About 30 minutes removed from their upset win over No. 4 Michigan, Penn State players Jermaine Marshall, D.J. Newbill and Ross Travis strolled into the media room for a routine post game press conference.
Marshall and Newbill garnered most of the attention, as they were asked upward of eight questions each.
The duo combined for 42 points Wednesday night, including nine of the team’s final 13 points, and outscored one of the nation’s best backcourts in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Travis, on the other hand, was predominantly silent, as he was asked just two questions.
That being said, the sophomore forward’s performance was anything but quiet as he helped pace the Lions through the team’s first win against a top-five opponent in 13 years.
Travis contributed a reliable, do-it-all presence for Penn State throughout the game, scoring 15 points, hauling in 12 rebounds and forcing four steals.
“He's playing great basketball, isn't he?” coach Patrick Chambers said. “He's really doing a lot of great things and he's hitting [shots] from his sweet spot, jumpers and floaters.”
As Chambers noted, Travis went to his signature one-handed floater in the lane quite a bit, but also spotted up and showed his capability to nail mid-range jumpers.
Prior to the season, Travis said he went into Chambers’ office and expressed his desire to become a double-double threat on a nightly basis.
Averaging 6.8 points and 7.2 boards per game, the 6-foot-6 forward isn’t quite there for the season, but proved that kind of potential in the upset win.
While double-doubles appear in a box score, the defensive clinic Travis put on shouldn’t be overlooked.
Tasked with sticking to Burke — a Naismith Player of the Year candidate who scored 29 points against Penn State on Feb. 17 — on the perimeter should have been a challenge to someone six inches taller.
While height would be advantageous for Travis if Burke were backing him down, that’s not the 6-foot guard’s game. The former Penn State commit tries to blow by defenders en route to the rim.
And even though Burke still finished with 18 points, his impact was severely restricted in the first half (five points on four shot attempts), which helped keep the Lions close early.
“Coach [Chambers] just told me to face-guard Trey Burke and make sure he doesn't touch the ball,” Travis said. “…Coach put me in that position so I just played hard and made sure I got the job done.”
However, it looked as if Travis’ memorable night could end early with three minutes remaining in the game.
Driving hard to the left side of the basket, Travis was fouled hard and landed awkwardly on the baseline.
Holding his right calf, Travis was tended to and eventually escorted to the bench by trainers while fellow forward Sasa Borovnjak filled in to take his free throws.
But just one minute later, Travis overcame a cramp and was back out on the floor.
“It's fine, it's fine,” Travis said. “Just a little cramping, but I'll get back at it tomorrow.”