It all started out so well for Penn State in their return to the historic Palestra in Philadelphia. PSU rode a hot shooting start, hitting 6 of their first 8 shots from the field, and 13 of 23 for the first half (56.5%) to a hard fought 38-34 halftime deficit to the Explorers. Then, it all fell apart, as the LaSalle outscored PSU 43-22 in the 2nd half en route to an 82-57 win.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the first half, with two Jermaine Marshall free throws after the under 12 timeout tying the game up at 20. LaSalle would go on a 13-3 run at that point to open up a 33-23 lead. Penn State would score 11 of the final 16 points of the half though, to close the gap to just 4 points at the break. Jermaine Marshall lead the PSU attack with 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including 2 for 2 from three. Ross Travis added 10 points, continuing to assert himself by attacking the basket, and finding his mid-range jump shot. Sasa Borovnjak was strong off the bench for the Lions with 8 points and 5 boards. Perhaps the best sign for PSU was the fact they were in the game with D.J. Newbill being held scoreless in the half, but did contribute 4 assists. LaSalle’s junior guard Tyreek Duren was dominant in his own right with 15 first half points. Sam Mills and Ramon Galloway each hit a couple huge (both in distance and timing) threes en route to 9 and 8 points respectively.
PSU came out strong in the first 5 minutes of the second half, and closed to 2 points at 43-41 after a D.J. Newbill 3 point play (his first points of the game). From that point, LaSalle would go on a 14-2 run to open up a 14 point lead, and the Lions did not get any closer than 11 the rest of the way. After shooting 47% from three in the first half (8 for 17), the Explorers would go 8 for 12 in the 2nd half, fueling their game ending run. About the only PSU highlight was Chambers collecting his first technical foul in an exchange with, not surprisingly, Ed “The Show” Hightower.
Penn State’s offense struggled to find their first half rhythm, shooting just 33% for the 2nd half, including 0 for 6 from beyond the arc. In the second half, Marshall was held to just 6 points (19 total), Travis 2 (12 total), and Borovnjak was scoreless. D.J. Newbill finished with 12 points. After dishing out 9 assists in the first half, the Lions had just 2 helpers in the second. Duren finished 29 points, with both Galloway and Mills adding 14. Junior LaSalle guard Taylor Dunn, the son of former PSU coach Jerry Dunn, added 9 points in just 7 minutes. Tempers heated up at the final horn as freshman guard Lewis Luval hoisted a meaningless three as LaSalle was running out the clock that several Lions, Pat Chambers, and Explorers head man Dr. John Giannini took offense to. Don’t expect that to be forgotten when these two teams get together next year in the Jordan Center
Penn State returns home to face Army at 4:00 on Sunday.
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