Brandon Taylor missed four-straight three-pointers within a four-minute span in the first half of the Ohio State game Saturday.
Yet, the message from coach Patrick Chambers on the sideline remained constant — keep shooting.
Chambers said this type of encouragement is necessary to keep the worst three-point shooting team in the Big Ten from getting gun-shy.
Penn State is shooting 24.8 percent from beyond the arc in conference play, including a woeful 18.8 percent in the last two games. However, Chambers said his attitude toward his main shooters hasn’t faltered because he knows how influential this facet of an offense can be for a team’s success.
Although Taylor finished Saturday’s game with just one made shot from beyond the arc, Chambers said that was enough to see the impact a made three can have.
“You saw it, Brandon Taylor hits a three and everybody is going crazy,” Chambers said. “Then, you saw on the defensive end, everybody’s intensity and energy [increased], and that’s what a three can do for this team.”
The Nittany Lions have yet to develop a go-to shooter to act as a consistent threat from three-point range this year.
There have been sporadic standout performances from deep, such as Nick Colella’s 5-of-7 performance against Duquesne or Taylor’s 4-of-8 outing against Bucknell.
Yet, on the whole, these positive performances have been few and far between, with no starter averaging more than 33 percent from three-point range this season.
Taylor said the need for a long-distance threat has become even more necessary now that guards D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall have proven they can successfully drive the lane.
“As a team, you always need shooters because you know we have D.J. and Jermaine who create with the ball in their hands,” Taylor said. “They need people to be able to dish it out to when teams collapse on them.”
Newbill, the shooter-turned-point guard, did well to find open shooters throughout the game against the Buckeyes, assisting three of the team’s four treys.
And although his teammates came up empty more times than not, Newbill agreed with Chambers that this doesn’t call for players to stop putting the ball up from three-point land.
“It just comes with reps,” Newbill said. “Guys just got to keep coming in, shooting extra shots. In practice, we just have to be shooting more and keep building guys’ confidence up with their shot. Eventually, shots are going to fall for us.”
The Lions next opportunity to break out of their slump will be at Iowa on Thursday night. The Hawkeyes have the best three-point defense in the conference, so it won’t be the easiest setting to do so.
Still, Chambers said he feels a breakout game is looming.
“We haven’t had that one game where we’re hitting on all cylinders [since nonconference play],” Chambers said. “We got to make that extra pass. We got to do the extra. And it’s coming…It’s coming.”