With its most balanced offensive attack of the season, Penn State earned fans Big Macs for the first time this year.
More than three Nittany Lions scored in double digits for the first time this year — four finished the game with at least 10 points — as they downed Army, 78-70, at the Bryce Jordan Center on Military Appreciation Day. By scoring over 70 points, all fans in attendance are eligible for a free Big Mac from McDonald's.
The Lions’ 50.9 shooting percentage marked their most prolific effort of the year, leading to the team’s highest point total in a regular season matchup as well.
The Black Knights fell behind by as many as 14 early in the contest, after the Lions came out on fire to shoot 56.3 percent in the first half. Travis played a major role in Penn State’s first-half success, swishing two jumpers within the team’s first five shots.
Army head coach Zach Spiker said the opposing offensive performances in the first half made it difficult for his team to keep pace with the Lions.
“We shoot 37 percent in the first half,” Spiker said. “They shoot 56. It doesn’t matter if you’re home, on the road, non-league or league…you cannot win if a team shoots 56 and you shoot 37 [percent].”
However, the Knights dominated the start of the second frame, igniting a 22-10 run to bring the game within two points with 12 minutes left in the game.
The Knights’ Ella Ellis scored nine points in the first ten minutes of the second half to power the comeback effort. However, Ellis was able to play only 22 minutes due to foul trouble, scoring an impressive 23 points in that time.
As Ellis cooled off, the Lions’ top scorers — D.J. Newbill, Jermaine Marshall, Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor, who all finished with at least 14 points — came back to life. Newbill had 14 points in the second half alone and led the Lions with 19 in the game.
Meanwhile, the Lions outrebounded the Knights 41-27. Travis led all players with 10 boards to attain his second double-double of the year.
After the game, coach Patrick Chambers said having a balanced offensive attack surprised him, considering how the first eight games have gone for his team.
“If you told me we were going to score 78 points, I’d be like, ‘You’re crazy,’ ” Chambers said.
“It’s better to have everybody spread the ball out and everybody sharing the wealth, which I think you saw today.”