Jeff Brooks scored 20 points and Talor Battle reached a career milestone while helping Penn State beat Northwestern 66-52. PSU shot 56.5% from the floor and held NU to under 30 points in each half. The Nittany Lions continued their recent domination of the Wildcats by beating them for the sixth straight time.
In the second half, Talor Battle recorded his 500th career assist. Battle is now the only player in Big Ten history with at least 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists. Only nine other players in NCAA history have managed this feat.
Penn State came into Northwestern looking for their second conference road win. NU was hoping to string together three wins in a row for the first time since they started the season 8-0. Talor Battle needed only three assists to reach his milestone.
In the first half, Penn State jumped out to an 18-2 lead. Northwestern finally got a bit of momentum after Talor Battle's backdoor lob pass to a wide-open Jeff Brooks hit the rim. Northwestern then scored ten in a row to get back within striking distance. As Northwestern started figuring out how to score, Penn State seemed like they were forgetting. The Nittany Lions shot well in the first half (12-22 from the field), but managed to turn the ball over nine times. The Wildcats shot poorly in the first half, but John Shurna converted all four of his free throws attempts to keep it close. Penn State went into halftime leading 26-23.
Northwestern got within one point early in the second half, but never managed to get a tie or a lead. Midway through the second half Penn State opened up an eight point lead at 40-32. The gap stayed between seven and eleven points until the end of the game when PSU closed it out by hitting their free throws.
With the win Penn State moves to 8-8 in conference play and 15-12 overall. Northwestern drops to 6-10 in the conference and 16-11 overall.
Penn State +
- Jeff Brooks hit 3-3 on three pointers and 8-10 overall, for a total of 20 points. Talor Battle deservedly gets most of the press on this team, but Brooks has put together a solid season. His FG% for the year is an outstanding 58%, and his 3PT% is a pretty solid 42%. It seems like it would be in PSU's best interests to get him as many shots as possible.
- Tim Frazier had a solid night with 10 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds.
- Moving the ball around and getting easy shots: PSU hit 22 of 32 shots from inside the arc tonight, for a pretty amazing 68.75%.
- Defense and Rebounding: Penn State held NU to 38% shooting and won the rebounding battle 28-19.
- First 7:00 of the first half: Jumped out to an 18-2 lead and completely demoralized the crowd.
- 3 Point Shooting: 4-14, including a 1-6 effort from Talor Battle.
- The last 13:00 of the first half: Turnovers and poor shooting let Northwestern get back into the game. After scoring 18 points in the first seven minutes, PSU managed to get only 8 more before halftime.
- Juice Thompson was one of the few bright spots in tonight's game, scoring 22 points to lead all scorers on 4-6 three-point shooting.
- Assist to FG ratio: 14 assists on 20 made field goals is a pretty good ratio, but 20 made field goals is not going to be enough to win many games unless the team shoots and make a lot of free throws.
- Shooting: 20-52 FGs, 38.5%. 6-24 3Pts, 25%. Leading scorer John Shurna shot 20% for the game.
- Defense: Penn State got a lot of easy shots in this game. NU is going to have a hard time beating anyone if they let the opponents make over 55% of their shots.
- Getting behind early: Northwestern came out flat and had to expend a lot of energy to claw back in the game. NU showed some fight by coming back and making it a game, but spotting the other team a 16 point lead is a recipe for disaster.