|Follow PSU Men's Basketball:||Follow @PennStateMBB|
Nov. 6, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Nov. 6, 2009 - Despite a seven-month layoff since winning the 2009 NIT title, Penn State shot out of the gate like it had just left the Madison Square Garden floor on Friday jumping to a 19-0 lead before cruising home with an 82-51 victory over Slippery Rock in the Nittany Lions first and only exhibition game of the season.
The up-tempo play delighted an enthusiastic crowd of 7,623 that turned out to see the 2009-10 edition of the Nittany Lions. Naismith and Wooden Award candidate Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) led the way posting 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in the first eight minutes as slashed to the basket with ease and got his teammates involved. Battle ended the night with a double-double posting a team-high 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes of action despite a stomach virus that caused him to leave the floor late in the first half.
"No offense to Slippery Rock, but we wanted to come out and really take them right out of the game from the get go," Battle said. "We joked around that we wanted to be able to rest the last 10 minutes of the game and, fortunately enough, we were able to do that because we took care of business and kind of put the game out of reach right from the get go."
Chris Babb (Arlington, Texas) added 12 points and 9 boards and freshman Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia) tossed in 10 points for the Lions who cruised to the win despite shooting just 5-of-24 (20.8%) from three. Penn State shot 43.1 percent (31-72) from the field, dished out 20 assists and had a 60-37 advantage on the boards. Twelve Nittany Lions scored on the night, including four freshmen.
"We didn't shoot the ball well tonight at all," DeChellis said. "We couldn't make a three. We have to get better at the line and making some threes and just get better at the free throw line. We are going to make perimeter shots. Chris Babb is a good shooter, Talor [Battle] is a good shooter, Cammeron [Woodyard] is usually a pretty good shooter. Those three guys will make shots for us and that will open some other things up. But, I liked the way we passed the ball and shared the ball."
Michael Evans Jr. led led slippery Rock with 20 points. The Rock, which played Big East power Pittsburgh close on Sunday before falling 75-64, was held to just 21.9 percent (16-73) shooting from the floor and 10-of-39 (25.6%) from three.
"We wanted to play everybody some quality minutes and we were able to do that so I think that's important," DeChellis said. "Our young guys did okay. I think they knocked the rust off. I think they got the jitters out. Billy Oliver, Sasa [Borovnjak], Tim Frazier, Jermaine Marshall, they haven't played in this yet, so it was important just to get out there."
Brooks started the game off for the Lions with a jumper from the right baseline and Jackson got a lay-up, both assists from a cutting Battle. Battle drove in for a lay-up to give Penn State a 6-0 lead at the 18-minute mark. Babb scored an easy fast break layup after a steal at the 16:48 mark to bring the lead to 12-0 going into the first timeout.
Brooks took a pass through the lane and scored with a powerful tomahawk slam bringing a roar from the crowd and extending Penn State's lead to 14-0. Battle hit an and-one floater followed by a fast break dunk to give the Lions a 19-0 lead at the 14:44 mark in the first half.
Slippery Rock scored their first bucket of the game with a put back lay-up from Cecil Brown at the 13:49 mark. At the 10-minute mark Tim Frazier stepped on the floor for the first time at point guard along side Battle who shifted to the two-guard. Borovnjak made his first appearance with 6:54 in the first half.
Babb hit consecutive threes from the left wing to give the Lions a 22-point lead, 33-11, at the 5:24 mark. Adam Highberger hit a three of his own to further extend Penn State's lead, 40-16. Borovnjak scored his first bucket and hit the and-one to give the Lions a 43-18 lead with 1:28 left in the first half as the Lions had four freshmen on the floor.
The first half concluded with Penn State holding a 46-23 lead. Battle led all scorers in the half with 12 points and six rebounds. Babb added 10 points and four rebounds.
Babb hit a tough floater in the paint, giving the Lions a 48-23 lead to open the second half. Battle hit Jackson for an easy lay-up to extend the lead to 52-26.
Evans hit his 17th point of the game for the Rock with a three to cut the deficit to 57-38 at the 11:56 mark. Maurice Douglas added to the 8-0 Rock run with a lay-up cutting the Lions lead to 17, 57-40 with 10 minutes left. However, a 9-0 run by Penn State with baskets from Battle and a three by Cammeron Woodyard gave Penn State a 66-40 lead at the 8:25 mark. The Lions would cruise on from there leading by as many as 35.
The Nittany Lions will officially open the season next Friday, Nov. 13 when they take on Ivy League power Penn in a 7:30 p.m. tip in the Bryce Jordan Center. That game will be played the night before the Nittany Lion football team takes on Indiana in Beaver Stadium.