Taming The Tigers

So, I finally got a chance to see this year’s version of the Fighting DeChellises up close and personal last night in a 61-38 romp of Princeton and let’s just say that I apologize in advance if this report is lacking in details because I was only awake for bits and pieces of it. This is due in large part to the fact that the first half, to say the least, was rather sleep-inducing…Come to think of it, it was the most boring half of basketball in the BJC I’ve witnessed since the infamous game against Tennessee back in mid-90’s where neither team had 20 points at halftime and the game ended up going into overtime tied at 33 (and that was after Calvin Booth missed a game-winning dunk that rattled around the rim and out as time expired).

Anyway, last night’s game was tied at 9 halfway through the first half before we woke up a bit offensively to end the half on a 17-2 run. Before that though, our offense was “2Girls1Cup” shitty: Botched layups (including a botched breakaway layup off a steal by Brandon Hassell, which will definitely be on the “2008 Penn State Basketball Bloopers” DVD), slow ball rotation, and the lack of trying to feed it inside to Claxton or Cornley was the story for the first 10 minutes of the game.

Even at our worst however, our offense looked like a juggernaut compared to Princeton, who went 10 straight minutes without a single point: Not scoring again until the final 30 seconds of the first half thanks in large part to our strong defensive performance, which pretty much forced them to jack up bad three point shots and did not allow them to backdoor us even once.

The second half basically had us building on our momentum from the end of the first half, allowing Geary Claxton to finish with his fifth double-double of the year (21 pts, 10 rebs), including several dunks that got the crowd excited for something other than a free Papa John’s pizza giveaway. All in all, we ended up doing what we were supposed to do against Princeton and that’s cover the double-digit spread which now makes me 2-0 in my little prediction contest with Rants From The District, who sports a 1-1 record since he also had a little bit of faith in PSU for once.

A few more thoughts on last night’s game:

  • I was psyched to hear the Chicago Bulls Theme song during the announcement of the starting lineups, just like they used to do during the “glory days” of the BJC when we had a Top 25 program (albeit, briefly). No wonder we’re undefeated at home this year.
  • We continue to reach new lows for free-throw shooting: 4 for 12 last night.  Ed DeChellis needs to lock his team in the gym for a night and have them shoot free throws ’til dawn.
  • The turnout of the “Nittany Nation” student section was very impressive considering it was a Wednesday night game against a crap opponent with finals week looming over the student’s heads. One thing PSU basketball has lacked for a long time is a dedicated student section but that no longer appears to be the case. The Nittany Nation also did a good job chanting for Deion Walker, a much-sought after wide receiver who was making his official recruiting visit to PSU yesterday.
  • The chants directed at Princeton however, were rather weak. “Harvard rejects”? Seriously? Is that the best you guys can come up with? Do you realize that there’s not much of a dropoff academically from Harvard to Princeton? It’s not exactly like the dropoff from Michigan to Michigan State. I think the “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane should be hired to write up some creative chants for our upcoming opponents since he has nothing better to do right now with the Writer’s Guild of America strike lingering for the foreseeable future.

Now hiring: Chant writer for PSU basketball’s student section

  • Princeton is simply a god-awful program right now that is a long ways removed from their own glory days of winning the Ivy League and giving big schools a run for their money in the NCAA Tournament. If you can clamp down on their one decent forward (Zach Finley?) and their only consistent shooter (Lincoln Gunn), they have no other source of offense. Did I mention they did a god-awful job of executing the Princeton offense? My bad, Mr. Scoreboard already that explained that one to you…
  • I’m also trying to remember when the last time was that a team came at us with what Bill Simmons has referred to as a “whitewash” (where one team fields all white guys on the court) like Princeton did. Does anybody have a clue?

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