Trio of Guards Lead Penn State to Huge Win Over Monmouth
Tim Frazier, D.J. Newbill, and Allen Roberts combined to score 51 points and propel Penn State (5-1) to its fourth straight win of the season, an 84-52 blowout of Monmouth University (1-4) in its final regional game of the Barclays Center Classic.
While the Nittany Lions led from start to finish, the team failed to get separation at the beginning of the game. Many of the issues that have plagued Penn State early in games so far this season, like turnovers and confusion with defensive rotations, manifested itself.
For much of the first half, Penn State’s lead hovered around 6 to 8 points, mostly because of the stellar play of Frazier, Newbill, and Roberts. The trio combined for 26 of the team’s 40 first half points along with 9 rebounds and 6 assists. At the end of the half, Penn State led 40-30.
However, in the second half, Penn State put its foot on the gas pedal, starting out the half on a 20-6 run. Early in the half, the sparse crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center was treated to a piece of Penn State hoops history, as Frazier became the fourth player in program history to score 1,000 points and dish out 500 assists after he and Newbill forced a turnover and, while driving to the hoop, Frazier dumped the ball off for assist number 500.
Penn State continued to impose its will and doubled up the Hawks in the second half, outscoring them 44-22. One of the reasons why the Nittany Lions were able to break out during the game’s last 20 minutes was the squad’s defense, which consistently confused and frustrated Monmouth.
“We threw some pressure on them,” Frazier said. “Mixed some things up and went to our pressure, and we were able to make turnovers and that leads to open, quick baskets, where in the first half we weren’t able to get a lot of turnovers and they were scoring.”
The game’s breakout performer was undoubtedly Roberts. The graduate senior, who transferred to Penn State from Miami (OH) during the offseason after leading the Redhawks in scoring, came into the game averaging 6 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from deep.
Roberts ended the night with a season-high 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting and 3-of-5 shooting from downtown. While the transition from leading scorer on one team to a role player on another would be difficult for most people, Roberts has embraced it.
“It’s not that bad,” Roberts said. “I’m trying to be a more complete player where I’m actually moving without the ball, offensive rebounding, crashing the glass, just doing other things other than just dribbling the basketball.”
“I would rather be on this team than be a leading scorer anywhere else.”
“You got a guy who had been somewhere else for four years, had two coaches, different styles, different philosophies,” coach Patrick Chambers said. “It’s something we’ve been stressing here in this non-conference about becoming a Penn State basketball player, we gotta speed up the process today. And I think [Roberts] took one very large step today.”
As for Frazier and Newbill, the two had their usual big performances. Frazier, along with etching his name in the Penn State record books, scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting with 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 turnovers. Newbill had 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. The only other Nittany Lion to score in double figures was Ross Travis, who put up 11 points for the second consecutive game.
Penn State’s next game is on Friday night, when the Nittany Lions travel to Brooklyn to take on 4-1 St. John’s in the Barclays Center Classic.