Penn State's men's basketball team got back on the winning track today as it beat Marshall, 90-77, at the Bryce Jordon Center. The win snapped a two-game losing streak on Military Appreciation Day.
Patrick Chambers said he had a feeling sophomore forward Donovon Jack was due for a good game. He just didn't know it was going to be close to triple-double good as Jack ended the game with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks.
Chambers called Jack's seven blocks incredible, especially against an athletic team like Marshall.
"He had good practices, preparation, walk through and a clear head," Chambers said. "Jack also knows I have great confidence in him."
Jack said he honestly didn't know he had seven blocks, "I was just doing what coach said to do and to help his teammates out."
The Nittany Lions (7-3) opened the game with an 11-3 run through the efforts of guards Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill in front of a crowd of 5,633. The first four buckets were scored by the duo.
Marshall (4-5) head coach Tom Herrion called the two guards dynamic. But it was more than just Frazier and Newbill who hurt the Herd.
Frazier ended the night with 11 points, nine assists and four steals while Newbill finished with 17 points, two assists and seven rebounds.
"They have really good pieces and Pat does a good job playing to the pieces strengths," Herrion said.
Ross Travis led the Nittany Lions in scoring with a career-high 20 points, finishing the night 9-for-11 from the free throw line and had at least two dunks.
"Dunks really get the energy flowing and the team going," Travis said. "It was really important getting inside buckets because it opens up outside shots for those who shoots three well."
As a team, the Nittany Lions went only 7-of-24 from outside range, but had two big 3-pointers from Newbill and one from Frazier.
Herrion said his team ran into a buzz saw today and Travis really hurt them early on in the game.
"Defensively we were really poor," he said. "We took quick shots and bad offense lead to bad transition defense."
The biggest improvement the Nittany Lions made during the second half was rebounding.
In the first half, the Herd had 12 offensive rebounds. In the second, Marshall only had three.
On the flip side, the shining part of the game for the Nittany Lions was their free throw percentage. The team was 81 percent from the line, going 17-of-21.
"It is lots of practice, practice and talking about routine," Chambers said. "The routine might not work all the time, but it is working for now."
Marshall was lead by red-shirt freshman Kareem Canty who had 28 points on the night. He was 5-8 from behind the arc and 3-5 from the free throw line.
This was the sixth time the two teams have met, with Penn State winning all six match-ups. The Nittany Lions return to action next Saturday as they face Princeton in the Return to Rec Hall at 2 p.m.