northwestern received votes in both polls this week.
Senior Amy Jaeschke leads the Wildcats. The 6-foot-5 center is second in the Big Ten with 23.6 points per game, fourth with 9.1 rebounds per contest and first in the conference in blocks, averaging four.
In Penn State’s single matchup against Northwestern last season, Jaeschke led all scorers with 22 in a Nittany Lion victory. Jaeschke should pose a tough challenge down low for Penn State center Nikki Greene.
Northwestern enters the game third in the conference in scoring, averaging 72.9 while Penn State is first with an 83.1 average. The Lions and Wildcats each shoot 46 percent from the field, but the Lady Lions shoot better from beyond the arc, by five percent (43.5-38.5 percent).
The Lady Lions have a week off after this game before hosting Minnesota.
From Ed Hightower's whistle and myself, thanks for following along. You can catch your regularly scheduled beat writers back here on Saturday when the Lions take on Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans at 1 p.m.
3:46 2nd half PUR 72 - PSU 60
On the inbounds, Frazier gets a tie-up and wins possession for the Lions. Battle can't convert this 3-pointer however and Marshall is left to foul Smith.
Smith converts both.
Battle loses the ball in the lane, dives on it, flips it over his head to Frazier, who misses the 3. However, Brooks cleans it up and gets an and-one for his efforts.
Another timeout on the floor.
4:17 2nd half PUR 70 - PSU 58
Purdue looks plenty happy to just work the ball around then drive in for a layup.
Jermaine Marshall has continued to play hard, getting a steal and feeding Battle for a 3, but Purdue is up 14 with both teams in the double bonus.
Frazier with a run-out and he finds a trailing Battle who hits another 3.
Timeout on the floor.
5:19 2nd half PUR 67 - PSU 52
JaJuan Johnson goes 2-of-2 at the line.
The Boilermakers work the ball around again, miss and get the rebound.
We have another timeout.
6:21 2nd half PUR 65 - PSU 52
Jackson misses both shots and Battle grabs the rebound. On the other end, DJ Jackson gets inside and gets fouled by JaJuan Johnson. PSU's Jackson hits 1 of his 2 foul shots.
Terone Johnson answers but DJ Jackson goes right back at it and gets a foul called on Moore. Seriously, guys, if you ever get an over/under bet on fouls in an Ed Hightower game, take the over.
Tim Frazier in for Jackson. Penn State's trap comes a hair away from a steal, but Purdue keeps it and is able to maintain possession until Lewis Jackson misses a layup.
Purdue takes a timeout.
7:46 2nd half PUR 63 - PSU 50
Even Jermaine Marshall can't escape the wrath of Ed Hightower's whistle. Lewis Jackson converts both FTs for Purdue.
Brooks comes up with a steal and throws down a two-handed dunk as he is fouled by Smith. The senior finishes the three-point play.
Lewis Jackson twists around Battle's attempted steal then gets clobbered on the way up and will go to the line after this timeout.
8:36 2nd half PUR 61 - PSU 47
Penn State has done a good job of drawing fouls this half, and are in the one-and-one for the time being.
Battle's drive brings a foul on Lewis Jackson and Battle hits both of the one-and-one. It would be so much easier if they let them shoot two free-throws. But that's why this is college, it's not supposed to make sense.
The foul party continues, but this time it's Jeff Brooks, which brings Billy Oliver off the bench. Ryne Smith hits another 3, and he's up to 16 points now.
Barlow fouls Marshall, who could hit double-digit scoring for the first time. And he does that, hitting the free throw. Marshall completes his trip to the line with a second make, and he's at 11.
Seriously. Another foul. This one is on Drew Jones. Now I remember why nobody can sit through an entire Ed Hightower game. DJ Jackson whistled and Terone Johnson goes to the line. The freshman guard hits 1-of-2 but gets his own rebound and saves the ball as he's going down.
Brooks fouls JaJuan Johnson and Purdue's senior hits both of his free throws. The Boilermakers have opened up a 15-point lead on the Lions as Battle front-rims a 3 and then fouls Smith.
Smith at the line and he hits both of his attempts.
Jermaine Marshall works his way inside and gets a basket and gets a foul called on DJ Byrd, who is replaced by Carroll and Moore replaces T.Johnson. Marshall hits the and-one.
With Smith trapped in the corner, Purdue takes a timeout.
11:38 PUR 50 - PSU 40
With that make, Penn State is now a blistering 2-of-10 from 3-point range.
DJ Jackson back in, replacing Tim Frazier. Jeff Brooks forces a turnover and gets rewarded when Battle feeds him on the break.
DJ Byrd hits a 3. Pretty sure that was his first shot and I know he passed up four wide-open looks earlier in the game.
12:35 2nd half. PUR 47 - PSU 38
That almost five-minute break Battle got in the first half was his first in-game rest in Penn State's last five. That's crazy stamina right there.
Lewis Jackson at the line and he bricks it, unable to finish the three-point play. Jeff Brooks gets into the lane and hits a floater.
Tim Frazier darts through Purdue's defense and threads a ball to Battle who goes up and gets fouled. At the line, Battle hits his first. Smith and Barlow in for Purdue, Jackson and Moore out. Battle then hits the second FT.
Jeff Brooks destroys Terone Johnson's shot, but the ball bounces out of bounds and Purdue turns it into a basket. Battle fouls Byrd and puts the big man at the line.
Byrd goes 1-of-2 at the line and Brooks comes down with the board. Jermaine Marshall back in, replacing DJ Jackson.
Battle finds a wide-open Marshall on the wing and the swingman hits the open 3-pointer to give him a career-high nine points.
15:18 2nd half PUR 42 - PSU 31
Penn State's starting five is back out. For Purdue, Carroll has replaced Barlow, but the other four starters are out.
JaJuan Johnson hits a hook over Drew Jones and is fouled. The center goes to the line and hits the foul shot.
Battle's first attempt of the half hits all kinds of iron and rolls out. The senior limped off after his shot rimmed out to end the first half but looks to be moving fine at the moment.
Ed Hightower calls Brooks for a travel. I'm just glad Ed Hightower doesn't ref my pick-ups games because I use that same move all the time.
A little over two minutes in and Penn State has yet to score this half. Meanwhile, Purdue has five points and is out to a nine-point lead. Ryne Smith hit for his third foul and it brings on Terone Johnson as a sub.
After about five Purdue misses, Penn State finally gets the ball tipped out to Frazier, who finds Battle. The senior gets the basket and a trip to the line and even his free throws won't go in.
Jeff Brooks steps in front of a pass intended for Moore and races down the floor, throwing it down one-handed. The Lions are back within five until JaJuan Johnson gets a basket back.
Terone Johnson misses, polices his own error then puts it back despite some contact. On the next possession, Lewis Jackson elevates into Tim Frazier, drawing a foul and getting the basket.
Timeout on the floor.
I'm only slightly exaggerating when I say that line was about 8 miles long so I passed on the soda.
Teams are back out and shooting. Battle hit six 3's in a row before missing. If the Lions can make some shots and play Purdue defensively like they did in the first half, the Lions can win this game.
But, I also said Moore and Battle were going to light the place up earlier.
Here's some halftime numbers to gawk at while I go grab a soda.
Purdue is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 42.9 from 3 compared to 36.4 and 12.5 for Penn State. PSU is 1-of-8 on 3-pointers, DJ Jackson with the lone make.
Ryne Smith leads all scorers with 10 points. Jackson leads PSU with seven, while Jones and Marshall have six. For Marshall, it ties a career-high.
Talor Battle is just 2-of-11 and has four points. E'Twaun Moore is 2-of-6, also with four.
PSU leads in rebounding (19-18) and turnovers (4-5).
Huge decision here. pepsi or mountain dew...
HALFTIME PUR 31 - PSU 27
Lewis Jackson ends the 6-0 PSU run and Brooks is unable to answer. JaJuan Johnson pulls up for a 3-pointer and misses. I wonder if he knows there's NBA scouts here.
Battle runs down the clock before working his way into the lane only to see his shot rim out just before the buzzer.
That buzzer means its halftime and Purdue goes into the break leading 31-27. Penn State is still very much in this game.
1:44 1st half PUR 29 - PSU 27
It has not been Talor Battle's night so far. The senior guard is just 1-of-8 from the field, though he hasn't gotten help from Jackson, who's 3-pointer was his first basket of the game.
E'Twaun Moore navigates the forest of Jones and Brooks and gets one to go. Marshall misses a 3 and Jones gets pushed in the back, drawing a foul and getting a one-and-one. Of course it's a one-and-one.
Jones clanks it off the backboard, but DJ Jackson draws a foul on the next possession and gets to the stripe for two. The senior hits the first, and the second and now has five points.
Jermaine Marshall takes an outlet pass from Jackson, works his way into the lane, spins and scores. Then Talor Battle gets sprung for a fast-break dunk and throws it down one-handed. Penn State is within two.
3:39 1st half PUR 27 - PSU 21
PSU comes out with a five of Jackson, Battle, Brooks, Marshall and Jones. Purdue has J. Johnson, Smith, Moore, Carroll and T. Johnson.
Brooks called for a carry, I believe. It wasn't a foul, so that's the best guess I have. the senior forward gets UP for a block on Carroll, but it's whistled goaltending and Purdue is up seven.
DJ Jackson fights off three players for a rebound and gets the put-back basket. Moore scores, then Penn States get the ball off the alternate possession after Brooks and Carroll got tied up.
Jones kicks out of a double-team and finds Jackson who hits an open 3 from the wing. Good ball movement by the Lions there.
Jones called for a foul and it brings up another timeout.
6:53 1st half PUR 21 - PSU 16
Despite the fact there are very few students in town, the attendance tonight isn't that bad. That is, if you DON'T look at either end of the floor or in the upper deck. Basically, if you l ook at either lower bowl along the sides of the court, it looks like people came.
Sniper Ryne Smith misses a foul shot, but hits his second and the small contingent of students behind Purdue's basket are quite pleased their screaming might have done something.
Brooks and Battle return, as Marshall and Jones take a seat. Off the inbounds, Billy Oliver drives the lane and has his lay-up swatted by JaJuan Johnson out of bounds.
Oliver misses a 3 as the clock runs out, leading to a run-out for Purdue. Lewis Jackson runs into Frazier, who is called for a foul. Jackson hits his first FT and Marshall replaces Frazier before Jackson finishes his two points.
Jeff Brooks with a tough shot on the baseline, tying the game briefly before Barlow hits a runner in the lane. Battle answers with his own runner, but it took some work.
Lewis Jackson got hit on a drive and has to sit out, looks like he might be bleeding a little bit from his lip. DJ Byrd in to replace him.
Drew Jones in for Oliver, who picked up a foul after Battle missed a 3.
Marshall picks off a cross-court pass and takes it up the floor for a lay-up.
Ryne Smith rises up with Jeff Brooks' hand in his face and calmly ices the 3-pointer. This guy can really shoot. On the other end, Marshall gets a basket along the baseline.
It took a while, but a basketball game finally started to happen. Though, to be fair, Ed Hightower does need the opening 10 minutes to make sure everybody knows he's in charge by calling about a million fouls.
Jermaine Marshall gets in front of Kelsey Barlow and gets the offensive foul, leading to a timeout.
11:52 PSU 8- PUR 8
Wait a minute. Ed Hightower is officiating this game. My night just got so much more interesting.
Billy Oliver is in for PSU, replacing Jackson. And for Purdue, Terone Johnson is in as is DJ Byrd, replacing Ryne Smith and Kelsey Barlow.
T. Johnson goes to the line, missing his first, bringing on more subs. Barlow is back for Purdue and Travis Carroll enters for the first time, while Jermaine Marshall checks in for Penn State. Johnson also missed his second FT, but scored on a driving lay-up to knot the game.
Ed Hightower theatrically calls Oliver for an offensive foul. JaJuan Johnson is sitting for Purdue, but Ryne Smith is back in.
Moore gets whistled for a foul, bringing in Terone Johnson to replace him, while Jackson and Frazier return for PSU, replacing Brooks and Battle. Lewis Jackson called for a foul after grabbing Frazier coming around a screen.
Jermaine Marshall with a foul and there's a timeout. Good, I need a break.
14:50 1st half. PSU 8 - PUR 6
We have a guest on press row. PSU women's volleyball coach Russ Rose is here taking in a little basketball.
And just like that, he's gone. What a guy.
Another foul and there's a timeout.
15:54 1st half. PSU 8 - PUR 6
Purdue wins the opening tip and we're off.
Battle is guarding Ryne Smith, Jackson is on Moore and Jones is on Johnson.
Jeff Brooks opens the scoring on a feed from Frazier but Smith answers with a 3 for Purdue. Smith is a player to watch tonight, the junior came into the game shooting 48.1 percent from 3 (13-of-27) in the Boilermaker's last six games and was 7-of-13 in Purdue's last two games.
Many thanks to the fine people at Purdue athletics for those stats, though maybe use a bigger font. I'm 21 now, my eyesight isn't what it was last season.
Brooks picks up a foul and Jones shows some range hitting a jumper from the top of the lane to put the Nittany Lions up three early.
Ryne Smith gets open in the corner and knocks down the corner triple, or as I call it, the Bruce Bowen.
Drew Jones came to play tonight, hitting another shot to give him six. JaJuan Johnson with a foul and it's a timeout
G Talor Battle
G Tim Frazier
F D J Jackson
F Jeff Brooks
C Drew Jones
G Lewis Jackson
G Kelsey Barlow
G Ryne Smith
F JaJuan Johnson
G/F E'Twaun Moore
Fact of the night that only I might care about: E'Twaun Moore is the Big Ten's active leading scorer, with 1,809 career points. In second place is Talor Battle, with 1,803 points to his name. JaJuan Johnson is fourth, behind Kalin Lucas, with 1,469 points.
Safe to say there will be quite a few baskets scored tonight.
There are now four gentlemen occupying those scout seats and one has a Cleveland Cavaliers background on his computer.
It's the Big Ten home opener for the Penn State men's basketball team. Tonight's opponent, No. 10 Purdue.
A little surprise for you Hardwood Hits fans tonight, Andrew Robinson, of last year's more-than-capable writing trio, here to blog about tonight's action.
Both teams are on the floor warming up, but Penn State freshman Taran Buie is not. It looks like the guard will miss his third game in a row under an indefinite suspension.
For Purdue, the Boilermakers are without the services of forward Robbie Hummel, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, and they lost all-ARob performer Chris Kramer to graduation after last season. However, the duo of E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, the nation's highest-scoring pair, have picked up the slack, leading Purdue to a 13-1 record and a 2-0 start in the Big Ten.
Another quick note, there are five spaces reserved for NBA scouts in the row of chairs in front of mine, but none are filled yet. If anyone fills them in, I'll make a note of it.
I'll be back in a few minutes with starters and play-by-play.
After 16 weeks, the race for the top spot is still very much alive. As we enter the final day of the NFL season, Nittany Lion Fund President Jim Regan sits atop the Collegian Pick 'Em standings, but assistant sports editor Paul Casella sits just one game back.
With some teams resting players today and other teams trying to play the role of spoiler, anything can happen.
Week 17 picks:
Miami @ New England:
Cohen: New England
Regan: New England
Hennessey: New England
Casella: New England -- FIrst time all year I haven't picked Miami, but I gotta do it.