I Think That Was Basketball: Penn State Downs Nebraska, 56-43
If you missed today’s game between Penn State and Nebraska, I’ll be the first to say that I envy you. If you did, well, I don’t blame you for questioning your sanity. The score might not indicate it, but today’s first half was arguably the worst 20 minutes of basketball ever played. Ever. It was so bad, there point where it looked like Nebraska might not even crack double digits going into halftime!
With that said, Penn State picked up a crucial Big Ten victory, and improves to 15-9. As I write, I still cannot fathom what transpired at the Bryce Jordan Center. Although this game may stretch the “a win is a win” theory to the far corners of our solar system, it’s still a win. Let’s take a look at what exactly happened in this “basketball game,” if you will.
How It Happened
Well, to give you an idea of how this game started, Penn State went scoreless for over three minutes before D.J. Newbill drilled a three. Note that when I say this was arguably the worst first half in history, I mean it. It would be ridiculous to tally all of the early misses, so I’ll say this: The game was tied 6-6 at the 10 minute mark, at which point a grand total of four baskets had been made. Four.
Brandon Taylor, who finished with 11 points, gave Penn State a 12-6 lead at the 7:30 mark, while D.J. Newbill’s three from the wing provided some big points as the half continued. Terran Petteway–Nebraska’s leading scorer, averaging 19 points per contest–was astonishingly cold shooting-wise, hitting one field goal in the entire half.
Remember when I said it seemed as though Nebraska wasn’t even going to crack double digits going into halftime? Well, it took them 19 minutes and 30 seconds to finally do so, reaching 10 points after a David Rivers free throw. When all was said and done, Penn State took a 22-13 lead going into halftime, a score that could easily be misinterpreted as a football score. The Nittany Lions wound up shooting 30 percent from the floor in the first half, a far better figure than Nebraska’s miserable 13.6 percent, a figure that downright disrespects James Naismith himself.
If your eyes are bleeding at this point, join the rest of us. However, the second half was a considerable improvement, especially on Penn State’s end. Geno Thorpe got the scoring going with a thunderous slam in transition, energizing the crowd of 12,000+. Thorpe continued to tear it up, setting up a Shep Garner three that would’ve been good from the parking lot, followed by a jumper of his own to give Penn State a 32-15 lead.
The large lead would not last forever, unfortunately, as Terran Petteway found his stroke in rattling off a pair of buckets, while spreading the love across the floor to bring Nebraska to within nine. A three by Garner made it 40-31, but a 10-2 Nebraska run that ended with a big three by Petteway got the Cornhuskers to within three with under six minutes to play.
Nebraska seemed poised to snatch this victory from the Nittany Lions, crushing the souls of fans everywhere. That’s been the reoccurring theme throughout Big Ten play for Penn State, so why should Nittany Nation’s collective mindset be any different? I’ll tell you why.
— Penn State on BTN (@BTN_Penn_State) February 7, 2015
In five minutes and 24 seconds of action, Nebraska scored two points. To put that into perspective, Penn State scored 12 in the same timeframe, while Thorpe and Newbill blew the roof off the BJC with a pair of thunderous dunks in transition. Nebraska’s end-of-game implosion allowed the Nittany Lions to seal the deal, winning 56-43, putting an end to a strange game.
Player Of The Game
Penn State’s shooting–along with pretty much every facet of its game–improved in the second half, and much of that came thanks to Penn State’s young backcourt. As a result, this one goes to Shep Garner and Geno Thorpe. Thorpe led the way points-wise, putting up 14, while Shep acted as the facilitator, dishing five assists while chipping in nine points. Hats off to you, gentlemen.
Tweet Of The Game
Not at the BJC today, but Penn State in another contest in which the first few minutes don’t really resemble basketball.
— Stephen Pianovich (@SPianovich) February 7, 2015
Again, that first half was comprised of young athletes running up and down a hardwood surface, passing around a bouncy orange sphere, and more often than not, failing to shoot said sphere through a metal hoop. I’m not sure what to call that first half, but it definitely wasn’t basketball.
With the victory, Penn State improves to 15-9, notching its third Big Ten victory. Nebraska falls to 13-10, but still stay ahead of Penn State in the Big Ten rankings, where the Nittany Lions currently sit at No. 12.
Penn State will travel to Columbus for a Feb. 11 meeting with Ohio State, the No. 20 team in the nation. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m.