After an active offseason Penn State basketball was finally in full swing this weekend with an exhibition matchup against East Stroudsburg. These games are really just a glorified practice, the pace doesn’t match that of a real game, and both teams spend a lot of time playing with their lineups to an extent that is almost laughable. That being said there is still a lot to sort through in Penn State’s 66-52 victory. It wasn’t always pretty, but there were plenty of positives to take away from Penn State’s first live action in the 2010-11 season.
Maybe the one thing that stood out the most was Penn State’s defensive effort. It isn’t so much that East Stroudsburg is a loaded team, but that it could have been easy for Penn State, who was using many mixed lineups to find themselves out of position from time to time. For the most part the personnel on the court never changed their how well they played. East Stroudsburg was held to 9-30 from the field in an admittedly ugly first half, but Penn State’s ability to block shots and create turnovers was a very welcome sight.
- 5 blocks
- 10 steals
- 40 rebounds
The first half was pretty ugly for Penn State who shot 9-30 from the floor (yes the same as ESU) and saw little production from any other player than Battle. Taran Buie looked frantic in the first half, and considering the amount of cheers he received when he got off of the bench, it’s much more likely that he was dealing with nerves. I don’t really blame him, so his shaky first half numbers ought to be written off in light of his much more productive 2nd half.
The second 20 minutes Penn State played considerably stronger, shooting 61% from the floor and controlling the tempo of the game. Battle, who only played 25 minutes, scored a team high 16 points and looked like the player we’ve come to expect out of him. While he and Buie were both in the game their chemistry was obvious even more so as Talor cheered for Taran during his brother’s 9 point, 7 rebound, 3 steal performance (20 mins of playing time) There is no doubt that Taran is a talented player, it’s only a matter of time before he’s putting up the numbers we’re expecting.
- 13 assists
- 36% from 3 point range
- 10 offensive boards
- 11-19 from the line
In a lot of ways it’s hard to really gauge the offense, Penn State played many lineups you’ll never see in the regular season which led to a lot of periods of some ugly basketball. DeChellis is just seeing who works well with who, so a lot of numbers aren’t really relevant to how Penn State will play on Friday. Even so, we’ll just touch on each player’s performance for what it’s worth.
Jeff Brooks:Played well when he asserted himself. Jeff can go for stretches without doing anything, and then turn around and make a few big plays in a row. If Jeff plays like he can, he’ll be a very good player. As if I haven’t said that before.
- 6 points
- 4 blocks
David Jackson:DJ had a surprisingly quite game after DeChellis talk a lot about getting him more touches this season. He did however leave in the second half with an apparent knee-sprain of some sort. I expect he will continue to be the second scoring option early in the season.
- 4 points
- 2 steals
Andrew Jones:Like Brooks, Jones played in bursts showing a lot more aggression than he had last year, but overall he put up solid numbers in only 23 minutes of work.
- 8 points
- 7 rebounds
Tim Frazier: Played a lot of time running the offense, even while Battle was on the floor. It looks as though Penn State will try and run the offense while Battle isn’t on the ball since he generally is more effective coming off of screens. With another year under Frazier’s belt that will be easier to do. He may have had the best all around day besides Battle.
- 10 points
- 2 steals
Billy Oliver: We’ve all seen very little of Oliver, so his 10 points performance was a welcome sight, even more so with the need to fill the spot Sasa left open with his ACL injury. Oliver played confidently from the floor and shot the ball well from all parts of the court. His success was a very welcome sight for a position so thin.
The rest of the players such as Tre Bowman, and Johnathan Graham played very few minutes, so while their performances were somewhat underwhelming, it is too soon to really draw any conclusions from their play.