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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Clipped In Final Minute, Fall 68-65 To Minnesota

by on January 09, 2014 10:53 AM

It was right there. Penn State held a lead for the majority of the game. Responding to Minnesota's baskets and fending off runs.

But with 2:08 to go guard Tim Frazier was credited for a foul that should have been given to guard John Johnson. The error was never corrected and with just under a minute to play, Frazier picked up his fifth foul, thinking at the time it was only his fourth.

"That’s our job and we have to do a better job. That’s on me," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said after the game. "I have to go to the scorer’s table, “Who’s that foul on?” It’s that simple. I looked up. I saw three on the scoreboard. You can’t trust the scoreboard, maybe they didn’t put it up right away.

"You have to know, but it’s not a smart foul anyway. He has to be smarter and as a team we need to be smarter. [D.J.] Newbill’s got to be smarter. It’s just upsetting. Play hard, play smart, play hard without fouling, it’s that simple and we just can’t grasp it.  We can’t get the concept down. Thirty-four free throws at home. That’s incredible."

For Chambers the frustration is understandable. Penn State opened the game slowly yet again. Missing shots and not scoring a basket for the first seven minutes of the game. From there the Nittany Lions were able to find their game, opening a 35-30 halftime lead despite trailing an early 10-point Minnesota lead.

In the second half Penn State held its own. Fighting off runs by Minnesota and scoring just well enough to stay ahead. DJ Newbill was held scoreless and fouled out of the game but Frazier and forward Ross Travis led the team with 13 and 10 points respectively. Frazier was more efficient, with five assists to his name.

But as Frazier fouled out and joined Newbill on the bench, Penn State was seemingly rudderless despite having plenty of experienced players on the floor. Minnesota would take a 1 point lead only seconds later.

After trading free throws, some missed by both teams, Penn State had the ball with 16 seconds to play and a chance to tie down three. Guard John Johnson missed his attempt but the rebound was pulled down by forward Brandon Taylor who pitched the ball out to Allen Roberts' who hoisted up a contested three that struck iron but did not fall.

"We’re doing everything we possibly can to learn how to finish games," Chambers said. "It’s in their hands now. They have to make the plays down the stretch. They have to want to put themselves on the foul line, they have to shoot with confidence, they have to play good defense, get stops and get rebounds."

"That offensive rebound with about a minute and change to go was huge. We just need to do the little things and we did it for a good majority of the game. Then we have to finish it and we didn’t finish it."

Penn State will get another chance to finish out a game this Saturday against Indiana.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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