February 25, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Penn State (part 2)

Penn State - 68
Minnesota - 76

Basketball is a game of runs and Sunday's afternoon tilt proved just that.

Minnesota jumped to an early 10-7 lead only to let it slip into a 13 point hole after a Penn State run of 8-24. This run spanned 8:46 and saw Minnesota start 0-11 during the first 5:01 of the run. You read that right, we went a span of five minutes making zero shots in 11 attempts, 4/16 overall.

Fortunately the three point line is still only 19'9" away and the 13 point deficit was quickly cut in half after back to back threes by Johnson and the Hoff. Minnesota used a 17-4 run to tie the game with 0:44 left in the half.

Down two to start the half, Minnesota made the first run this time and started with a 15-1 run which ate up 5:13 and gave them a comfortable 12 point lead with less than 15:00 left.

But maybe it was too comfortable. Just when it felt like the Gophers were going to run away with the game Penn State had one run left in them to cut the Gopher lead to just two. With 4:42 remaining and a 13 point gopher lead Penn State turned over Minnesota and used a 1-12 run to make it a one possession game (2 points) with just 2:37 to go.

Then Westbrook said enough was enough and he scored six of the gophers last 7 points to seal the deal.

Player of the Game - Lawrence Westbrook

Nobody really stood out on Sunday but Westbrook had an outstanding second half.

Second Half Stats...
Pts - 10 (15 total)
Reb - 5 (6 total)
Ast - 3 (4 total)
Stl - 2 (2 total)
Turnovers - 0 (1 total)

Tempo Free Zone -the tempo stats tell us a lot about this game. The Gophers rebounded well (62% Def Reb%) and turned PSU over (forcing 26.5%). Effective FG% was fairly even as was points per possession so the fact that we ended their possessions and turned them over is what won the game for us.

Up Next - @Purdue

Before you sream, YIKES, I think this game will at a minimum be competitive and is ripe to steal (don't tell the Boilermakers). Don't get me wrong, I think Matt Painter has been outstanding this year and I love that Purdue has been such a great story. But there is opportunity here and I think our match-ups are OK.

HERE is a good comparison of player stats.

There are two key match ups for Thursday.

E'twaun Moore vs. Al Nolen
Calassan / J.Johnson vs. Tollackson

I'll get into this all more with an actual preview but I think we can make a game of this. Unfortunately I fear this will be another close lose, moral victory or whatever you want to call a positive spin on a loss. So I don't know if we can pull this out but I think we can make it closer than a 7-7 should against a 12-2 home team.


From the Barn said...

Young team, long lay-off, and Purdue hasn't played a bad game in months. They are due.

Tom said...

surprisingly if you look at conference stats, Purdue and Minnesota are very similar in virtually every category. Rebounding, FG%, DefFG%, Def 3pnt FG%, turnovers, assists, blocks, etc.

I think this just may be our statement road win. In typical MN sports fashion they will win this, get into all of the bubble talk and then greatly disappoint with a NW loss in the B10 tourney or something.