Long Island came into Penn State trying to get their first win of the season after making the NCAA tournament last year. When Long Island were able to dictate play and push the pace to their style, they looked like the dominate team and took the lead on multiple occasions, but they slipped in the final few minutes and lost 77-68.
I actually remembered to schedule myself off of work for this game and made it to the Bryce Jordan Center with plenty of time to get to my seats, even with a season high 5,258 fans in attendance. The curtains were drawn again in the upper deck and the student turnout was beyond pitiful.
Once settled in and the game tipped off, the Long Island Blackbirds jumped out to an early lead, then the new scoreboard malfunctioned and there was an extended timeout to get it fixed. This seemed to kill the Blackbirds momentum and Penn State roared back to take the lead, although it was short-lived.
The Penn State Nittany Lions then had a few good defensive stops and pushed their lead to 23-17 before the Blackbirds once again came back to tie the game. Scoring came in waves the rest of the first half, with the half ending in a 36-36 tie.
To start the second half, Penn State jumped out to a quick eight point lead but the Blackbirds once again fought back and took a 53-51 lead.
At this point, I realized that I was going to enjoy the season at Penn State by watching the many faces of new coach Patrick Chambers.
After a couple quick timeouts, play resumed and the next eight minutes of game play featured a real back-and-forth struggle with the final tie coming at 61-61. At this point, Penn State really shut down the Blackbirds and went on a 16-7 run to finish the game and the knock off the Blackbirds.
It was a great effort from Long Island but ultimately they fell to 0-3 on the season while Penn State improved to 3-0. Somehow though, I suspect the Blackbirds have a real shot at returning to the NCAA tournament while the Nittany Lions will be lucky to finish with double digit wins.
Long Island's had two scorers with 15 point each but their real undoing was allowing Penn State's Tim Frazier to score 26 points while having 10 assists.
at PENN STATE 77, LONG ISLAND 68 11/16/2011
LONG ISLAND 0-3 (0-0) -- A. Gibbs 8-21 0-0 20; M. Culpo 4-11 4-6 15; C. Garner 4-7 2-3 11; J. Brickman 0-5 2-2 2; J. Boyd 5-10 5-6 15; J. Olasewere 1-9 7-10 9; G. Martin 3-3 4-4 13; K. Onyechi 0-0 2-2 2; B. Thompson 0-0 1-2 1; A. Mayorga 0-2 0-0 0; R. Odoch Opong 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 27-35 68. PENN STATE 3-0 (0-0) -- B. Oliver 3-10 0-0 9; T. Frazier 9-18 5-6 26; C. Woodyard 4-9 4-4 13; J. Marshall 0-4 2-2 2; M. Glover 2-4 2-3 7; S. Borovnjak 4-8 1-2 9; T. Lewis 1-5 0-0 3; J. Graham 3-5 0-0 6; R. Travis 1-2 0-1 2; N. Colella 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-65 14-18 77.
Three-point goals: LIUB 7-20 (A. Mayorga 0-2; M. Culpo 3-7; C. Garner 1-1; J. Olasewere 0-2; J. Brickman 0-5; G. Martin 3-3), PSU 9-27 (C. Woodyard 1-6; B. Oliver 3-8; J. Marshall 0-3; T. Frazier 3-4; M. Glover 1-3; T. Lewis 1-2; R. Travis 0-1); Rebounds: LIUB 30 (M. Culpo 7), PSU 35 (B. Oliver 10); Assists: LIUB 11 (M. Culpo 3), PSU 17 (T. Frazier 10); Total Fouls -- LIUB 19, PSU 24; Fouled Out: LIUB-None; PSU-S. Borovnjak.