A week into the season, Penn State was still looking for a complete performance on both sides of the ball heading into its game with Fairfield.
On Friday night, the Nittany Lions got what they were looking for as they dispatched the Stags 65-49 before 4,177 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks led the way for Penn State offensively. Battle moved from sixth to fourth on Penn State's all-time leading scoring list with 20 points and Brooks notched a career high 19 to help the Lions shoot 41% as a team. From three-point territory, the pair was 7-12 after failing to make a trey against St. Joseph's on Tuesday.
On defense, center Drew Jones was active in helping the Lions hold an opponent under 50 points for the first time in 2010-2011. The senior blocked 3 shots and had three steals in addition to scoring eight points and pulling down 11 boards, five offensive.
The Stags forced the Lions to shoot on them after Penn State went 1-21 from three point territory against St. Joseph's by employing a zone through much of the first half, but the Lions shot them out of it by hitting 5-9 from deep in the first period.
Overall, it was Penn State's strongest performance of the season. For the first time, the team really seems to have some complete momentum going as they head into Thanksgiving week.
- It doesn't matter who you're playing. Holding a team under 50 points these days is a big deal. Penn State was close to doing so against Lehigh and St. Joe's, but the players finally pulled through and made it happen Friday. The Stags had trouble even cracking 40 before Ed DeChellis pulled the starters toward the end of the game. The defense is as good as its been in a long time in Happy Valley.
- Everyone knows Penn State is better than 1-21 beyond the arc, but it was refreshing to see it against Fairfield nonetheless. No doubt, the worse it got from deep, the more pressure the players felt, so Friday night should serve as a collective deep breath for the players and and to allow them to feel a little less pressure shooting the ball.
- Man does Jeff Brooks look good right now. Not only is he scoring consistently, he's averaging nine rebounds through three games. We've seen the senior score before, but to contribute so regularly on the boards is new territory for him and it's encouraging for Penn State's chances down the line.
- We're nit picking here, but after a big opener against Lehigh, Billy Oliver has really quieted down. He was only 1-5 against Lehigh for two points and grabbed two rebounds against three fouls in 20 minutes. He could use a big game on Monday against Central Connecticut State.
- Cammeron Woodyard took only three shots in 13 minutes after a rough 0-7 the other night. Understandably, he looked a little tenative, but he's going to have to shake that off if he's going to be an effective guy off the bench for this team.
- Fairfield's offense looked downright lost through portions of this game. For a team that was picked to win the MAAC, the Stags looked confused and perplexed by Penn State's pretty simple man-to-man defense. They turned the ball over and really did not look good at any point throughout the game in the offensive end.
- "Everybody was out there talking and everybody just felt like they had some energy to play on defense tonight. It was a good performance on defense"
- On his early success: "It's nothing special. I'm just going out there every night just trying to be a factor out there on the floor and also being a leader, being a senior, and trying to bring some energy out there."
- On improving from three: "We shoot all the time. It's just a matter of hitting shots. There's no magic potion."
- On forcing turnovers: "Our guards do a good job pressuring the ball. We just have a connection where if somebody gets beat we rotate."
Fairfield's Ed Cooley
- "We looked at their last tape, they didn't really shoot the ball well from three. So you've got to give them credit, making eight more threes than they did the last game. I thought that was the real key to this game."
- "You can credit Penn State, they shot the ball really well today."
- "[Fairfield] is gonna be a good team in their league and one that I was really concerned about and we needed to play a little bit better."
- On Battle becoming the fourth all-time leading scorer: "I think it is a great accomplishment. He's really turned out to be a special player, not only scoring but as an ambassador to the program. He's been great on campus, he's been great in the community and I think there's more to it than being on some kind of scoring list."