Penn State Hoops Heads Home With Win Over Duquesne
After his team’s 90-77 victory against Marshall last Saturday, head coach Patrick Chambers was mostly happy with the Lions’ performance.
He had one irking, however: He wanted to see more production from the bench.
Chambers got exactly what he was looking for on Wednesday night, as the Nittany Lions traveled to the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh to battle Duquesne. Plagued by foul trouble in the first half, multiple second-string Nittany Lions contributed off the bench en route to a 68–59 victory that brought Penn State to 8-3 with just two games remaining in the non-conference slate.
With star guards Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill sitting out in foul trouble with six minutes remaining in the first frame, summer transfer guard Allen Roberts scored Penn State’s final eight points of the half. In fact, over those six minutes, Roberts outscored Duquesne 8-7 by himself. He finished with a team-high, and season-high, 15 points.
The first twelve minutes of the game were a tight affair with neither team leading by more than six points. Newbill picked up his second foul with 10:09 remaining, and both Frazier and forward Ross Travis collected their second fouls with over five left in the first half.
Despite the fouls, a Donovon Jack three pointer with 6:55 remaining capped an 11-2 Penn State run and gave the Lions their first comfortable lead, 27-16. As Newbill and Frazier watched on, Jack and Roberts carried Penn State’s first half offense.
For the second game in a row, Jack stuffed the stat sheets, finishing with 9 points, a career-high 12 rebounds, and six blocks. Against Marshall on Saturday he recorded 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks. Before ultimately deciding on Penn State, Jack was a verbal commit to play for Duquesne. When Jack learned that the Dukes had fired then-coach Ron Everhart, he quickly switched to Penn State.
The final 6:08 of the half was dominated by Roberts, whose eight points in that period outpaced Duquesne’s seven. The Lions went into the locker room with a 35-26 halftime lead. Despite the fouls, Newbill contributed six first half points while Frazier, Jack, and Brandon Taylor each added five. Frazier quietly recorded a career-high 13 assists along with 11 points in the game.
Penn State stormed out of the gates to start the second half with an 8-2 run, highlighted by two consecutive Newbill baskets, which pushed the Lions’ lead to 15. However, five quick points by Duquesne’s Dominique McKoy and two Penn State giveaways cut the deficit to 47-36. McKoy finished with 12 for the Dukes.
With Penn State on its heels, the game’s deciding sequence came with 12:27 remaining. Freshman guard Geno Thorpe forced a steal from a Duquesne guard. Tim Frazier collected the loose ball and flipped it up court to Thorpe who laid in an easy bucket. The score quelled Duquesne’s momentum.
The Dukes never really threatened again, save for a brief stretch with under eight minutes remaining that found the Lions only ahead by six. A quick 8-0 run by Penn State put to rest any thought of a comeback though, as the Nittany Lions ultimately pushed their lead to 19 with two to go. A few late buckets by Duquesne made the final 68-59.
Penn State will return to action this Saturday in a highly anticipated matchup against Princeton at Rec Hall, the Lions’ former home arena. Princeton enters Saturday 7-1, with wins over George Mason, Bucknell, and Rutgers. Penn State lost to Bucknell by ten at home earlier this season.