Man, that was rough. Northwestern (13-14, 6-12 B1G) took a six point lead into halftime against Penn State (12-13, 7-10 B1G), the ‘Cats proceeded to toss it out the window, giving up a barrage of threes and ultimately falling 67-60. Northwestern was outscored 45-32 in the final 20 minutes of play, resulting in yet another close loss for Chris Collins and Co. Here are three takeaways from Northwestern’s loss to the Nittany Lions:
No one is holding Chase Audige accountable
This takeaways is inspired, at least in part, by wildcatsteve91’s comment on our three takeaways from the loss to No. 13 Illinois. In the comment, Steve here argues that there is no accountability for players who continue to force bad shots over and over again.
He’s absolutely right, and that lack of accountability reared its ugly head yet again in Northwestern’s loss to Penn State.
It wasn’t as much Boo Buie yesterday as it was Chase Audige, but both of them still struggled mightily. The two guards finished a combined 7-for-27 from the floor and 3-for-10 from three, with Audige shooting 3-for-15 and 3-for-8 from beyond the arc (yes, his only makes were threes).
Despite the lackadaisical play from Audige throughout, Chris Collins elected to keep him in the game when it mattered most for the ‘Cats, and that proved costly. At this point, it’s perplexing as to why Collins refuses to take his guards out of the game when they aren’t shooting well. It just isn’t putting Northwestern in a position to win when Buie and Audige go cold and continue to throw up shots.
Ryan Young should be starting (or at least deserves more minutes)
Tonight on NBC Nightly News, the investigation into where Ryan Young goes at the end of games continues.
No, seriously, where was he yesterday? Why was he not on the floor at the end of the game? Barring an injury to Young, that was a horrible mistake from Collins to not have him in the game. Young played a mere 13 minutes of game time yesterday, but still shot 4-for-5 and finished with eight points, six rebounds and three assists. He provides a spark off the bench nearly every time he steps on the court and he was the only Wildcat competing with John Harrar on the glass yesterday. It’s a crime that he didn’t see more minutes.
In fact, let’s take it a step forward: Ryan Young should be starting. The starting lineup that Collins runs at the beginning of games doesn’t seem to be working, so why not insert Young to play alongside Pete Nance? A lineup featuring Young and Nance doesn’t even crack the top 10 most frequent lineups seen in NU’s last five games, according to KenPom. Maybe something they’ve seen in practice is causing the coaching staff to be hesitant, but with Robbie Beran putting up zero points in 25 minutes of action yesterday, it’s getting harder to ignore Young’s play.
Penn State showed up on its Senior Night
At some point, you have to give credit where credit is due, and all credit is due to Penn State and its seniors. First, you have the aforementioned Harrar, who finished with 11 points and 20 (!) rebounds in 31 minutes of play. He was constantly tearing up the ‘Cats in the paint. On top of that, Jalen Pickett posted a line of 11 points, six assists and five rebounds on the game. Even Sam Sessoms got in on the fun off of the bench, as he recorded 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep.
The Nittany Lions have struggled all season (except against Northwestern, apparently), as their 12-13 record shows. Despite that, the team showed up when it mattered, and that deserves some praise. It’s clear that Micah Shrewsberry still has the PSU locker room motivated.