Marshall, Newbill Lead Penn State to Win Over Penn
In two games since Penn State’s All-Big Ten point guard Tim Frazier was sidelined with a season-ending Achilles injury, the Nittany Lions have been struggling to find consistent ball-handling from their backcourt. DJ Newbill and Jermaine Marshall—both shooting guards—have done their best to fill that void.
Just over a minute into Saturday’s matchup with Penn at the Bryce Jordan Center, the Quakers employed a full court press, looking to exploit the Lions’ weakened backcourt. After turning the ball over four times in the first five minutes of play, head coach Pat Chambers adjusted accordingly. Newbill and Marshall split point guard duties nearly evenly throughout the afternoon as the Lions out-muscled the Quakers en route to a 58-47 victory.
Newbill had been the primary ball handler since Frazier’s injury, but said splitting the role with Marshall was beneficial.
“It helps tremendously because I’m not a pure point guard and neither is Jermaine, but when we tag team and work together to bring the ball up and get in the offense, it helps out a lot,” Newbill said.
Marshall said that Newbill and he have been switching positions—from point guard to shooting guard—quite a bit during practice.
“Coach has done a good job putting us in those situations in practice to try to get us used to (the full court press). We had some early turnovers but for the most part we adjusted,” Marshall said.
After taking a 10-9 lead about midway through the first half, the Nittany Lions never looked back, leading until the final buzzer. Marshall led the Penn State attack with a game-high 18 points while shooting 4-10 from the field and 9-10 from the foul line.
Newbill contributed 13 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals on the afternoon, but down the stretch it was Marshall’s show.
“(Marshall) played great. He took pretty good shots. He only took four three’s. Down in Puerto Rico he took 15 in a game against Providence. He needs to mix up his game and that’s what he did today. I’m happy for him,” Chambers said.
After the win, Chambers said that Marshall has been working extremely hard on his leadership. As a result, the coach has unofficially named Marshall the team’s honorary captain in Frazier’s absence.
“Jermaine’s been wanting to be the captain and with me you always have to earn it. He’s earned it,” Chambers said. “Jermaine’s leadership is getting there. He’s got to do it on a daily basis. I use the term persistent intensity. That means every day. Leadership never takes a day off.”
Chambers also lauded the leadership of senior guard and former walk-on Nick Colella who logged 31 minutes of action off the bench, scoring five points and providing his usual all-out effort on the defensive end.
“Nick—he’s not lighting up the box score—but he’s playing as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Chambers said.
On the other side, Penn battled throughout the entire ballgame. The Quakers cut the lead down to four with 7:22 to play, but Penn State followed with a nifty Marshall lay-up and consecutive low post finishes from forward Jon Graham—his only two buckets of the game– to seal the win.
Penn State got a boost from freshman Brandon Taylor, who hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points all in the first half. Forward Ross Travis also added 7 points and 8 boards for the Nittany Lions, who will travel to Philadelphia to face La Salle at the historic Palestra on Wednesday.