It wasn't without flaws, but the Nittany Lions' response against Penn today was definitely a step in the right direction. Following the whooping Bucknell put on PSU last Wednesday, Pat Chambers' bunch was able to keep the Quaker attack at bay. It allows us to focus on the Lions' outstanding shooting performance for the second straight game. The offense was able to create open opportunities for others, and those players looked cool and confident as they knocked down shot after shot, even if they were on the road in the Palestra.
Tim Frazier led the way with 29 points on just 13 shots, while DJ finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Donovon Jack had it going early, scoring 7 of PSU's first 13 points, but was saddled with foul trouble the rest of the game. Brandon Taylor continued to keep it going from outside, connecting on 2 of 5 three-point attempts, while Allen Roberts made three treys of his own. Ross Travis finished with a quiet 6 points, including a nasty dunk on Darien Nelson-Henry, but returned to form on the boards, corralling 11 rebounds.
The Lions went wire-to-wire on the victory, jumping out to a 25-point first half lead that never was less than 12 the rest of the way. They led by 23 at halftime (47-24), but eased off the gas in the second half. Penn attempted to make a few runs, finding success inside against PSU's defense with Nelson-Henry (21 points) and Fran Dougherty (14 points), but they were unable to cut the lead to single digits.
Four Factors Analysis
Penn State continued their hot-shooting to start the year as they were especially effective from inside the arc, converting 64.7% of their 2PA. Tim Frazier was particularly dangerous inside the three-point line, hitting 9 of his 10 attempts within 20 feet. They also added seven 3-pointers to put up another solid offensive performance. The first half dominance was impressive (68.8% eFG%).
The defense still continues to be a work-in-process, but luckily the Quakers weren't raining down shots like the Bison the other night. Fouling continues to be a thorn in the side of Pat Chambers, as Donovon Jack and Brandon Taylor fouled out before each played even 20 minutes. Penn was able to get to the foul line 40 times in the game.
Player of the Game
Tim Frazier looked like his old self after an uncharacteristic performance against Bucknell. He finished with 29 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. He wasn't perfect after surrendering a couple of bad turnovers that allowed the Quakers to hang around in the second half, but it was evident that Jerome Allen's team had no answer for #23. Frazier was able to penetrate with ease and finish in style, including blowing through 3 Penn defenders for a nice bucket in transition.
- Fouls, Fouls, Fouls - The Lions frontcourt continues to struggle at staying in position on defense. As mentioned, both Donovon Jack and Brandon Taylor were only able to play a combined 28 minutes after fouling out. Ross Travis played 38 minutes but he also was whistled four times as was DJ Newbill. Overall, Penn State combined for 27 personal fouls that resulted in 40 attempted free throws for Penn. No bueno.
- Welcome, Julian Moore - The true freshman center saw his first real action as a Nittany Lion, logging 15 minutes off the bench before also fouling out. His first bucket as a Penn Stater came on a two-handed flush off a transition opportunity. He also had a pretty help-side block on Nelson-Henry. Look forward to seeing more of the freshman in the future. Payton Banks is now the lone true freshman that has yet to check into a game for State.
- Strong Start - Penn State scored 47 points in the first half. This is the highest first half point total since Pat Chambers has been in State College. Not sure they've held any larger leads than 23 points at the break, either.
The Lions return home to the BJC on Tuesday to face the La Salle Explorers who made the Sweet 16 last season. Hopefully Penn State has revenge on their minds after the Explorers carved up the Lions defense a year ago en route to a 25-point victory, 82-57. The Explorers are 2-1 so far on the young season with two tough wins over Quinnipiac and Siena after dropping their opener to an underrated Manhattan team.