Penn State got off to a rare hot shooting start and was able to hold off a couple of Penn charges in the second half Saturday, defeating the Quakers 58-47 in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions (4-3) shot 47 percent and buried five 3-pointers in the first half and made enough plays down the stretch to hold off the Quakers (2-6). Jermaine Marshall led three Nittany Lions in double figures with 18 points.
Marshall had 18 points, three assists and just two turnovers in 39 minutes Saturday.
Top performers: Marshall added three assists, three rebounds and made 9 of 10 free throws. D.J. Newbill had 13 points, five assists and four steals, and freshman Brandon Taylor had 11 points, all in the first half, and six rebounds.
Guard Tony Hicks had 10 points for Penn, which shot just 35 percent from the field and 32 percent in the second half.
What went right: The Nittany Lions were sound defensively against a Penn team that didn't shoot well but moved the ball crisply. Forward Ross Travis was once again active on the glass, grabbing four offensive rebounds and eight boards total. Penn State, which has struggled from beyond the arc all season, got some early threes to fall which helped set up some drives to the basket later in the game. The Nittany Lions were a solid 74 percent from the free-throw line and 7-of-9 in the second half.
What went wrong: Penn State's shooters cooled off after that hot start and the Lions scored only 27 second-half points. Big man Jon Graham had a couple of nice post moves late but for the most part he and fellow big Sasa Borovnjak are contributing very little offensively. Penn State led by double digits for much of the second half but could not seem to pull away from an inferior opponent.
Statworthy: Marshall played a career-high 39 minutes. … Penn State connected on its first three 3-point attempts and five of its first seven, but was 0-of-8 from the arc in the second half. … Penn guard Miles Cartwright, the team's second-leading scorer at more than 15 points per game, did not score until the second half and finished with four points on 2-of-11 shooting. … Thirteen different Quakers saw action but only six played more than nine minutes.
Quotable: "We had a great walkthrough this morning and eventually that's going to transfer over to the game." -- Penn State guard D.J. Newbill on the Lions' strong offensive start.
"From my seat, every 50-50 ball they came up with. That'll kind of catch up to you later on." -- Penn coach Jerome Allen on the Nittany Lions.
"Twenty-two's his max. He's out there and looked like he had a refrigerator on his back." -- Penn State coach Patrick Chambers, on playing freshman Brandon Taylor for a career-high 31 minutes Saturday.
Summary: After a series of sluggish starts by his team this season, Chambers focused on the first four minutes of the game during practice this week and the Lions responded. Marshall helped Newbill bring the ball up and got some key buckets early and late. Taylor showed once again he could be more than just a role player for Penn State this season while Travis and Nick Colella provided their usual hustle and energy. The Nittany Lions got a win they needed to get and saw the ball go through the basket with some frequency (for a half, anyway) and Chambers continues to get just about as much as he can from what is essentially a seven-man rotation at this point.
Up next: Penn State travels to the Palestra at 9 p.m. Wednesday to take on LaSalle (4-1).