Strong Defense, Three-Point Shooting Power Nits Past Fairfield
When you look around Beaver Stadium on a Saturday, you see signs such as “Blue Royster Cult” and the “Redd Zone.” After Friday night, there may have to be one hanging in the Bryce Jordan Center that says the “Killer ‘B’ Hive.”
The duo of Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks combined for a third great game in a row, Tim Frazier and the rest of the supporting cast had another good defensive effort, and Penn State’s three-point touch finally arrived to University Park as Penn State defeated MAAC preseason favorite Fairfield, 64-49.
Battle scored 20 points (his second 20-point game of the season) and Brooks continued his early-season dominance, adding 19 points and 9 rebounds. The defense held the Stags to a 31.7% shooting effort while causing 16 turnovers in the process, but also giving up 17 offensive rebounds, something that will need to be improved upon before conference play starts.
Something that was improved on from Tuesday night was the Lions’ shooting from behind the arc. After their abysmal 1-21 performance against St. Joseph’s, the lids were taken off the baskets for this game and the nets were torched up early and often. Battle, Brooks and Cammeron Woodyard all hit threes as part of a 5-9 first half performance and they shot 41% (9-for-22) for the game.
While the first half was pretty tame, Penn State came out of the break ratcheting up the defensive pressure and scoring in bunches. Starting with a Brooks three-pointer with 13:18 remaining, the Nittany Lions went on a 12-0 that ran for 5:37 to increase an eight-point halftime lead to an eighteen-point lead with about eight minutes left in the game. Taran Buie hit a three to put the Nits up by 25, their biggest lead of the night, with 3:09 remaining in the game. Coach DeChellis then gave the rest of his starters the rest of the night off for the final minutes as Fairfield cut the final result to 15 in garbage time.
Penn State is now 3-0 on the season, the third time it has happened in the DeChellis era. They finish up a four-game homestand to start the season on Monday night when they take on fellow Nutmeg State school Central Connecticut State University at 7:00 p.m. in the BJC.
Cleaning the Glass:
- Frazier had a night to remember after his night to forget Tuesday night. He had seven assists versus only two turnovers in 31 minutes of work.
- Battle moved into fourth place on the Penn State all-time scoring list, passing former teammate Jamelle Cornley. He now has 1,582 career points.
- Andrew Jones had a decent stat line once again with eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. That is a little misleading, though, as he missed point-blank layups and looked lost on defense at times.