Penn State fell to 3-3 for the season on Wednesday night with a 73-61 loss against Boston College in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game at the Bryce Jordan Center. Here's a look at the high and low points of the Nittany Lions' effort and hear some of their thoughts on the defeat. For more, be sure to check out our game recap.
-You don't see two players combine for an 18-1 run in just over two minutes very often, but that's exactly what Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill did between the 5:22 and 3:08 marks in the second half. The two were already having solid evenings, but they came very close to capping what would have been an epic comeback with that spurt. Unfortunately for them, they came up a bit short, but they can take solace in knowing they're capable of dominating play whether Tim Frazier is on the court or not. As it was, they finished with 25 and 22 points respectively. Those two were heroic against BC and have nothing to hang their heads about.
-Penn State turned it over just three times in the second half after coughing up the ball 10 times before halftime. Even as they weren't making shots late in the game, the Lions kept their composure, which is encouraging.
-Ross Travis was a monster on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds over the course of the evening. At 6-foot-6, he's a little bit undersized to be playing at the four or five spot, but if he keeps turning out rebounding performances like that, he's going to put pressure on underachieving bigs like Jonathan Graham and Sasa Borovnjak. And with the way those two played against BC, that's definitely a good thing.
-Brandon Taylor followed up his big 16-point performance against Bucknell with three points against Boston College. His minutes were limited by foul trouble and discipline is certainly something he's going to have to work on if he's going to become a consistent contributor to the offense. More discouraging, though, is that he only took two shots in the 23 minutes he did get. Taylor's aggressiveness is what allowed him to be a difference-maker in his first start. He'd be well served to find that aggression on Saturday, even if the makes don't come as easily as they did against Bucknell.
-Penn State got to the foul line 11 fewer times than BC. That, and the Lions' 6-20 performance from 3-point territory is a sign that players aren't attacking the basket enough as a group. This team isn't good enough to shoot itself to wins. It needs to get the free ones as often as possible to stay in games and the only way to do that is to get into the inside, whether that's guards slashing off the bounce or big men making space for themselves.
-The Lions allowed BC to shoot 8-18 from deep. They were probably lucky that the damaging 44.4 percent clip wasn't worse, too, as the Eagles were got some excellent looks that they didn't convert. Obviously, the perimeter defense took a step back from where it was against Bucknell. That's not good, because as offensively-challenged as Penn State is likely to be this season, it won't be competitive if it's getting creamed from deep.
-Graham and Borovnjak combined to grab three rebounds and score three points on 1-10 shooting in 44 minutes of playing time. That's a bad night for one forward, let alone two guys playing in their third and fourth seasons with the team, respectively. When they're on the court together, it feels like Penn State's offense is playing 3-on-5 and that obviously should not be the case when talking about two guys with as much experience as they have. For as much attention as Tim Frazier's injury has received, his absence isn't nearly as damaging as two guys being almost complete non-factors in the frontcourt. They need to improve quickly if Penn State has any hope of being remotely competitive in a loaded Big Ten.
-Penn State had a field goal drought of over 10 minutes in the second half. That's over a quarter of the game without a make from the floor. The run was as discouraging as the Newbill/Marshall fueled rally late in the game was encouraging. It's one thing to shoot poorly for that length of time, but it's quite another for the offense to almost completely dry up. Even 20 percent shooting of that stretch likely would have kept Penn State in the game.
-The team announced that forward Pat Ackerman has been suspended for a violation of team rules.