February 17, 2013

Chambers: Burke was the difference

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers liked a lot of what his team did, in a 79-71 loss at Crisler Center on Sunday. He wasn't crazy about Trey Burke scoring 29 … but he understands.

"Trey Burke … he's Trey Burke," Chambers shrugged, after Burke torched his team again and again. "He had 29 [points] and no turnovers. By the way, a lot of those shots he hits - they're circus. Some of the shots he hit, I'm like holy cow…

"They were amazing. Going left, fading away … crazy shots. He's really talented. He was the difference."

The Nittany Lions actually led by as many as eight in the first half, before settling for a 32-32 tie at the half. Chambers proved hugely animated on the way to the halftime locker room.

When you're winless in the Big Ten, that's what happens, he said.

"We executed what we wanted to do," Chambers said. "When you're 0-13, you get excited about the little things."

One of the big things for the PSU coach involves getting out to a good start in the final 20 minutes. It didn't work out that way, with Michigan jumping out in front.

"We always talk about winning that first four minutes, and that's when Michigan really turned up the heat," he said. "They're so talented, it's only a matter of time before their threes start to fall."

For the most part, they still didn't, Michigan going 6-for-18 overall from beyond the arc. Chambers acknowledged that for as much as he liked what his team was doing, it got some help from the home squad.

"We gave up some threes there in the second half," Chambers said. "I think there were four. There were some uncontested ones that they usually hit, one that [Tim] Hardaway usually hits that went in and out. It wasn't all us. The shots that normally go down for them didn't go down."

Michigan did get its two starting freshmen going, Nik Stauskas missing his first three three-point attempts but going 2-for-3 on the next trio and winding up with 18 points and four assists. Meanwhile, Glenn Robinson III used an assortment of dunks and a 9-for-11 effort at the free throw line to score 21 and look significantly more confident.

"He did a great job of second cutting, not just standing," Chambers noted of Robinson. "What did he have, four or five dunks? He did a great job of not standing and getting himself to the basket. He ran the floor really well. I felt like he cut pretty hard off their five-out offense.

"He got some easy ones. If you go back and look at the tape, he got a lot of easy shots. A lot of them were dunks, unfortunately for us."

On a day when Burke looked unstoppable, it was enough to keep Chambers and the Nittany Lions searching for Big Ten victory No. 1.

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