Jackson's Career Day Helps Nittany Lions Fend Off Sacred Heart, 87-75

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D.J. Jackson

D.J. Jackson

Nov. 25, 2009

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., Nov. 25, 2009 - The Nittany Lion basketball team (4-2) will go to Thanksgiving dinner feeling much better about its offense after shooting a blistering 63.8 percent from the floor to stave of a plucky Sacred Heart (2-3) team, 87-75, Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Nittany Lions were led by junior David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) who posted career highs of 26 points and four assists while shooting 8-of-10 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the foul line. Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) led the Lions in rebounding for the 16th time on the 6-0, guards career tallying eight on the night and added 19 points and five assists on 6-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line. Freshman Bill Edwards (Middletown, Ohio) added 10 points.

Penn State shot better than 80 percent from the foul line for the fourth-straight game hitting 21-of-25 attempts (84%) and the Lions garnered a season-high 21 assists and 87 points. Penn State's 63.8 percent shooting was its best since hitting 64.0 percent vs. Northwestern on Jan. 3, 2007, while the Lions' 87 points were their most since putting up 89 vs. Hartford in November of 2008.

"I think we were able to get a couple easy ones in, got a little momentum and it carried over to everybody from the guys on the court to the guys on the bench," Jackson said. "A lot of guys were able to come in and make shots for us."

Corey Hassan led the Pioneers with 24 points on 5-of-10 from three and Chauncey Hardy added 21 on 4-of-6 from three. The Pioneers hit 10-of-18 threes in the second half to mount a charge and shot 11-of-23 overall from the arc and 50.8 percent from the floor on the night. SHU also won the rebounding battle, 26-21, holding the Lions without an offensive board in the first half and just two in the game. Penn State did tie season-high with nine steals and forced 17 Pioneer turnovers.

"I was glad we made some baskets and guys got in a rhythm, but defensively we were very, very poor," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We let them do what they do. I guess that was the most disappointing thing for me. We talked for three days about guarding them and getting into them, but we didn't really do that well. Their three guys that score, scored."

Penn State, which struggled through 34 percent shooting in three games at the Charleston Classic over the weekend, found its rhythm early against the Pioneers. After both teams combined to go 0-8 from the floor in the opening minutes, Andrew Jones broke the ice throwing home a two-handed dunk off a great pass from Jeff Brooks. The nets suddenly started moving and the teams combined to hit 10 of their next 12 shots as Penn State held a slim 11-10 lead following a Battle three.

The teams traded baskets until a three-pointer from Hassan gave the Pioneers a 19-16 lead. Penn State responded by reeling off eight straight points and a 15-2 run overall to open up a 10-point margin, 31-21. Chris Babb got a pair of threes in the run and Cammeron Woodyard posted five points hitting a wing three and going coast-to-coast for a lay-up.

Penn State went to Jackson in the post late in the half as he converted a pair of nice moves on the block. Jackson was fouled on a three-point attempt with a second to play in the half and converted 2-of-3 at the stripe for a 36-26 halftime lead behind Jackson's 12 first half points.

"I didn't think he (Jackson) got enough shots in Charleston," DeChellis said. "He only averaged like five shots a game, which is horrendous. He needs to get at least 10-12 shots a game. We tried to make a conscious effort to get him the ball. They had a guy guarding DJ in the post and we thought we had a pretty good advantage there. I thought he played well. He made his free throws. I'm very, very glad for him. He's a very important guy on both ends of the floor."

The Lions extended that margin to 14 early in the second half after an Andrew Jones jumper, but SHU it back-to-back threes and ran off seven straight points to jump back in the game down 44-37 with 15:13 to play.

Edwards reeled off seven points in the span of three minutes, including a nice baseline three, and the Lions again held a double-digit lead, 54-43, with 11:57 to play.

The Pioneers came out of the media timeout and got a three from Hardy and a deep two-pointer from Litke to saw the lead to six. Battle answered with a three-point play on a slashing lay-up, but SHU Litke got a lay-up and a three for SHU and the lead was back to five.

A lay-up from Tim Frazier on an assist from Chris Babb rebuilt the lead to nine, 62-53, but the Pioneers reeled off eight straight behind threes from Hassan and Litke to slice the lead to one, 62-61, with 7:00 to play.

Penn State rebuilt its lead to five following a Frazier lay-up after a nice kick-ahead from Battle. The freshman was fouled and had a chance for a three-point play, but was whistled for a technical foul following the play. Frazier made his free throw and Hassan made one of two to give the Lions a 67-62 edge. A Woodyard jumper built it to seven.

SHU again got within five on a Hardy jumper. Jackson scored eight of the Lions next 10 points hitting 4-of-4 at the foul line and a pair of buckets in the paint, the last rebuilding the Lions lead to a comfortable 10 points, 79-69, with 1:42 to play. SHU never seriously threatened again as Penn State pushed its margin to 15 on a Battle lay-up before a final second Hassan three made the final margin 12.

Penn State will get its first day of in 16 days Thursday as the Lions celebrate Thanksgiving. Penn State will return to the hardwood Friday in preparation for a Monday night Big Ten/ACC showdown with Virginia on ESPN2. That game will tip at 7:00 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va. Penn State has won its last two Big Ten/ACC Challenge games, but is 3-5 overall in the Challenge and trails Virginia 5-2 in the all-time series with the Cavaliers taking the last four meetings.

 

 

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