Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slow Start Dooms Nittany Lions Indiana 74, Penn State 51

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slow Start Dooms Nittany Lions Indiana 74, Penn State 51

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In recent weeks, the anticipated sense of catastrophe had ceded. Penn State actually was not that bad without Tim Frazier.

The Nittany Lions won all the games they reasonably should have without the injured star, including those they weren't predicted to, against Bucknell and Duquesne. And while losses are never anything to celebrate, they played Wisconsin close on the road last week.

So in that fashion, Monday's game against No. 5 Indiana could have meant something. It could have further steered the team from the fear of catastrophe, even turned fans' expectations 60 or 70 degrees or so toward actual optimism regarding Big Ten play.

No such upgrade to genuine excitement likely will take hold. It really wasn't probable, not against this Indiana team. The Hoosiers won, 74-51, taking control with a 15-3 run to start the game.

"We have to grow up," coach Patrick Chambers said. "We have to do what we do. We have to play Penn State basketball. There's no time for gimmicks."

Chambers, always wanting to promote Penn State and willing to go for bold moves in order to do so, seemed to realize he had the opportunity to add more credibility to his team and season. On the first play of the game, he called for an alley-oop. The crowd was loud at this point and large, more than 9,000. The energy could have turned in Penn State's favor early.

But it missed. D.J. Newbill couldn't reach the pass, and Penn State turned it over.

Chambers laughed about the play after the game, not in a fun way, but in a "what-else-can-you-do?" sort of way.

"I just felt like you go at them and say, 'Hey, we're here. We're going to be here for 40 minutes,' " Chambers said. "You make it, God bless, it could be a very different first eight minutes. The students were ready to erupt."

In fairness, Penn State (8-6, 0-2) probably shouldn't have had a chance. …

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