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Dec. 2, 2012
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions improved to 4-1 at home and 4-3 overall on Saturday afternoon with a 58-47 win over Penn.
Coming off a setback to Boston College on Wednesday night, the blue and white regrouped and played what head coach Patrick Chambers called smart and gritty Penn State basketball.
In the first half, the Lions held Penn to just 22 total points and did not allow a single second-chance basket. Penn State worked hard down low and out-rebounded the Quakers 18-9, 11 of which were defensive boards, in the first 20 minutes.
While Chambers said that the Lions were focusing on generating more scoring opportunities on opening drives during practice this week, he was pleasantly surprised with the outcome against Penn.
"For us to have a lead in the first half is huge," said Chambers. "For us to score 31 points - I felt like they played with some confidence."
Penn State had one of its best shooting halves this season in the opening period of its game on Saturday, hitting 8-of-17 for a 41.7 percent shooting clip. Freshman guard Brandon Taylor was nearly flawless when the ball was in his hands, hitting 5-of-7 from the floor including three beyond the arc in the first half.
Chambers played Taylor for a total of 31 minutes, which is nine minutes more than he has played in any game this season. But the head coach said that his rookie understands that for the Nittany Lions, he is anything but.
"He knows what his role is," said Chambers. "He needs to be an impact player for us. Unfortunately, he doesn't have time to be a freshman."
Newbill said that he and Marshall have become a one-two punch on the floor, and feel more confident in their scoring opportunities when they work side by side.
"I'm not a pure point guard and neither is Jermaine but when we kind of tag-team and work together we generate some offense," said Newbill. "It helps out a lot."
Chambers said that while he has not yet officially announced it, he plans on naming Marshall as a third captain for the season. The redshirt junior's hustle, drive and hard work in practice have made him a leader in his coach's mind.
"With Tim [Frazier] being out I have D.J., Jermaine and Nick [Colella] and their embracing the role. They want to be leaders. Jermaine has been wanting to be a captain and with me you always have to earn it. He's earning it."
The head coach said that his Nittany Lion team is, in fact, still a work in progress. But as his athletes go through a few season-opening growing pains and learn one another's tendencies on the court, he said that he is encouraged by their tenacity and positive attitudes.
"I use the term `persistent intensity'," said Chambers. "That means every day. You can't have one day off."
"Leadership never takes a day off."