AP: Penn State 78, Western Carolina 63

MILWAUKEE – It was the first 24-rebound game Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis had ever seen. Luckily for him, it was his own player who did it.

Aaron Johnson was one of five Nittany Lions who scored in double figures but the only one with two dozen boards Monday as Penn State defeated Western Carolina 78-63 in the second round of the Black Coaches Association Classic.

‘Twenty-four rebounds was tremendous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. He’s a workhorse on the boards,’ DeChellis said after Penn State evened its record at 1-1.

Catamount Coach Steve Shurina was equally impressed with Johnson’s bullish performance. ‘He’s a bear inside,’ he said.

Johnson also had 13 points in a game in which Penn State (1-1) got offensive help from plenty of players. Danny Morrissey led with 16 points, and Marlon Smith had 14, Ben Luber 11 and Geary Claxton 10.

Centre Daily Times: Second-half stumble costly to PSU men’s basketball team

Webmaster’s note: The CDT did not send anyone to the game.

It is hard to tell how much progress a team has truly made from one season to the next when its opponent shoots 62 percent in the second half.

A very new Penn State men’s basketball team traded leads with an experienced Illinois State squad for about 30 minutes Sunday only to watch the Redbirds pull away for a 82-73 win in the Black Coaches Association Classic at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Sports Info: Claxton Big 10 Player of the Week

Penn State Nittany Lion basketball player Geary Claxton (West Haven, Conn.) was named the season’s first Big Ten Basketball Player of the Week for games played Nov. 8-14. Claxton earned the honor after a solid collegiate debut in Penn State’s season-opening game vs. Illinois State on Sunday.

Claxton led Penn State in scoring with 16 points, hitting five of nine field goals and six of eight free throws. The 6-5 wing from Connecticut was also second on the squad with nine rebounds.

AP: Illinois State stuns Penn State, 82-73

Lorenzo Gordon scored 26 points and Nedu Onyeuku 16 as the junior-college transfers led Illinois State to a stunning 82-73 upset win over Penn State last night in the Black Coaches Association Classic in Milwaukee.

It was only the Redbirds’ fourth win in 22 tries against a Big Ten foe, with the last victory of 77-62 over Wisconsin in 1996.

Geary Claxton scored 16 points, and Marlon Smith and Travis Parker 14 each for Penn State in the season opener for both teams, which met for the first time.

The game was one of four in the first round of the Marquette-hosted tournament, which has eight teams playing three consecutive days.

Collegian: Men’s basketball loses to Illinois St.

For the first 32 minutes, the game was very seesaw in nature; it was as if no team wanted to take control.

Then Illinois State (1-0) decided to turn its game up a notch and took control of the game late with an 18-5 run that turned a two-point Penn State lead into a 74-63 margin in favor of the Redbirds. They never looked back, defeating Penn State 82-73 last night at the Black Coaches Association Classic in Milwaukee.

‘They played with a lot more energy than we did [in the second half],’ Penn State sophomore guard Marlon Smith said in an interview on the Penn State Radio Network.

Men’s Basketball

‘I think they kinda wanted it more because I think the first five minutes is very crucial and we didn’t come out and play.'”

Pantagraph.com: ISU transfers into win column

MILWAUKEE — Penn State basketball coach Ed DeChellis certainly made the biggest understatement of the night Sunday at the Bradley Center during the Black Coaches Association Classic.

‘Those two kids are really going to help them,’ said DeChellis, referring to Illinois State junior college transfers Lorenzo Gordon and Nedu Onyeuku.

The ISU newcomers tore up Penn State’s defense in the second half, combining for 30 of their team’s 50 points, to lead the Redbirds to a season-opening 82-73 victory.

ISU rode a wave of scoring from Gordon, Onyeuku and Trey Guidry to defeat a team from the Big Ten Conference for only the fifth time in school history.

Pantagraph.com: Gordon’s offensive spurt sends Redbirds to victory

MILWAUKEE — Lorenzo Gordon believes Illinois State basketball fans should expect a lot of points from him every game.

‘All the time,’ said the 6-foot-7 Gordon when asked how often he can score in flurries like he did Sunday night.

Gordon scored 14 straight points for ISU to begin the second half and help the Redbirds to an 82-73 opening-round victory over Penn State in the Black Coaches Association Classic at the Bradley Center.

‘Our scouting report said they weren’t really good on post defense,’ said Gordon, who also handled six rebounds. ‘I tried to expose that. Coach told me to keep battling and that’s what I did.’

Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said Gordon did a great job of posting on the inside to get the ball.

‘Obviously, we didn’t do a very good job of guarding him,’ added DeChellis. ‘When we finally got him under control, they started taking us off the dribble. They drove the ball and kicked it and got what they wanted.

‘We emphasised guarding the perimeter because they have three good players out there. They did a good job of getting the ball inside and taking it right at us to get the lead.’

Dave Jones: Lions start early vs. Illinois State

College basketball season seems to start earlier every year. For Penn State this year, it doesn’t seem to. It does.

The Nittany Lions tip off at 6:30 p.m. today against Illinois State in the eight-team Black Coaches Association tournament at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. It is the earliest start in PSU history.

Should they beat the Redbirds, 10-19 and last place in the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago, the Nits probably will meet the host Marquette Golden Eagles in the second round tomorrow night. The final-round games are Tuesday.

That’s three games in three nights, regardless of the results, for a team that finished last in the Big Ten (9-19, 3-13) for the third straight year in ’03-04, with five new faces and two new starting forwards this season.

What is coach Ed DeChellis thinking? He’s thinking as much PT as possible as quickly as possible.

‘We wanted to do something where our young kids would have to play and we could get our young kids as much experience as we could,’ he said.