Nittany Lions Knock Off Illini on THON Night
For the 3rd game in a row, the Nittany Lions faced off against an opponent ranked in the top 25. After stunning Michigan State on Saturday afternoon, Penn State went into the game looking to make it two upsets in a row, and become the first Penn State team to win back-to-back games against ranked opponents since 1954.
In front of a crowd of 6,353, bolstered by the fact that all student ticket sales would be donated to THON, the Nittany Lions started off strong, jumping out to a 12-5 start. But a 12-0 run brought the Illini back into the game, resulting in a 25-25 tie going into the half. But surprise surprise, senior standout Talor Battle took the team on his shoulders with a game-leading 26 points. But the hero of the game was Andrew Jones, who took a last-second miss by Battle and turned it into a dramatic dunk that sealed the game for the Nittany Lions with a final score of 57-55.
Following the victory, the crowd stormed the court for the second game in a row, resulting in complaints on Twitter that Nittany Nation is diluting the value of storming the court (similar perhaps to having a White Out for Temple…). But the real concern becomes what to do with Ed DeChellis following the season. Calls for his termination have continued to grow, especially following last seasons disappointing result.
Yet it appears that Penn State might not be the conference doormat everyone expected them to be this season, most likely allowing Ed to stick around for another season. But with 4 of 5 starters graduating and the team receiving little contribution off the bench (beyond recent production from Jermaine Marshall), it appears that the next few years could be rather grim. So is it worth it to scrap DeChellis at the end of the season regardless of the outcome and start from scratch with someone new, or do you give him the benefit of the doubt (again) and see what he can do with a young team going forward?