And it isn't the Highlanders of New Jersey Tech. Penn State overcame a sloppy first half to pull away and dominate the game 74-47. Let's look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Talor Battle continues to be our best player scoring 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists in only 32 minutes. I mentioned after the last game I wanted to see him averaging six or seven assists per game, so this was a great improvement. The offense really lacked direction when he was on the bench. I also liked that he only had one turnover.
David Jackson was really aggressive and played well. He was attacking the lane and went to the charity stripe five times hitting all five shots to finish with 13 points.
Ed DeChellis may have found a diamond in the rough in Cammeron Woodyard. He doesn't seem at all intimidated by the speed of the game and played with a lot of aggression. He logged 16 minutes and finished with six points and two rebounds. I especially liked the way he attacked the boards and went after rebounds. We'll need more of that this year to help Cornley inside.
Jeff Brooks saw his first action of the year and looks a lot improved over last year. He was attacking the lane drawing the defense in and did a nice job of kicking the ball out to the shooters. I also liked the way he crashed the boards and pulled in six rebounds.
Jeff Brooks is out of control. He turned the ball over five times and committed several stupid fouls eventually fouling out of the game. I'm hoping he was just trying to do too much to show everybody how much he has improved. But if he learns how to control that athletic ability we could have another Geary Claxton in a few years.
Stanley Pringle does a good job of pushing the fast break. Unfortunately, he just outruns his teammates and when he realizes he's leading a one-on-three fast break he decides to pull up and try a three point shot. We need better shot selection than that. It's ok to pull up and go into the half court set if the fast break isn't there.
27 of our 53 field goal attemts were three point shots. That's over half. NJIT is a small team that we should have been able to dominate in the paint. But there were too many times where everyone was just kind of standing around on offense passing it around the perimeter until somebody decided to take a shot. Luckily our shooters were on last night hitting 13 of the 27 attempts, but if we have an off shooting night we are going to find ourselves in a dogfight.
Jamelle Cornley should have scored 30 points on this team they were so weak inside. But he only had six points and four rebounds. Admittedly, they really tried to take him out of the game and Ed only played him 23 minutes to keep him healthy.
Chris Babb got into the game late, but he still doesn't look ready. He ran around looking lost on offense and turned the ball over twice, but there are signs of hope. Like most good players do when they can't get it going on offense they focus on defense and rebounding. He pulled down a couple boards and in the final minutes of the game he looked like he was starting to just play and have fun on the offensive end. Hopefully he's over the first game jitters now.
The first half defense was terrible. The perimeter defense was overpursuing and letting the Highlanders get some wide open jump shots. They did a better job in the second half.
What was up with the officiating? 46 fouls? Really? You couldn't breathe on your opponent without drawing a whistle. I was afraid to reach over my sleeping dog for my soda can for fear I would get called for an over the back violation. It made it really hard to enjoy the game, let alone watch it on DVR in under two hours while fast forwarding through commercials.
Andrew Jones is an awful free throw shooter. He went to the stipe ten times and only hit four shots. It's obvious to see he rushes through his shooting motion and never really comes set before he takes the shot. Does Ed coach these guys on how to shoot foul shots or does he just tell them to shoot a hundred free throws after practice and turn out the lights when they are done? Last year I noted Geary Claxton never even looked at the rim until he was half way through his shooting motion. Jamelle Cornley uses too much wrist in his shot. Who is coaching these guys? It's supposed to be the easiest shot in basketball. That's why they call it the Charity Stripe.
Jeff Brooks gets an honorable mention on the free throw Hall of Shame. He had one attempt and clanked the front end of a one-and-one horribly off the front of the rim. An inch or two shorter and it would have been an air ball.