Strong Defense Lead Lions to Win
Nov. 14, 2011
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The Lions came out aggressive with a trapping defensive style early and looking to push the pace on offense to get the game going.
"If felt great to go out there and play against somebody else," said freshman Trey Lewis, who led the Lions with 17 points in his debut. "We've been going so hard against each other."
The team was able to use that energy and an aggressive defense to force the Hawks into 26 turnovers, including getting 15 steals. The 15 steals were the most for a Penn State team since 2001.
"Talking and communicating on defense has to be our staple," said Cammeron Woodyard on how the team was able to be so effective defensively. "If we don't get steals we've got to lock down for 35 seconds."
"The team is starting to communicate more, we're playing harder," said head coach Pat Chambers on improvements he has seen from the start of the season.
On the offensive end the Lions were able to move the ball effectively to get a balanced attack.
Tim Frazier added 16 points and Woodyard added 14 points to go along with the 17 from Lewis to help lead the Lions in the scoring department.
Lewis was able to come in as a freshman and really give the team a spark offensively, especially with some players in foul trouble early on.
"He gives us another option, a guy that can make some shots and make some plays for others," Chambers said. "He's a tough kid."
Lewis wasn't the only player out there who carried a "swagger" as Chambers mentioned, as the whole team looked to stay confident on the court no matter the score.
"We all have to have great confidence," said Woodyard. "If you're not confident you're not a great player."
"We need confidence in everything we do," Chambers added.
Despite foul trouble early, Frazier was able to help lead a Penn State offense to 70 points, and get to the line to get his rhythm going, going 8-9 from the stripe.
"I'm telling him (Frazier) to make plays," Chambers said on his point guard. "He's got to look to score and when you do look to score opportunity presents itself. "
The team was able to use that confidence and play together, despite struggling in the first half, shooting only 28 percent in the first 20 minutes.
"We played together even when the shots weren't falling," Lewis said. "We stuck together no matter what."
"Guys are still starting to understand where they get the ball, when they get the ball, "Chambers said. "Repetition will help."
That sticking together helped as the game wore on, with the team improving to 44 percent shooting in the second half.
Chambers mentioned the team continuing to work hard every day being key as they move forward with four games in the next week.
Despite the heavy early schedule including a game against a top five ranked Kentucky team next Saturday the team and coaches are looking one game at a time.
"I'm thinking about tomorrow, I'm thinking about getting better," Chambers said. Adding the team was going to keep being pushed hard in practice despite the early schedule.
"If you play hard for 40 minutes the score will take care of itself," he added. "That's the mindset we need to have."