Penn State in dilemma

The Gophers' next opponent, the Nittany Lions, hasn't been playing like it was when they beat Michigan State, but how much can they really clean up this late in the season?

Coming off an impressive victory against Michigan State, it's difficult to believe Penn State could already be in this position.

The Nittany Lions went ice cold shooting the ball and have dropped two since upsetting the Spartans. The loss at home to Wisconsin was particularly dreary, considering they went 0 of 14 on 3-pointers and were held to a season-low 44 points. That came three days after mustering just 51 against Michigan.

That's not nearly good enough for an explosive offensive team that has defensive deficiencies. Coach Ed DeChellis is caught in a dilemma: How hard to practice his players this late in the season.

With only a month to go, Penn State's next four opponents all have winning marks in league play. The Nittany Lions enter the game at Purdue with a 6-5 record and tied for fourth place in the league. The next two weeks will go a long way in determining if the Nittany Lions can continue their resurgence or sink back to the bottom of the Big Ten.

"We're in a dilemma," DeChellis said. "First week of February, how much time do you spend on the practice floor to clean things up, versus how much do your guys need rest?"

It's his job to figure that out.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know if I've ever had a team where we went 0-of-14 from 3. We've got to execute the offense much better. We got to make a jump shot." — Penn State coach Ed DeChellis, following the Feb. 8 loss to Wisconsin


  • Penn State is 13-0 when Talor Battle, Jamelle Cornley and Stanley Pringle all reach double figures.

  • The 17 victories are the most since the Nittany Lions went 21-12 in 2000-01. With seven games remaining, plus the Big Ten tournament, they have a shot at surpassing that mark.

  • PG Talor Battle is mired in his worst slump of the season. He has made just 7 of 31 shots over the last two games since his 29 point performance against Michigan State.

  • Like Battle, Stanley Pringle is also slumping. He is 7 of 23 from the field over the last two games, and 5 of 17 on 3-pointers over the last four games.

  • F Jamelle Cornley went cold at Wisconsin but he had been the most consistent player on the team. Cornley has averaged 37 minutes over the last four games. That type of extended work is what coach Ed DeChellis is referring to when he cautions against practicing his team too hard during the week.

    IN FOCUS: Purdue has lost both its games without Robbie Hummel, who is out with a fractured vertebra. Coach Matt Painter said Hummel's availability will be a up in the air going forward. The Boilermakers, though, are 1-3 without him. Penn State's odds of winning obviously increase if he is out of the lineup.

    PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — G Talor Battle, G Stanley Pringle, F Jamelle Cornley, F Jeff Brooks, F Andrew Jones. Key Subs — G Danny Morrissey, C Andrew Ott, G Chris Babb, F David Jackson.


    Penn State 72, Michigan State 68
    Michigan 71, Penn State 51
    Wisconsin 54, Penn State 44

    vs. Minnesota, Saturday, Feb. 14
    at Illinois, Wednesday, Feb. 18

  • Gopher Illustrated Top Stories