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Battle’s 31 Points Can’t Beat Michigan

On Super Sunday, Penn State needed a win against Michigan to maintain a strong resume for a NCAA Tournament bid. But after a 65-62 loss to the Wolverines, it looks like their Selection Sunday will not be much better.

Talor Battle scored 50 percent of the Nittany Lions’ points (31 of 62), but the loss of senior forward Jeff Brooks seemed to be too much to overcome. Brooks, who dislocated his shoulder during Tuesday night’s game against Illinois, dressed and warmed up for the game, but saw no action.

Instead, junior Cammeron Woodyard got his second career start and had his best game of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Penn State seemed to take their foot of the gas pedal towards the end of each half. With six minutes left in the first half, Penn State held a 24-13 lead, but Michigan used a 14-0 run to go up by three at halftime.

The Nittany Lions looked to regain their composure in the second half and with 8:15 left in the game, a Billy Oliver layup gave them a 46-36 lead. But the combination of Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. carried Michigan to the three-point victory at the Jordan Center.

“We played soft. We lacked toughness,” said Battle after the game. When asked to clarify what Talor had said, Coach Ed DeChellis responded, “I can’t answer that today, we’ll find out how much toughness we have. We’re going to keep grinding it out, there’s still a lot of basketball. February is a big month for us.”

WARNING: If you don’t want to read another Ed rant, move onto the next paragraph.

Does DeChellis have any concept of any quality of his team or surroundings? Whenever he is asked about the team’s toughness or if they need to win the next game or about how strong his coaching security is, he never knows! How can you take comfort in the fact that your head basketball coach is oblivious to the world around him? I’m talking to you, Tim Curley.

Ok, so back on topic, this loss drastically pushes Penn State to the edge of the proverbial Tournament Bubble. They stand at 12-10 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten. Most people are saying that we need ten Big Ten wins to be considered for a tournament bid and I believe that there need to be some key road wins as a part of those. Here’s how the last seven games stack up:

  • home-and-homes with Northwestern and Minnesota
  • at Michigan State
  • at Wisconsin (no one wins at Wisconsin)
  • Senior Night at home against #1 Ohio State

I don’t see five wins in there. So congratulations, Penn State fans, another ticket to the NIT seems to have been punched unless damage is done in the Big Ten Tournament.

Tell us, where do you think Penn State will end up in the post-season?

Cleaning the Glass

  • Michigan improved to 14-10 on the season with Sunday’s win, 4-7 in the Big Ten.
  • Woodyard played a career-high 37 minutes.
  • The bench scored 2 points on Sunday.
  • Tim Frazier had 7 points and 8 assists. The more important stat was that Penn State scored 0 points when Tim was out of the game.

About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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