This game had the makings of a tough one against an experienced Duquesne team, but nobody expected this kind of performance by either team coming into the game. Duquesne tied a school-record 17 made three-point shots on the night, and there was little Penn State could do to stop Duquesne from scoring at will.
The Nittany Lions kept it close in the first half, taking advantage of a number of turnovers on Duquesne's end to stay within 1 or two points, leading 24-23 with 3:53 left left in the first half. Penn State would tie the game at 26 with 3:14 left in the half, but it was all Duquesne from there. The Dukes made three consecutive three-point shots to take a 34-26 lead, and it was 37-26 by the time the half ended.
The second half was no different. Duquesne made five straight three-point shots to start the half, putting them up 30-52. Penn State's zone defense allowed open looks for Duquesne's players all game, they compounded it by trying to match both tempo and shots. Unlike Duquesne, Penn State's threes were not falling. It's hard to fully fault the team for Duquesne's lights out performance, but this is something Chambers will want to get cleaned up sooner rather than later, as the amount of open looks for Duquesne was still alarmingly high.
Four Factors Analysis
These are some ugly numbers. Penn State played right into Duquesne's hands by increasing the tempo and taking ill-advised shots. Duquesne's man coverage gave the team fits all night, thus resulting in Penn State getting into the same habits from last season, where they would go away from sharing the ball and patiently waitin for an open look. Duquesne outrebounded Penn State 42-37, which is disappointing given our size advantage.
The defense did not fare much better. It's hard to overstate Duquesne's 50% FG night from both 2- and 3-point range, but Penn State's players were consistently caught out of position, and by the time they recovered it was usually too late.
Another stark difference between the two teams is the number of assists, where Duquesne had 20 to Penn State's six. If the Lions are hoping to be anywhere near as competitive as they've been in the past few years, they will need to start moving the ball more effectively.
Player of the Game: Brandon Taylor
I'll start with a bit of a disclaimer: nobody really separated themselves in this game, but Taylor showed the most consistency of all players, going 6-12 for 14 points, and 2-4 from beyond the arc. Taylor took over the scoring duties in the first half, scoring 12 of his 14 points then. His absence was felt after picking up his second foul, given that as soon as he was off the court Duquesne started making its run.
- Poor, poor Jordan Dickerson. Dickerson had an opportunity for a point blank dunk lat in the game, but when he went up to make the play the ball bounced right off the rim. Maybe lay it up next time big guy.
- Penn State fouls a lot. This much we knew, but it became apparent when Isaiah Washington fouled Duquesne's Eric James with 4 seconds left in the first half.
- These announcers were NOT good. Being Duquesne announcers, you could expect a certain level of pointed commentary when it came to this game, but boy these guys must have had a few shots before taking their seats for this one. They sometimes didn't even know Duquesne's players names!
- Stick to what works. Sure, it was against lesser competition, but controlling tempo, effective defense, and sharing the ball worked well in the first two games. Chambers needs to remind his players to stick to that plan.
Penn State comes back home to face Radford on Tuesday, November 24. In case you weren't aware, Radford started its season by upsetting Georgetown on the road, so don't expect an easy one on Tuesday.