NICHOLAS BAER'S TRACKS VS. PENN STATE
19 minutes, 3-4 FG, 2-3 3 PT, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 2 TO, 8 points
AND THE BAER-OMETER SAYS:
It was a strong night for Baer in a game that was so little-watched (both in person and on TV) that it's not clear whether it really happened. Nicholas played his customary pesky defense in Iowa's press, ran the court for a nice transition layup, and coolly nailed two threes — his most since making three against Tennessee Tech in December. When Baer has his shot going and teams are foolish enough to leave him open, he, like the famous song and dance man, F-Troop star, and Moline native Ken Berry, is the consummate triple threat.
BAER ESSENTIAL PLAY OF THE NIGHT
In addition to the two threes, Baer made a smart play in the second half where he made Penn State pay for a split second of inattention. Midway through the second half, the Nittany Lions worked the ball inside for a dunk, and the second the ball went in the basket, Baer streaked the other way. Mike Gesell worked it up to Peter Jok, who found Baer all alone under the basket for a layup. Iowa loves to get early offense and tries to break even off made baskets, which can lead to easy baskets like Baer's. This kind of play used to be Aaron White's specialty, but Baer has taken over the role of cherry-picker in chief this year.
DOM UNG-UHL-ATE OF THE WEEK
Dom Uhl had a couple of power dunks in this game that showed some of his potential as an interior scorer. Late in the first half, he drove the ball to the hoop, threw up an off-balance shot and then, without breaking stride, followed up the miss with a jam. And late in the second half, Penn State tried to mark him with 6'3", 160-pound guard Isaiah Washington. Uhl buffaloed right through Washington and threw down over the late-arriving help defense. Uhl doesn't quite have the explosive hops of someone like Aaron White yet, but those two dunks demonstrated that he is getting better at finishing decisively at the rim. If Uhl can punish opposing big men by shooting over them and punish opposing guards by muscling them out of the way for dunks, then he will be a very tough player to guard.
* Fine, bison.
THE BAER FACTS
I have to confess that I didn't know much about Ken Berry before writing this apart from a vague awareness of F-Troop, and just happened to come across his name in this scene that was supposedly cut from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The relevant portion is quoted below (although the entire scene is worth a read):
DR. EVIL: One of my greatest disappointments is that I never became a song and dance man. I could have been a quadruple threat, kind of like a despotic Ken Berry. Dancer, singer, actor, and I would possess nuclear weapons, the latter being the most threatening of the four.
Berry was a skilled tap dancer and singer, and also had roles on Mayberry RFD and Mama's Family, in addition to frequent appearances on the Carol Burnett Show. He served as an entertainer in the Special Services Corps (his superior officer: Sergeant Leonard Nimoy) during World War II.