The Penn State men's basketball team learned some painful lessons in its first road game this past Wednesday against LaSalle.
After an 82-57 blowout loss on the road, the Nittany Lions (4-4) are back home with a clean slate this weekend and looking to redeem themselves against Army (4-3) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Lions have faired well at home with a 3-1 record in the Bryce Jordan Center this season.
"Feels good to be back," sophomore Ross Travis said. "We're just going to come back, practice and work on the things we need to work on. Hopefully Saturday will be a lot better and more exciting."
The Explorers buried the Lions behind some hot shooting, hitting 16 three-pointers on 51.6 percent. Junior Tyreek Duren, La Salle's leading scorer averaging 18.5 points per game, got off for the Explorers with a career-high 29 points on 9-13 shooting.
Penn State will have to be prepared to contain another dangerous scorer in Army's Ella Ellis. The senior averages 19.2 points per game for the Black Knights, his most notable performance coming in a double overtime loss to Yale in which he put in 37 points.
"We're just going to play hard, play together and play Penn State basketball," Travis said. "If we play together as a team we should do alright."
Before Duren's explosion on Wednesday, the Lions had been defending well under their brand of "Penn State basketball." They have held each opponent below 60 in their three home wins this season.
Despite the lop-sided loss, the Lions showed some bright spots. The Penn State offense, which has struggled all season long to get going early, seemed to click against La Salle as the team shot 61.9 percent in the first half.
"For the first time we actually made shots to start the game, I think it threw us off," coach Pat Chambers joked. "We're used to being down 10-2 and grinding and playing defense. But [D.J. Newbill] and Jermaine Marshall are playing hard doing the best they can."
Newbill and Marshall have shared the scoring load in the absence of Tim Frazier. They lead the team with 15 and 14.4 points per game respectively.
Travis was a big part of the offensive production with a number of early buckets, he ended the game with 12 points against La Salle.
With their lack of depth the Lions will need contributions like this from Ross and other front-court players Sasa Borovnjak, Jon Graham and Brandon Taylor, to ease the pressure put on Newbill and Marshall.
"Ross is very capable, I see it in practice every day, this was the first time he did it in a game and he did a good job," Chambers said. "Sasa is up and down we need a more consistent Sasa. But we need to defend and rebound we need to play harder."