[quote="vslice02, post:6, topic:568"]The first half offense was dribble aimlessly around for 25 seconds, then draw and kick and hope Talor makes a shot. Alot more ball and player movement in the seconds half was good to see.[/quote]
Here’s what’s funny.
The second half seemed to be played at an infinitely faster pace - and the score indicated such. There were 61 points scored in the first half (27 by PSU, 34 by Minn) and 84 scored in the second half (43 by PSU, 41 by Minn). But that might have just been a mind trick because, believe it or not, both teams took more shots in the first half, 59 (28 by PSU, 31 by Minn), than they did in the second 52 (26 by both teams).
I’m really curious to see what the pace actually was for both halves and I will break them down once the stats become available (for some reason PSU doesn’t have them up yet and Minn only has the full game box score).
Here’s how the game played out.
Game Pace was 64.4. First half = 30.2 Second half = 34.2. So the second half was slightly faster.
What’s interesting is that we actually got Minnesota to play at our pace. Coming into the game, we were playing games at a 65.3 pace, while Minnesota was averaging 72.7.
We also managed to out rebound them on both the offensive and defensive boards despite their big front line. We grabbed 37.9% of the boards on our offensive glass and 68.8% of the defensive, exceeding the 2:1 def/off ratio considered the normal measure.
We also hung with them with our shooting (48.1%, 50.0%, 69.2%) vs (49.1%, 36.4%, 61.1%). Our better three point shooting actually earned us a better effective FG% than Minnesota (56.5% vs 56.1%).
It was their defensive pressure that got to us though, forcing 16 turnovers, significantly more than our 11 per game average going into the game. Those extra five empty possessions cost us the game.
BTW - Minnesota had been forcing turnovers at a rate of 19 per game so we actually did better than most against them. I bring that up just to suggest that our turnovers in this game may not necessarily be something that we need to worry too much about. We’re not likely to repeat that performance too often.
Also, minimizing your turnovers appears to be a key against Minnesota. Only three teams have turned the ball fewer times than us against the Gophers. Brown, Miami, and Texas A&M each only turned the ball over 14 times and Minnesota lost two of those games (Miami and Tex A&M).
From the “Big Ten Geeks”
In the nightcap, Penn State gave the elite Minnesota defense all it could handle, scoring 1.09 points per possession, but still fell to the Gophers, 75-70 in 64 possessions. The incredible thing is that Penn State posted that efficiency despite turning it over on a fourth of their possessions - and ballhandling is usually Penn State’s best attribute. A few less turnovers and we might be talking about a big upset in The Barn last night; instead, Minnesota used an excellent efficiency of their own (1.17 points per possession) to squeak past with the victory.
Penn State did their scoring with deadeye accuracy from outside, hitting 9 of 18 from three. Talor Battle was the biggest part of this, connecting on 5 of 8 triples, including a couple from NBA range where he was left completely unguarded. Rest assured that Tubby Smith will be pointing out these lapses in the next film sessions.
Battle finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Looking at +/-, Bill Edwards did a lot of damage to his team while in the game - he posted a -10 in his 18 minutes. His conventional line backs this up (4 points on 8 shots, 2 turnovers), but the real problem was Penn State’s defense while he was in (1.31 points per possession).
Minnesota was paced by an outstanding night from Lawrence Westbrook - 29 points on just 16 shots (and a team-best +10 in his 28 minutes). Blake Hoffarber was the only other Gopher in double figures, scoring 11 points on 7 shots.