Ohio State star Deshaun Thomas was held to a season-low 11 points, but a poor shooting effort kept the Nittany Lions winless in the Big Ten following a 65-51 loss to the No. 10-ranked Buckeyes Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Hitting just 36-.2 percent of their shots for the afternoon, and a paltry 4 of 17 effort from beyond the arc, the Nittany Lions (8-12 overall, 0-8 Big Ten) scored just 18 points in the first half and no more than 51 points for the fifth time in the conference.
With their losing streak now extended to eight games, Penn State's players and head coach Patrick Chambers remained positive following the loss that their misfortune shooting the ball would soon change.
"We definitely like the shots that we're getting, we just need to knock them down," said sophomore guard D.J. Newbill (15 points, 6 assists). "As long as we keep our effort and keep playing hard on the defensive end, eventually shots will fall and success will find us."
Echoed Chambers, "I definitely thought our defense was pretty good. It put a lot of pressure on our offense when you don't make shots. I thought our gameplan was good. If you told me we were going to hold Deshaun Thomas to eleven points, I'd say we were going to be in the game and maybe with a chance to win.
"I felt like we got really good shots and, for whatever reason, they're not going down right now. It's youth out there. I feel like we're close. If we could just get a third scorer. I feel like we're close. Our defense is really at a good place. Even though we lost at Indiana, I felt like we defended. Today, it's the same thing. We're close."
While Newbill dropped in another 15 points, his 17th double-digit scoring effort this season, and junior Jermaine Marshall added a team-high 16 points, no other Nittany Lion reached double-figures and, among the eight other players to see floor time, only 20 total points were scored.
"When you get open shots, you've gotta shoot with confidence. You've gotta knock them down," Chambers said. "I felt like we executed, for the most part, we got some good shots.
"But, we gotta share the ball and guys that have open shots, they've gotta stick them. That's the bottom line. Jermaine and D.J. are doing their part. We need that third and fourth guy to step up and there's youth and they're freshmen and, they'll get there."
In the meantime, Chambers and the Nittany Lions return to the drawing board, looking for their first win in Big Ten play dating back to a 69-64 win against Iowa at the BJC on Feb. 16, 2012.
Distraught by the losing but encouraged by the progress he's seen, Chambers said they'll simply continue to improve and, hopefully, see the positive results to reflect that improvement in the very near future.
"It doesn't matter if we're 0-8 or 8-0. You gotta go out and be ready to play. This is what you love to do. I think D.J. would agree with me if I said, 'What do you love to do?' Well, he loves to play basketball. That's his passion, so, it doesn't matter if you're 0-8," he said. "Those guys in that locker room love each other. There's a lot of tears. I don't know that I saw one dry eye in that locker room. They care about this program. They care about playing hard and playing Penn State basketball.
"They understand what it's going to take and, regardless of 0-8, throw the record out, we're getting better. You might not see it, but I see it. We're playing against the best teams in the country, top to bottom. We're getting better, and hopefully we'll see those results real soon, in a positive light, anyway."