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It wouldn’t be hard to convince coach Kevin Stallings that things would be better if John Jenkins had stayed in school rather than skip his senior season. Jenkins, who averaged 19.9 points, is now averaging 4.2 points in about 10 minutes a game for the Atlanta Hawks, who drafted him in the first round.

Vanderbilt has scored 52 or fewer points in six games, including 33-point nights in losses to Marist and Arkansas.

“There have been some odd scores, and it seems like there have been more odd ones than normal. Maybe that’s just because I’ve been involved in a few of them,” Stallings said. “I don’t think defensive play has all of a sudden gotten that much better or that much further ahead of the offense.”

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said younger teams like his are more apt to miss than hit on the road, as was the case with the Tigers at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Arena.

“The pressure, what you’re playing against, can mount a little bit and you revert back to old habits, which are to put your head down and go try to make individual plays,” Brownell said.

Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said putting a young team on the floor against a great defensive opponent spells trouble. Defenders tend to clutch and grab more than they used to, and officials let the big men bang in the paint. Then add the 16,000 fans in the stands and bright lights.

“They can be a little tight,” Chambers said, “so they’re missing shots, missing layups, missing free throws.”

Illinois’ John Groce said coaching has never been better, and coaches have more tools at their disposal when it comes to game-planning.

“I could go to the office and say I want every underneath out-of-bounds play that Northwestern has run in the last 30 games, and my video guy could get me that in 15 minutes,” Groce said. “I think there is more video than there ever has been, and maybe that has to do with some of the scoring. I don’t have anything objectively or statistically to give it to you concrete, but it’s a thought.”

Northern Illinois’ Montgomery had a more simple explanation for why his team _ the third-youngest in Division I with two freshman and two sophomore starters _ kept missing against Dayton. It was just a really bad night, he said.

Akeem Springs made a jump shot just inside the 3-point arc on Northern Illinois’ first attempt from the field.

“You’re thinking, `OK, we got that out of the way,’” Montgomery said. “Then you miss a layup, you miss free throws, and then it’s, `Oh, oh. Here we go.’ “

The more the Huskies missed, the more desperate they seemed to become.

“You see the frustration in their eyes because they’re competitors and you know they’re working so hard to score,” Montgomery said.

The Huskies didn’t score for 16 minutes, 2 seconds _ six seconds shy of the NCAA record for longest drought _ and that was on Travon Baker’s free throw. Baker’s floater in the lane with 2:40 left was Northern Illinois’ last, and only other, field goal of the first half.

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