Archive - Feb 1, 2011
Player of the Week
For the second time in two weeks, a Big Ten player recorded a triple-double. Josh Gasser finished with 10 point, 10 assists, and 12 rebounds against Northwestern. Darius Morris had a similar 12 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebound stat line on Sunday against Iowa. As impressive as that game is for Morris, it might not have been his best game of the week. Michigan went into East Lansing having not beaten Michigan State there since 1997, and Darius Morris led the Wolverines to victory over the Spartans. He finished with 17 points on 7-10 shooting, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. While the stat line itself might not appear to be greater than his game against Iowa, his points and assists Morris directly contributed to 39 of the team’s 61 points on the night. The one assist he recorded per create does not do his performance justice when so many of his assists went from three points. Morris has had a number of big games this year, but none were bigger than his game on Thursday night.
The week started for Morris with a team meeting where the players acknowledged that they had not been playing as hard as they could have been. The team had lost six games in a row, and the team appeared to be regressing. Those two games showed how good Michigan can play. Next week’s road games at Ohio State and Penn State take the challenge of the team to the next level.
Talor Battle’s big second half
Ed DeChellis was 0-12 against Wisconsin since taking the Penn State job, and when down 29-20 to the Badgers appeared headed towards 0-13. Then, Talor Battle dropped in 20 of his 22 points in the second half while also adding 4 rebounds and an assist to lift the Nittany Lions to 5-4 in conference play. After struggling to a 1-5 shooting half, he finished 7-16 shooting. The win over Wisconsin capped off a big week for Penn State and Battle. Earlier in the week, Battle put in 23 points on 8-13 shooting in a 65-51 win over Iowa. At 4-1 at home in league play, Penn State is keeping itself in the mix for an NCAA bid. They have put together three good wins against Michigan State, Illinois, and Wisconsin to go with a solid non-conference win over now 15-5 Duquesne. They are probably still a long shot to make the real run for a tournament bid with the schedule they have remaining, but with 68 teams they have a better chance than two years ago.