Penn State got offense from a number of sources during a 78-70 defeat of Army on Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions (5-4) shot 51 percent and had four players with 14 points or more. The Black Knights (4-4) came back from a 12-point halftime deficit to cut Penn State's lead to two early in the second half before the Nittany Lions pulled away for the win.
Jermaine Marshall had 16 points as Penn State topped Army.
Top performers: Guard D.J. Newbill had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists, Jermaine Marshall had 16 points, six boards and four assists, Ross Travis had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Taylor had 14 points for the Nittany Lions.
Forward Ella Ellis had 23 points and guard Kyle Toth added 13 for the Black Knights, who played 12 players for six minutes or more Saturday.
What went right: Newbill and Marshall finally got some significant scoring help from their teammates. The Nittany Lions moved the ball well in the half court and were able to generate some rare opportunities in transition. The defense was sharp early on, forcing 11 Army turnovers in the first half and 15 for the game. The Nittany Lions owned a huge advantage (41-27) on the boards. Penn State got off to a terrific start, weathered a couple of runs by Army and some sluggish offensive stretches but was able to make enough plays down the stretch to keep the Knights at bay.
What went wrong: Penn State was sloppy with the basketball, committing 17 turnovers. The Nittany Lions got only six points and, more importantly, only 28 combined minutes, from big men Sasa Borovnjak and Jon Graham, who could not stay out of foul trouble. The Nittany Lions had a terrific first half of offense but allowed the Knights to get back in the game early in the second half.
Statworthy: Guard Nick Colella was 3-of-5 from 3-point range after coming into the game with five 3-pointers in 27 attempts. … Marshall had four of Penn State's seven steals. … The Nittany Lions had 28 points in the paint; the Black Knights had 14. … Taylor is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range this season and 43 percent over his last three games.
Quotable: "We shoot 37 percent in the first half, they shoot 56. It doesn't matter if you're at home or on the road -- you can't win if they shoot 56 and you shoot 37." -- Army coach Zach Spiker
"I've always had confidence. I've just been waiting for the shots to fall and they're finally falling." -- Penn State forward Ross Travis, who has averaged 13 points in his last two games.
"That's one thing we try to do is just share the ball and play with confidence. If a guy gets an open shot, just stick it. I think that's what we were doing." -- Penn State guard D.J. Newbill, on getting double-figure scoring from four players
"If you guys had told me we were gonna score 78 points, I'd have told you you were crazy." -- Chambers
Summary: Chambers said after the game he wants to use his bench more. Penn State continues to go with a seven-man rotation, and the big men in that rotation have played limited minutes due to foul trouble. It's led to some inconsistent stretches both offensively and defensively for the Nittany Lions, which were on display again Saturday. Role players like Travis, Taylor and Colella are getting more comfortable, while Newbill and Marshall continue to shoulder heavy loads admirably. This team remains a work in progress and the depth issues will continue to have short- and long-term effects, but the short spurts of offense and scoring from different sources during the last few games should give the Nittany Lions some confidence.
Next up: The Nittany Lions have a week off before hosting Delaware State at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Jordan Center.
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