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.
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.
Line of the night from Geary:
FG: 5-9 3PG: 0-0 FT: 6-8 Off Reb:7 Def Reb: 2 Tot Reb: 9 PF: 3 Pts: 16 A: 1 TO: 4 Blk: 0 Stl: 0 Min: 29
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.
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.
‘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.'”
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.
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.’
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.
Right now, you could split the Penn State men’s basketball team into three categories — known commodities, new faces that could soon be known commodities, and everyone else.
The Nittany Lions open their season against Illinois State in the Black Coaches Association Classic at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee with a number of unknowns, a prospect at once unnerving and encouraging for a team that has won 23 games in the past three seasons.
MILWAUKEE — Gregg Alexander has been impressed with the play of Illinois State basketball teammates Greg Dilligard, Lorenzo Gordon, Ronnie Carlwell and Neil Plank.
‘The improvement of our post players has been tremendous,’ said Alexander, a senior tri-captain. ‘We know we can throw the ball in there and they will snatch it up.
‘They post hard and work to get the ball. That gives the guards confidence to throw the ball in the post. And they’re good at making the pass out of the post. That gets us moving the ball and opens up our offense.’
Post play very well could be the deciding factor in today’s 5:30 p.m. season opener for both ISU and Penn State in the Black Coaches Association Classic, hosted by Marquette, at the Bradley Center.
‘They are kind of like us up front,’ said Penn State coach Ed DeChellis, who begins his second season at the helm. ‘We are both young with some question marks.’