Lions handed another loss by Radford
UNIVERSITY PARK – After losing All-Big Ten guard and leading scorer D.J. Newbill from last year’s team, many wondered how Penn State would manage to put points on the board in 2015-16.
As it turns out, that’s the least of fifth-year coach Pat Chambers’ problems.
Despite coming within a single point of putting six different players into double figures against Radford at the Jordan Center Tuesday night, the Nittany Lions had their second straight dud of a defensive effort and – surprise, surprise – dropped their second-straight game.
The final was 86-74, marking a season-high in scoring for a Highlander outfit that grabbed its second straight major conference road win (they opened by nipping Georgetown in double OT). Radford made 62 percent of its shots in the second half, which comes on the heels of Duquesne ripping the nets at a 61-percent clip in the final 20 minutes of Friday’s blowout in Pittsburgh.
PSU fell to 2-2 with the loss, and when asked how many games his team might win if it keeps playing defense like this, Chambers offered a flat, “Not many.”
“The name of the game is defense,” added senior forward Brandon Taylor, who scored 15 points but was limited to 25 minutes due to foul trouble. “That’s what our stamp is. We’ve got to do a better job there.”
Chambers credited Radford for “doing a great job exposing some of our weaknesses,” and he was right. The Highlanders were 12 of 22 from the arc – this after Duquesne hit 17 triples. Meanwhile, Radford broke free for 15 fast-break points and scored 34 in the paint.
And nothing Penn State did worked. Chambers tried several zones and ultimately even man-to-man. The Nittany Lions’ strong offensive play actually allowed them to erase an 11-point first half deficit and go up by as many as three (43-40) in the second half.
Radford was up 56-54 coming out of the second media timeout of the final half when it caught a bit of a break. Guard Cameron Jones banked in a triple to make it 59-54, and PSU came unraveled. By the 10:34 mark the lead was 64-55 and the Lions could not get closer than six the rest of the way.
Jones finished with 23 for Radford (4-2), which also put five players into double figures. And while the Highlanders do deserve credit for now having beaten a pair of power conference teams, it should also be noted that they were blown out by VCU, lost to Siena, and beat Catawba and Prairie View A&M by eight points each. They were also playing their fifth game in eight days – four of them away from home.
And, as RU coach Mike Jones noted, “We have not been shooting the ball well since the season started.”
Well, until Tuesday, at least.
“It was a matter of which team was able to impose its will on the game,” Jones noted.
Game notes: The Highlanders also outrebounded the much bigger Lions, 35-29. … PSU sophomore Julian Moore started in the place of struggling center Jordan Dickerson. Moore finished with a career-high 16 points in 25 minutes. … Guard Shep Garner had 11 points and eight assists for the Lions. … Also in doubles were backup guard Devin Foster (10) and forward Payton Banks (10). … Rookie guard Josh Reaves had nine points and a pair of assists. … PSU freshman forward Davis Zemgulis missed the game with a sprained left MCL and is expected to be out for a couple of weeks. … Penn State plays host to Bucknell Saturday in a game that tips at 1 p.m.
RADFORD (86): Brown 1-6 0-0 2, Jones 8-11 2-3 23, Davis 7-10 2-4 18, Cousin 0-2 0-0 0, Holcomb 4-4 2-3 10, Owens 0-1 0-0 0, Tanner 1-2 0-0 3, Anderson 5-9 0-0 14, Christy 0-0 1-2 1, Polite Jr. 4-6 5-7 13, Lutete 0-3 0-0 0, Bolstad 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-55 12-19 86.
PENN STATE. (74): Banks 4-10 1-2 10, Taylor 5-9 3-4 15, Reaves 4-10 1-2 9, Garner 4-10 2-4 11, Moore 7-11 2-3 16, Foster 4-5 0-2 10, Jack 0-3 1-2 1, Washington 0-1 2-2 2, Dickerson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-60 12-21 74.
Halftime-Radford 37-34. 3-Point Goals-Radford 12-22 (Jones 5-7, Anderson 4-6, Davis 2-2, Tanner 1-2, Cousin 0-2, Lutete 0-3), Penn St. 6-22 (Foster 2-2, Taylor 2-3, Banks 1-4, Garner 1-5, Moore 0-1, Washington 0-1, Jack 0-2, Reaves 0-4). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Radford 35 (Holcomb 11), Penn St. 29 (Banks 8). Assists-Radford 18 (Davis 9), Penn St. 13 (Garner 8). Total Fouls-Radford 17, Penn St. 21. A-4,675.