Penn State basketball housed by Northwestern 70-54

Ah, what can I say about this Nittany Lion loss that hasn’t already been said about countless other Nittany Lion losses? Well, for one, it was to Northwestern. Penn State did lose twice to the Wildcats last season, but at least the game was close when the two teams played in State College. That was not the case this time around.

D.J. Newbill had some nice drives to the hoop, but he missed pretty much every shot that wasn’t a layup, and the Lions as a whole shot 32 percent from the field. Newbill scored 20 points and Jermaine Marshall finished with 13, but both players connected on fewer than 40 percent of their shots. At least Newbill got to the free throw line (8-for-9) and only turned the ball over twice.

On defense, Penn State switched between man-to-man and zone, but neither strategy could keep Northwestern point guard Dave Sobolewski in check. The sophomore was effective whether he was slashing to the hoop or shooting from the beyond the arc, and he scored 18 points for the Cats while dishing out a game-high 5 assists.

Northwestern also had three other players in double figures. The team’s leading scorer, Reggie Hearn, made a habit of going to the free throw line (7-for-11) on his way to 14 points. Jared Swopshire scored 9 points in the game’s first 10 minutes on his way to a total of 17, and freshman Kale Abrahamson showed off his three-point shooting skills (3-for-5) to finish with 10 points.

Here’s some more notes from the Thursday night debacle.

  • With the clock running down at the end of the first half, Nick Colella found himself with the ball at the top of the key. He nearly had the ball taken from him, then he scrambled for it, picked it up, and threw up a desperation three pointer… with two seconds still remaining on the clock. Ugh.
  • At least Colella would redeem himself in the second half with a steal and a three-pointer in the same sequence. Hooray.
  • Kevin Montminy played a season-high 12 minutes in this game because nothing was working.
  • Sasa Borovnjak came out of the gates very aggressively, with 6 points in Penn State’s 18-point first half. He only finished the game with 7 points, though.
  • PSU committed a whopping 23 fouls against Northwestern. Brandon Taylor was particularly hampered by this. He had four fouls in just 20 minutes and scored only 2 points.

Penn State’s next game is on the road at mediocre Purdue on Sunday. The game starts at noon, so there’s a decent chance that I’ll forgo the second half in favor of the Seahawks vs. Falcons NFL playoff game. It would be nice if the Nits got back to making games interesting, though.

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