Box Score (PDF)
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -When the finishing touches had been put on Penn's 70-55 men's basketball loss at Penn State Friday night, it was stunning to realize the marginhad been greater than last year's game between these two (PSU won that one, 85-73, after leading by 25 at the half).
This game -- the season opener for both squads -- had a much more positive vibe if you're a Quaker fan.
In fact, if not for elite guard Talor Battle, this game might have been won by the Quakers. However, the Penn State junior showed why he is considered one of the top guards in the nation as he drained 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished off four assists. Whenever a big play needed to be made, he made it.
That said, Penn was still only down by six points (54-48) with less than seven minutes to play when Rob Belcore tipped a PSU pass to Zack Rosenthatled a 3-on-2 break down the floor. The effort yielded a three-point attempt thatBelcore missed, however, and Battle's missed layup at the other end was tipped in by PSU's Andrew Ott. Rosen responded with one of two free throws, but Battle slashed his way to the right block for a circus layup. After a foul shot by Jeff Brooks made it a 10-point Nittany Lion lead (59-49), Battlehitanother layup with 4:29 left.
Penn never got within single digits again.
If Penn was intimidated by the large (and mostly empty) arena, and the pregame ceremony to honor Penn State's NIT championship squad from last year, it did not show. Certainly Tyler Bernardini came out fired up; he scored Penn's first 10 points of the season, personally outscoring the Lions 10-8 over the opening six minutes.
Cammeron Woodyard and Brooks hit consecutive treys to put PSU up, 16-12, and then a pair of Battle threes gave the Lions a 24-17 advantage and forced Penn coach Glen Miller to call timeout. Out of the break, Jack Eggleston and then Rosen hit threes, and then Mike Howlett knocked home a layup to put the Quakers up, 25-24, with 6:3 left in the half.
PSU ratcheted up the defense the rest of the half, however, and used a 12-4 run to take a 36-29 lead into the break. At that point, Battle already had 17 points.
Penn was as close as three points in the second half (41-38) when Belcore drained a three-pointer with 15:19 left, but Andrew Jones hit a jumper and Battle knocked down a layup that pushed PSU's lead back to seven.
Eggleston led the way in scoring for Penn, wtith 13 points, while Bernardini got a lot of attention after his opening spurt and finished with 12. Rosen scored eight points, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, and dished off a game-high six assists.
In addition to Battle, Penn State got 10 points from Brooks.
Penn returns to action Monday night, heading to the Main Line and a meeting with No. 5/6 Villanova. The Quakers and Wildcats will tip off the 2009-10 Philadelphia Big 5 campaign with a 7 p.m. start.
Seniors Darren Smith and Andreas Schreiber, both of whom missed last year due to injury, started Friday night ... For Smith, it was his first game action since the 2007-08 season opener against Drexel, when he fractured his kneecap ... Smith played a career-high31 minutes and had three points, three rebounds, and three assists ... Sophomore Mike Howlett had four points and a career-high five rebounds in 16 minutes ... Junior Conor Turley played a career-high 22 minutes and finished one point shy of a career best with eight ... Sophomore Zack Rosen's seven rebounds were one shy of a career high ... Junior Jack Eggleston shot 5-of-6 from the field and hit his only three-point attempt of the night.
Download: Penn01 (@PSU).pdf