No Looking Back

With half the Big Ten slate remaining, PSU has no time to celebrate is big win at Michigan State.

Penn State is in the midst of its best season yet under sixth-year head coach Ed DeChellis. The Nittany Lions are 17-5 overall, 6-3 (and tied for third place) in the Big Ten and receiving votes in both national polls.

While doing this, PSU had registered its first-ever road wins at Indiana and Michigan State, the latter coming in East Lansing Sunday. The 72-68 victory over the ninth-ranked Spartans extended the Lions' conference winning streak to four games, tied for the best in school history.

But DeChellis is not allowing his troops to savor the success.

“We have a lot of basketball left,” DeChellis said Monday. “We have nine league games and then the tournament. So we're just trying to take it one step at a time. I know it's a cliché and (the media doesn't) want to hear that. But that's where we're at.”

On the bus outside of the Breslin Center following the MSU game, DeChellis told the team that regardless of the outcome of that matchup, the players would still have to prepare the same way for their next outing -- at Michigan Thursday.

“We're trying to win every game,” he said. “It's important to win games, but we're moving on to the next one. (Michigan State) doesn't have any more or less significance.”

“We were excited (Sunday),” added sophomore guard Talor Battle, who went off for a career-high 29 points against the Spartans. “But we're over it already. … Our focus is now on Michigan.”

Though Penn State entered the Michigan State game 0-16 all time in East Lansing, including an 0-14 mark at the intimidating Breslin Center, it managed to pull off the win despite not playing well in certain phases of the game.

The Lions fell behind by 13 early as the Spartans crushed them on the offensive glass. Then, after leading by 13 with about seven minutes left, poor free throw shooting (44 percent in the second half) and a lack of offensive execution nearly cost PSU the victory.

“Actually beating Michigan State -- without this coming out in a negative way -- was something I expected,” senior forward Jamelle Cornley said. “That's nothing I'm too surprised over. They're a very good team. But we're a very good team, as well. The way we did it -- missing free throws and still being in the game and being down 13 at their place … those are what I'm proud of.”

When asked how he felt about winning a tough road contest even after struggling in certain areas, Battle smiled and answered the question with a question: “That's the good part, right?”

For DeChellis it was. The Lions had an NCAA mandated off day Monday. But when they get back together for practice Tuesday, the staff will have plenty of nits to pick.

“We didn't play particularly well,” DeChellis said of the MSU game. “We won the game and we shot well. But we didn't execute very well. … We didn't shoot free throws like we need to. So we've got a lot of improvement to make.”


Fight On State Top Stories