Lions Misfire in Philly

Inability to launch a shot in the final 30 seconds leads to a loss against Temple. No Penn State starter reaches doubles in low-scoring affair.

A key to the game of basketball is shooting the ball into the goal. It is the way to score points. That was apparently lost on Penn State in a game at Temple Saturday afternoon.

Down 43-42 with the ball and 31 seconds remaining, the Nittany Lions had two possessions in the final half minute and did not attempt a shot on the way to a 45-42 loss.

PSU fell to 5-3 on the season following a game in which no starter reached double figures in scoring. Temple was as inept offensively, making only 18 of 60 shots, but improved to 6-2 thanks to outstanding defense and strong work on the offensive glass (14 rebounds in that department).

The Nittany Lions found themselves in position to win in the final minute when rookie wing Bill Edwards stole the ball from Temple guard Ryan Brooks.

Penn State worked the ball around until, with 15 seconds left, Edwards made a hard move and was called for an offensive foul. The Owls inbounded to their best clutch free-throw shooter -- Brooks -- and was hacked and hit both free throws for the 45-42 lead with 11 seconds to go.

Down three, the Lions still had a chance to tie. But they never got a shot off, as star guard Talor Battle slipped twice before time expired.

Neither team got much going in the first half, as they combined to hit on 19 of 53 shots and 6 of 23 3-pointers.

The Lions had a chance to grab momentum when they took a 16-9 lead on a David Jackson 3-pointer midway through the opening period. But, following a long string of play without a whistle (or timeout), State appeared to lose its wind, allowing the Owls to claw back and tie it 22-22 at the break.

Temple got it done by hitting the offensive glass, with five rebounds of its own missed shots, including four by talented big man Lavoy Allen.

One positive early for the Lions was the play of guard Chris Babb off the bench. After struggling from the floor in recent action, Babb drilled 3 of 4 triples for a team-high 9 points through 20 minutes.

But Babb disappeared in the second half. He made only one shot, though it was enough make him the only Lion in doubles with 11 points.

Luckily for the Ed DeChellis' club, Edwards gave the team a spark in the final 20 minutes, finishing with eight points and 11 rebounds.

That effort stood in contrast to Penn State's starting big men. Center Andrew Jones, power forward Jackson and small forward Jeff Brooks combined for nine rebounds in a game where 60 shots were missed.

Ryan Brooks led all scorers with 19 points and was the only Owl in double figures. He also shut down Battle, limiting him to 8 points on a 3-of-15 showing from the field and an 0-of-5 effort from the arc.

Next up for Penn State is a home game against UMBC Tuesday. Tip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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