Veteran Battle Steps Up When Lions Need a Boost
Dec. 6, 2010
By Tony Mancuso
It's a fiber that most players do not have. It's a fiber that you can't really coach. It's something that Coach DeChellis has talked about in the past, but it's not something you can really explain.
Battle has an ability to take his game to another level when the Nittany Lions need him to. Saturday night's performance from No. 12 was a prime example of that.
Coming off a cold shooting night in a home setback to Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Nittany Lions needed the veteran to spark the squad in a non-conference matchup against a talented Duquesne team.
It was clear from pregame warmups that Battle was going to play with a purpose. He moved through the layup line with an extra bounce in his step. While most of the players trotted back to the end of the line, Battle moved at a swift pace on his way to touching the mid-court line after every shot and rebound. He just had a look on his face that he was not going to be denied.
"Well he was out there 45 minutes before shooting practice today," Coach DeChellis said after the game. "He was one of the seniors who showed up early and was out there and was focused. We needed a big game out of somebody when DJ (Jackson) went down ad Billy (Oliver) went down and he's a senior and stepped up and made some big shots. He made some big plays."
Battle scored his first field goal at the 14:15 mark of the first half. From there, the Albany, N.Y., native went on to pour in 31 points in a span of 34:15. Coach DeChellis has said in the past that Battle is a much better scorer than he is a shooter.
But he combined both on Saturday afternoon. Battle tallied a sizzling 12-of-18 shooting performance from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the 3-point arc in his 31-point effort. He also added eight rebounds and four assists to complement the fifth 30-point game of his career.
"I was just playing with the flow of the game," Battle said. "Jeff (Brooks) was making some moves the whole game where we knew eventually he was going to start making them and he did. Whenever they found that I was just hitting shots - it was one of those days where I was really feeling good and confident shooting the basketball."
Battle is at his best when he scores in the flow of the game, as he mentioned. He makes things look effortless when he lets the game come to him.
As the squad prepares for Mount St. Mary's (3-5), it will likely be without D.J. Jackson and Billy Oliver. Neither player is expected to play on Tuesday night. Nonetheless, Battle and fellow senior Jeff Brooks will again step up on the offensive end of the floor. Both players understand the significance of their role as seniors in the lineup. Just look at the numbers.
The Nittany Lions (6-2) will clash with Mount Saint Mary's (3-5) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. inside the Bryce Jordan Center.