March may come in like a Lion, but the new month wasn't any kinder to the basketball Nittany Lions of Penn State today. The Northwestern Wildcats also had an up and down game, requiring two overtime periods to finally beat the Lions at home, 85-79.
The key play at the end was when a frustrated Penn State freshman Center Aaron Johnson essentailly mugged NU's Jason Burke [right] and got called for both the foul and a technical. Both Aaron Jennings and Burke sank the 2 freethrows each to seal the lead.You know Penn State has been struggling this year, and they played their hearts out - I thought I'd give them some credit because we had a 10 point lead and 12 point lead in the second half and they hung in there and kept playing hard.As WGN's Dave Eanet pointed out on the post game, it was the kind of game where the Cats came out and scored a bunch, then the Lions would come back and tie it, a game where NU just couldn't put them away.You'd have to say we were disappointed at half time - there was not a lot of strategy talk, X's and O's at halftime.Soph Forward Davor Duvancic [5 Pts] got a lot of minutes today, playing for and with Senior Aaron Jennings;
...we certainly should have been able to put them away right away because we had things going for us.
But you let them hang around - that's what happens - they come back and they were confident after that and then its anybody's game.
At halftime we just went after our guys a little bit, just about playing to your opponent - I was very disappointed.Davor was just very active and he was agressive - he wasn't running the plays, but he just said he was going to take these guys - and that was good.But Jennings [15 Pts - 12 in overtime] also came through at the end of the game, making a couple of nifty hook shots in the middle and shooting some critical free throws at the end, but...In the beginning I just didn't think he [Jennings] was active at all, not moving at either end and then we went down to him at the end and he came through for us.In the first half, when Duvancic and Jennings were in the game together to get a little size up front, the coach wasn't happy with the play.I didn't think Aaron did much for the first 30 minutes, and I was very happy with the way he played after that.A player who stepped up at the end was Winston Blake [AP Photo - Brian Kersey - right/4-11 10 Pts], although the Cats had trouble holding the lead when he was playing at the end of the game.
The 5th 3rd Bank Hard Working Player of the Game [And ESPN's MVP] was Junior Guard/Forward Jitim Young [left - 26 Points 10-15/2-4 from the Arc] ...Jitim was very good throughout the whole night,The Wildcats were winning 65-62 with less than 10 seconds when Watkins hit for a 3 pointer to tie the game and force it into overtime...
Early on he missed a couple easy ones, but I wasn't dissatisfied with him at halftime, it was a few other guys because I thought his effort was there the who time - he had a little bad luck there.You know we were going to foul with 7 seconds left because we were up 3 and the kid pulled the shot with 8.2 seconds. We were just ready to foul - make him make the foul.Leading Scorer for Penn State was Senior Guard Brandon Watkins who shot 13-26, 3-8 from the arc for 31 points. To quote the Coach;We just couldn't stop that guy, he goes to his right, that's the only thing in the scouting report and he went to his right all night long.Even so, he is from the Chicago area...
He's a good player, but we should be able to handle himWho was here before us and didn't recruit that guy, my oh my.Center Jan Jagla hit for 12 [5-7]; Guard Sharif Chambliss, who was guarded all day by Hachad only hit 3-13 and 1-7 from the arc for 11; Freshman walkon Aaron Johnson also had 11.
So the season comes down the Senior Night next Wednesday against Ohio State - a team that NU almost beat in Columbus early in February. The Cats will be saying goodbye to the Plano Duo and Jennings...They're all good guys, and they've worked hard and stayed with it - we've been through some tough times. We just hope against Ohio State, which is a solid team, we'll just perform as a team - I just didn't like that first half at all.And even though NU is 1-0 when the coach wears a bow tie - don't expect the bow tie again...
[Bill Carmody Quotes taken from the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet and Bob Hildebrand]
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