Coach Ed DeChellis said his team played like the ball was about to explode in their hands.
In the Penn State men’s basketball team’s 66-52 exhibition win over East Stroudsburg Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center, DeChellis said the Nittany Lions were playing at “superspeed.” Everyone who got the ball wanted to get rid of it or shoot it.
And the coach wasn’t happy about it.
“It was just like gear down, slow down,” DeChellis said. “We didn’t run any of our offense. We were just running around.”
Sunday’s game was Penn State’s final tune-up before its regular season kicks off this Friday when it hosts Lehigh at the BJC.
But according to DeChellis, the exhibition wasn’t much of a tune-up at all — at least offensively speaking.
“We were not very smooth,” DeChellis said. “I tried to play everybody the first half. I think we did. I think that was part of it, but we just didn’t make any shots.”
Penn State trailed the Division II Warriors at halftime, 26-25. Talor Battle tallied 12 points in the first half, accounting for nearly 50 percent of Penn State’s scoring. No other Lion scored more than four points and, as a team, Penn State shot just 30 percent from the floor.
The Lions picked things up in the second half, out-scoring East Stroudsburg 41-26.
Battle scored just four more points as the rest of his teammates picked up the scoring slack.
Sophomore Tim Frazier finished the night with 10 points, two steals and a game-high six assists while redshirt freshman Billy Oliver scored 10 points off the bench.
Oliver attributed the sluggish first half to the team experimenting with different combinations of players, and also some season-opening jitters.
Frazier — the only new face in the Lions’ 2010-11 starting lineup — agreed.
“It was the first time we get to play against somebody else, in front of fans,” Frazier said. “So that’s why it takes a slow start, but we lead on from the second half and bring that in to the next game against Lehigh.”
BATTLE-ING AN INJURY
Talor Battle appeared to have a slight gimp in his step throughout the game, and DeChellis revealed in his post-game press conference that Battle has been suffering from a minor pelvic injury. DeChellis said Battle will be fine, and the team has a day off tomorrow.
COMING OFF THE BENCH:
DeChellis got the entire roster involved early, playing all 12 guys in the first half. Freshmen guard Taran Buie and forward Billy Oliver were the first to come off the bench following the first media timeout. It looks as if those two will see the most time off the bench with Tre Bowman, Jonathan Graham and Cammeron Woodyard all picking up the rest of the minutes.
The bench didn’t accomplish much in the first half, scoring just three points on 1-of-13 shooting, but picked it up to score 19 in the second half. DeChellis tested his bench at the end of the game as Tim Frazier was the only starter on the court coming out of the final media timeout.
FREE THROW TROUBLES RETURN
The Lions were unable to do much offensively in the first half, but even when given an opportunity for easy points, the Lions were unable to take advantage. The Lions shot just five of 13 (38 percent) from the free throw line in the first half and finished 11 of 19 (58 percent). “Horrendous first half,” DeChellis said, cutting off a reporter who asked about the free throw issues. “We were about 70 percent in practice the last two weeks. … We left a lot of points on the free throw line again.”
TURNOVERS HAUNT PENN STATE
The first half was filled with a litany of turnovers for both teams. East Stroudsburg and Penn State both committed 10 turnovers in the half, and the Nittany Lions finished with 16. “We’ve been plagued in practice with turnovers,” DeChellis said. “We’re not taking care of the ball and it plagued us again in the first half.”
D.J. JACKSON LIMPS OFF
Following a bit of a scramble for a rebound on the defensive end, the Lions’ D.J. Jackson hurt his leg with 14:31 left in the game and was unable to make it back down the court. Jackson began limping toward the Lions bench when two teammates helped him over. It’s unclear how Jackson got hurt or what he hurt exactly, but he was seen riding the training bicycle and was on the bench for the remainder of the second half. DeChellis didn’t have an update on Jackson.