Ross Travis' shooting percentages -- .077 from 3-point range, .286 overall -- through Penn State's first six games do not jive with what head coach Patrick Chambers sees just about every day at practice.
Travis is just 14-of-49 from the field this season.
"He's got to get used to doing it in games," Chambers said Friday.
Penn State, which hosts Penn at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Bryce Jordan Center, has shot only 36 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range through its first six games of the season and has leaned heavily on guards D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall for its scoring since the loss of point guard Tim Frazier to a season-ending Achilles injury.
The task for Chambers, as he said after Wednesday's 73-61 loss to Boston College, is to find additional sources of offense.
Travis, the 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, is an important player for the Nittany Lions this season. He's second on the team in minutes played at 34.5 and logged 38 on Wednesday. He leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game and has 20 offensive boards.
Travis put in a lot of offseason work to improve his offensive arsenal, adding a pull-up jumper and a short floater to his game, and impressed coaches with both his improved mechanics and his efficiency in practice.
So far, though, the transformation hasn't led to many results on game nights.
"It takes time," Chambers said. "Time and knowledge and games and practices. I hope it happens sooner than later but it might not happen until he's a junior or senior.
"We have to be patient with him. He got thrown into the furnace a little bit early. Hopefully that light comes on."
Travis is far from the only Lion struggling with his shot. Of the top seven players in the current rotation, just three -- Newbill and forwards Brandon Taylor and Sasa Borovnjak -- are shooting better than 37 percent. Penn State missed 14 straight field goals during one stretch in Wednesday's loss.
"They weren't bad shots," Chambers said. "For the most part, they were pretty good shots. We've just got to get used to making them."
The Nittany Lions generated some easy offensive opportunities off of some full-court pressure while cutting a 20-point deficit to three in the final minutes. But Penn State doesn't have the depth to apply that kind of pressure for long stretches at a time. Plus, as Chambers pointed out, they need to be able to make baskets to set up pressure in the backcourt.
"Honestly I don't want to become a team that has to press all the time, because you really open yourself up to threes and dunks," Chambers said. "We can't get into our three-quarter court pressure if we can't make shots."
Notes: Chambers said he had planned to play Newbill about 30-32 minutes a game as an off guard this season but he'll likely have to play around 36 or more at the point with Frazier out. … Frazier, who has gotten around with the help of motorized cart since his injury, continues to be a fixture at practice and at film sessions. "I'm still spending a lot of time with him," Chambers said. "He's spending as much time with D.J. as he can, to continue to teach him to be patient, decision making and leadership, his approach to practice and games. Tim's invaluable in that regard." … Penn coach Jerome Allen played at Episcopal Academy with Chambers and Penn State assistant coach Eugene Burroughs and later played with Chambers' brother, Paul, at Penn.
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