Penn State got more than six points from just three different players and needed overtime to crack 50 points but still came up with a 55-52 win over Providence on Friday in the consolation bracket of the Puerto Rico Tip Off. The Nittany Lions (2-1) shot 38 percent and made only 4 of 21 3-point tries but pulled away in overtime thanks to some clutch play from guards Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill.
Top performers: Frazier led the way with 19 points on just 13 shots, nine rebounds and seven assists, though he missed four of his 10 free-throw attempts. Jermaine Marshall had 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting and added five rebounds. Newbill had nine points, four of them in overtime.
Forward Kadeem Batts led the Friars (2-2) with 17 points, going 13-of-15 at the line, and 11 rebounds. Josh Fortune had 15 points and LaDontae Henton added 11.
What went right: Penn State moved the ball fairly well against Providence's 2-3 zone and got plenty of open looks. Other than giving Henton some good looks from 3-point range and letting Batts get to the line 15 times, the Nittany Lions were decent defensively, coming up with 11 steals. Frazier made the plays at both end of the floor his team needed down the stretch, as he usually does, and Newbill came up big in overtime.
What went wrong: For the third straight game, Penn State could not knock down open shots. This time, the Nittany Lions couldn't find other ways to score, either. Penn State should have worn down a depleted Providence team that suited up only five scholarship players but needed more than 43 minutes to put the Friars away. The Lions committed 16 turnovers, got next to no scoring from their frontcourt (Jon Graham was scoreless in 13 minutes) and played with little rhythm or flow throughout.
Summary: The Nittany Lions got their second ugly win of the season to go along with an ugly loss. Patrick Chambers used various schemes and rotated different combinations throughout the game but little worked to revive what has been an incredibly ineffective offense. Many of Penn State's players (Sasa Borovnjak, Ross Travis) seem to be pressing, while others (Frazier, Newbill, Marshall) simply aren't playing to potential. They'll have a day off to regroup, refresh and look for some answers to the offensive woes.
Up next: Penn State will take on Akron in a consolation game at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The Zips beat UNC-Asheville 82-63 on Friday.
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