UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Basketball season opened in Happy Valley on Saturday afternoon with exhibition contests for both the Lady Lion basketball team and the Nittany Lion basketball squad in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The women's squad kicked things off with a 101-81 victory over intra-state foe Bloomsburg. Head coach Patrick Chambers and the men's team then opened the Chambers Era of Nittany Lion hoops with a 64-47 win against Slippery Rock.
Game I: Penn State 101, Bloomsburg 81
The 12th-ranked Lady Lion basketball team used its offensive firepower
to cruise past Bloomsburg by a count of 101-81.
While Coquese Washington was pleased to see her team on top, the head
coach of the Lady Lions stressed execution on both ends of the floor during the
postgame press conference. Beginning on
offense, sophomore guard Maggie Lucas was the story. The guard tallied 35 points on 10-of-15
shooting from the floor and a blistering 7-for-8 effort from beyond the arc. Lucas worked hard over the summer to become a
better all around play, and it showed on Saturday. Lucas was very aggressive on both ends of the
Defense was the theme of the postgame comments. It was a positive to top the century mark, but the Lions will need to play much better defensively moving forward. Lucas said after the game that the team needs to communicate better on the perimeter and play more disciplined defensively. Give Bloomsburg credit for knocking down 54 percent (13-24) from beyond the 3-point arc. However, Penn State knows that it needs to play better defense moving forward.
Center Nikki Greene turned in a strong performance with 12 points and seven rebounds. Alex Bentley scored 16 and Mia Nickson tallied 14. Bentley filled the stat sheet with nine assists and seven steals, as well. Penn State opens its season on Friday at 6 p.m. against Washington State.
Game II: Penn State 64, Slippery Rock 47The Nittany Lions used 19 points from Tim Frazier to register a 17-point victory over intra-state foe Slippery Rock in their first game under Coach Chambers. Penn State played with very good intensity and hustle in the contest, but the Rock kept things close until mid-way through the second half. Slippery Rock nailed a 3-pointer to trim the Penn State lead down to 43-39 at the 11:01 mark, but Penn State's defense took over from there.
The Lions rattled off a 19-2 run over the next 8:28. Penn State stretched its defense into a
three-quarters court press in the second half, and it was very active around
the basket. Coach Chambers cited the
number of times Penn State hit the floor searching for loose balls during the
postgame press conference as an indicator of how hard the team plays. The Nittany Lions had five dives during the
first half and 13 during the second half.
He said that the five dives showed at halftime that the Lions were not
playing hard enough. Coach Chambers
wants the guys to play so hard that they have to put a fist up to come out of
the game. Penn State showed that in the
latter stages of the second half.
Redshirt junior Billy Oliver played very well for the Nittany Lions, scoring 16 points on 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. Freshman Trey Lewis also finished in double digits with 10. Frazier added seven assists and six rebounds to his stat line. The junior point guard said the Lions want to build the foundation for the Lions with defense and rebounding.
Coach Chambers and the Nittany Lions are focused on playing hard and hustle plays. Penn State opens with Hartford on Saturday (Time TBD) before hosting Radford on the following Monday (Nov. 14) and Long Island on Wednesday (Nov. 16).
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