EVANSTON - On Senior Night in Evanston, the pregame ceremony was about the only thing that went right.
Drew Crawford scored just six points in his final home game as a Wildcat and Northwestern managed only 10 field goals in a 58-32 loss to Penn State in the final home game of the season. The Wildcats' offensive output was the lowest by a Big Ten team this season and the school's worst since a 63-30 loss to Illinois in 2000.
For the last time this season, WildcatReport brings you our Rapid Reactions from Evanston.
Did you see that? D.J. Newbill's breakaway slam. With time winding down in the first half, Newbill took the ball away from Kale Abrahamson and went in all alone for the other end of the court. His authoritative slam gave Penn State a 20-point lead and essentially ended Northwestern's hopes of staying competitive.
Offensive player of the game: Alex Olah. For the second straight game, Olah showed signs of progress. He ended the game with 14 points and had several nice plays where he posted up his defender and made smooth moves to the basket. His improvement this season was an encouraging sign for next year, but on Thursday it wasn't nearly enough to get Northwestern a win.
Defensive player of the game: No one really deserves this award. Penn State shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and only had the ball stolen once. The Nittany Lions' other nine turnovers were self-inflicted mishaps. Northwestern had no answer to what its opponent was doing on the offensive end, especially in the first half.
Turning point: The 4:37 period at the end of the first half, during which Northwestern was held scoreless. After Tre Demps knocked down a jumper to pull the Cats within 12 with 5:04 to go in the first half, Northwestern wouldn't score again until Abrahamson hit a three with 27 seconds left in the period. It goes without saying that you can't expect to win a Big Ten basketball game if you only put up 15 points in a half. Of course, the Wildcats only managed 17 in the second to cap the disaster.
Xs and Os: Penn State's game plan in this contest likely mirrors the type of offense Northwestern coach Chris Collins hopes to run in the near future. The Nittany Lions pushed the pace for almost the entire game and got up and down the court at a pace that was way too fast for undermanned Northwestern. They ended up with only two transition points, but Newbill and Co. blew the game open because of the tempo they imposed. Even if they didn't always push the ball all the way to the basket, the pace seemed to get NU out of its defensive comfort zone.
Atmosphere: Poor, to say the least. The students had a relatively good showing for the early tipoff, but the upper rafters were only sparsely populated. That's the support you can expect, though, for a team that's lost six straight games and hosting an opponent that's nearly as bad. It's hard to blame anyone who didn't show. If Collins wants to make Welsh-Ryan Arena into the Cameron Indoor-esque building he described in his introductory press conference, he's still got a long way to go. On the bright side, Crawford did get a nice standing ovation when he exited the game for the final time with just under a minute remaining.