Tough Lehigh team waits for Penn State:
“Most Big Ten men’s basketball programs usually wouldn’t have reason to fear a home opener against an opponent from the Patriot league.
“But in Penn State’s (1-2) case, tonight’s contest against Lehigh is a different story. The Nittany Lions will be looking across the court at a squad that is coming off an NCAA tournament birth and is looking to win its conference for the second straight year.
“‘They’re kids that can really play, they’re different than they’ve been in the past,’ Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said.
“The Mountain Hawks return four of their starters from last year, along with High Point transfer Joe Knight, whom DeChellis recruited when he was at East Tennessee State. Tonight will be Lehigh’s first game of the season.”
AllSports ™ BIG TEN BASKETBALL: “PROGRAM DIRECTION: The Nittany Lions have been at the bottom of the Big Ten for the last three seasons so they can’t go lower. If the arrow is pointing up, it’s at a very low trajectory. “
The breakout performances from a few freshmen and Aaron Johnson’s record-setting rebound display in the Nittany Lions’ game against Western Carolina were nowhere to be found in yesterday’s 63-43 loss to South Carolina State.
The wear and tear of three games in three days proved to be a factor as the Lions struggled to pull it together against the MEAC preseason favorite. The tired legs produced short shots and 13 turnovers in the fifth-place game of the Black Coaches Association Classic.
‘We had no legs,’ Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said afterward on the Penn State Radio Network.
‘We were just effortless. It wasn’t just one guy. It was the whole group collectively.’
MILWAUKEE – South Carolina State Coach Ben Betts Jr. said his club learned an important lesson in losing to Mississippi in the first round of the Black Coaches Association Classic.
‘Against Ole Miss, we stopped executing. It showed us we can’t play just thirty minutes. We need to go out and play hard for forty minutes,’ Betts said Tuesday after his club beat South Carolina State 63-43. It was the team’s second straight victory after their opening 64-52 loss to Mississippi Sunday.
Betts said by playing hard throughout its last two games, his Bulldogs were able to emerge with a 2-1 record and fifth place in the tournament, which saw eight teams play games three days in a row.
Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis said the Bulldogs won because they played harder.
‘In this kind of game you can kind of forget about offense and defense, it’s all about effort,’ he said. ‘My hat is off to South Carolina State. They obviously wanted to win the game more than we did.’
DeChellis said the team was out of synch and ‘played as bad as we could possibly play.’
Line of the day from the South Carolina State vs Penn State box:
“Totals………….. 16-44 4-20 7-10 7 16 23 16 43 13 13 1 3 200″
Webmaster’s note: The CDT covered this game from its office phone.
MILWAUKEE – Ed DeChellis saw the Black Coaches Association Classic as an opportunity for his freshmen to gain experience. His freshmen have been opportunistic.
Danny Morrissey led five Nittany Lions in double figures with 16 points off the bench as Penn State coasted past Western Carolina 78-63 in the BCA Classic on Monday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The Nittany Lions (1-1), who led by as many as 19 and held the lead for the final 33 minutes, will meet South Carolina State, an 80-72 winner over Jacksonville State on Monday, at 3 p.m. today in the tournament’s fifth-place game.
With Morrissey knocking down threes, Mike Walker seeing extensive time at point guard and Geary Claxton slashing to the hoop and grabbing rebounds, the future is quickly becoming the present for the Nittany Lions.
‘All three of the freshmen played well tonight,’ said Penn State men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis, whose team bounced back from an 82-73 loss to Illinois State the night before. ‘We played better for longer periods of time tonight. We’ll have a tough test (today) against South Carolina State.'”
In his heart he always knew he wanted to play college basketball.Tri-Country’s Charles Jackson made it official on Monday when he signed his national letter of intent to play for Illinois.
‘He told me last summer that he wanted to play college basketball,’ said Seth Berl, Jackson’s AAU basketball coach. ‘I told him coming form South Georgia it’s tough. We have talked about 20 times, and he’s never changed his mind. His decision might have surprised some people.’
Those people are the ones that thought the 6-foot-8, 245-pound Jackson would play football next season at an Atlantic Coast Conference or Southeastern Conference school, but not basketball at a Big Ten university.
‘Basketball was always in the picture,’ Tri-County basketball coach John McFather said. ‘For a while he was considering playing both. He came to realization that it’s tough to excel in both.’
Jackson’s final three schools were Illinois, Penn State and Nevada-Las Vegas. McFather said it came down to the two Big Ten schools.
‘Illinois is a championship program,’ Jackson said. ‘The players practice with the intensity and have a hunger to win. The coaches don’t need to motivate them. I want to be a part of that.’
Making his decision was easy an one as Penn State is rebuilding under second-year coach Ed
DeChellis, while the Fighting Illini are perennially a NCAA tournament team.
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.
Lines of the day
00 Johnson, Aaron…… * 6-15 0-1 1-1 11 13 24 1 13 2 2 1 4 34
25 Morrissey, Danny…. 6-10 4-6 0-0 2 3 5 0 16 2 1 0 0 26
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.