Despite early shooting woes, the Penn State men’s basketball team created fastbreak opportunities from turnovers and defeated Philadelphia University, 79-54, in an exhibition game on Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Nittany Lions’ man-to-man defense frustrated the Rams' guards toward the end of the first half, allowing the team to get in a rhythm on offense.
“It really starts on the defensive end,” senior guard Tim Frazier said. “Our runs started off when we got great deflections, great steals, great fastbreaks, and that led to our shots starting to fall.”
However, the majority of the first half wasn’t easy at all for the Lions against a scrappy, Division II Rams squad.
In fact, the first 17 minutes out of the 20-minute period belonged to Philly U.
With a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half, Rams legendary coach Herb Magee, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, had his team leading, 28-25.
“I’m sure they thought that they’d come out and it’s Philly U, it’s Division II,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. “Well, I tried to warn them. I tried to tell them we didn’t need a situation where we’re one of those teams to get upset.”
Despite this, Penn State began to make plays defensively, which led to scoring from Frazier and guard Jermaine Marshall among others and culminated in a 15-0 run to cap the first half.
At the end of the half, Penn State went into the locker room up 40-28 and never looked back.
Statistically, Frazier put together a Tim Frazier-like performance, tallying 17 points, eight assists, and five rebounds.
Transfer guard D.J. Newbill made his first in-game appearance for the Lions after redshirting last season due to NCAA rules.
The guard from Philadelphia put up 15 points, grabbed two steals, and nailed two three-pointers.
Big man Jon Graham also turned in a solid performance with 16 points and seven rebounds in just 19 minutes of work.
The Lions have the week to digest Saturday’s exhibition before officially starting their season on Friday night against St. Francis (Pa.) in the BJC.