Penn State Basketball Crushes Longwood, 93-67
A career-high scoring performance from Brandon Taylor and a near triple-double from D.J. Newbill propelled Penn State (4-1) over Longwood (2-3), 93-67, in a regional game for the upcoming Barclays Center Classic.
The Nittany Lions got off to a hot start, blitzing the Lancers early and racing out to a 7-0 lead. However, Longwood, last year’s cellar dwellers in the Big South conference, battled back behind hot shooting and several Nittany Lion turnovers.
“Those guys executed in the first half,” Newbill said. “They came out and played good basketball, they jumped us. Them coming in, they just beat a good team in TCU, they came in ready to kill us. We gotta prepare better for those games.”
However, Penn State stayed course, and the Nittany Lions began to impose its will on the Lancers thanks to Taylor, Newbill, and Ross Travis. At the end of the first half, Penn State led 37-27 behind 9 points from Taylor, 8 points from Newbill, and a near double-double from Travis, who had 6 points and 9 rebounds.
Penn State started the second half on fire. On the first possession, Travis forced a steal and threw down an uncontested jam.
Two possessions later, Travis was at it again, getting involved in another turnover and throwing down another dunk to give the junior his first double-double on the season. Travis would go on the finish the game with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Penn State imposed its will on Longwood and never trailed in the second half, even leading by as many as 30 points during the second frame. Part of this was because of the play of Brandon Taylor. The sophomore had his best game in the Blue and White, going off for a career-high 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 5-of-9 shooting from downtown.
“I’m definitely getting in the gym more after practice,” Taylor said when he was asked about his recent form. “Late nights or whatever, just getting shots up. For this team to be good, I’m gonna have to knock down shots.”
“We always talk about earning the right,” coach Patrick Chambers said. “You’re gonna come in extra, you’re gonna shoot extra, you’re gonna make shots in the game. It’s really that simple. You put the preparation in, there’s no stress, there’s no worry. Rhythm shots? Take them. And [Taylor’s] earned the right to take 16 shots because he works that hard.”
The Nittany Lions were also picked up by a monster performance from Newbill. While Tim Frazier had a down game by his lofty standards — 9 points and 8 assists on 4-of-6 shooting — Newbill elevated his game and had a performance that was reminiscent of last year, where he had to take on the role of point guard in Frazier’s absence.
Newbill ended the game 7-of-11 from the field with a season-high 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Perhaps the most impressive part of his performance was when he got the lion’s share of his numbers — the redshirt junior put up 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in the second half.
“I’m in love with these two guards, Newbill and Frazier,” said Longwood coach Jayson Gee. “Frazier’s number’s weren’t great, but he’s really good. I think those guys are gonna play at the next level.”
Penn State used its ability to force turnovers and score in transition to bury the Lancers, outscoring Longwood 11-0 on points off of turnovers and 13-0 on fast break points. The Nittany Lions also annihilated Longwood on the boards, 35-24.
“Guys are just making plays,” Newbill said. “No one’s trying to be a hero.”
This game was the most points that Penn State has scored in the Pat Chambers era and the first time that the Nittany Lions have scored 90 or more points in a game since December 19, 2009. In far more important news, this game was the fourth time in as many home games this year that Penn State scored 70 or more points, meaning that every fan in attendance won a free Big Mac.
The Nittany Lions return to the court on Tuesday, when it hosts 1-3 Monmouth in the team’s final game before this weekend’s Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn. The game tips off at 6 p.m.