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Nov. 16, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Nov. 16, 2010 - It was a stellar night for senior Jeff Brooks who hit 7-of-11 from the floor for a career-high 18 points and added a career-high tying nine boards for the second straight game to lead Penn State to a 66-57 victory over intrastate rival Saint Joseph's Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
"Jeff Brooks is playing with a little more confidence, his (stat) line is tremendous," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "He gave us 18 points and nine rebounds with some energy and some emotion. David Jackson was solid, Talor Battle was solid. It wasn't our best individual effort, but I thought team defense wise we were ok. Brooks was really good tonight."
Penn State improved to 2-0 to start a season for the sixth-straight season despite hitting 36 percent from the floor and just 1-of-21 from three. The Nittany Lions relied on defense, rebounding and the foul stripe as they held St. Joseph's to just 4-of-21 from three and 34 percent shooting overall, won the rebounding battle 45-38 and made 25-of-34 at the foul line to outscore St. Joseph's by 10 at the line.
"I thought we had open three's, it wasn't like they were contested," DeChellis said. "I tried to emphasize to this team that we have to bang and rebound the ball, and if we do that we are going to give ourselves a chance. You can't let your offense affect your defense, and I thought for the most part tonight we did a pretty good job defensively."
Talor Battle added 15 points, five rebounds and five assists on the night as he moved past Geary Claxton (2,459) into fourth place all-time at Penn State for combined totals of points, rebounds and assists with 2,471. Battle also moved past Ben Luber (418) for seventh on the all-time assists chart with 423. David Jackson chipped in 11 points and five boards for Penn State, which improved to 14-9 vs. St. Joe's having won eight of the last nine meetings.
St. Joe's was paced by 13 points from Idris Hilliard, 12 from C.J. Aiken and 11 points and nine boards from Langston Galloway.
"Both teams were kind of playing half court in the mud," DeChellis said. "I thought we made a little run in the first half and the second half was a slugfest and I thought we both played sloppy."
It was a slow start for both teams as they combined to go 5-of-24 from the floor as St. Joe's edged out to an 11-7 lead at the 11:45 timeout. Jackson came out strong for the Lions scoring five of their first seven, including a three on the first shot of the game. Penn State would miss its next 20 from the arc and just three of its first 15 from the field to start including a nearly five-minute scoreless stretch.
After a Carl Jones free throw put St. Joe's up 11-7, Andrew Jones broke the scoreless run for Penn State with a seven-foot jumper and then converted a lay-up off a nice pass from Battle to tie the game at 11.
The teams stood tied at 17 and still mired in sluggish offensive start with 4:50 to play late in the half when the Lions warmed up hitting nine of their last 16 from the floor. A Jones free throw and a Battle lay-up in transition sparked an 11-0 run that gave the Lions early control of the game.
Brooks took a nice feed from Battle and threw down a tomahawk dunk that got the crowd involved. A Battle driving jumper and another Brooks two-handed slam off a nice pass from Jackson kept the run alive. Taran Buie capped the offensive explosion with a baseline runner as the Lions claimed a 28-17 lead after a more than four-minute St. Joe's scoreless run.
A pair of C.J. Aiken free throws finally broke the drought, but Billy Oliver tipped in a missed Brooks three at the buzzer to send the Lions to the locker room up 30-19.
Penn State pushed its lead to 13 after a Brooks jumper and tip-in to start the second half but then went scoreless for nearly five minutes as St. Joe's crept back within eight on a Galloway three.
A Buie jumper and lay-up put the Lions back up 11, 39-28, with 12:07 to play and they pushed the lead back to 13, despite going three minutes without a field goal, following free throws from Jackson and Woodyard.
Penn State led by 11, 49-38, with 6:30 to play when St. Joe's mounted a 7-2 run to climb back within six, 51-45, on a Jones three with 5:01 to play. Penn State answered with a pair of Jackson free throws to push the lead back to eight and the Lions were never threatened again.
A Brooks lay-up, Battle jumper and free throw pushed Penn State's lead back to 12, 60-48, with 1:26 to play.
The teams combined to shoot 5-42 from three and hit nearly identical marks from the floor with Penn State going 20-of-55 and St. Joe's 19-of-55.
Penn State will continue a run of four-straight home games to begin the season on Friday when it takes on Metro-Atlantic favorite Fairfield in a 7:30 p.m. tip at the Jordan Center. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.
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