Michael Renahan (@immikerenahan)
The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-5) look to continue their solid shooting as they welcome the Delaware State Hornets (5-5) into the Bryce Jordan Center, Saturday Afternoon.
Penn State will try to put together it’s first winning streak of the season, but it will be no easy task against the aggressive Hornets.
Coming off a gut-checking 78-70 win against Army just a week ago, Penn State put together their best shooting performance of the young 2012 season.
Four Nittany Lions had 10 points or more, while the team shot 50.9 percent on 29 of 57 attempts from the floor. Penn State also shot very well from beyond the arc, finishing at 36.8 percent on seven of 19.
Ross Travis (8.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) recorded his second career double double in the effort and looks to carry that momentum into saturday. The forward finished with 14 points and ten efforts.
Penn State also got a major contribution from rising star D.J. Newbill (14.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg). The shooting guard, turned point guard, had 19 points last week, and made crucial buckets down the stretch to put the game out of reach against Army. Along with Newbill, Jermaine Marshall (15.1 ppg 4.4 rpg) has emerged as the primary scoring option for the Nittany Lions.
Marshall had 16 points against Army and looked to be playing his best basketball. The Penn State Nittany Lions out rebounded Army significantly, a major reason they were able to get the victory.
The Delaware State Hornets come into State College on a two game winning streak. After an exciting overtime win over in-state rival Delaware, the Hornets confidence level is at an all time high.
Sophomore guard Tahj Tate leads the hornets in scoring in 2012 averaging just over 15 points a game and was a major factor in his team’s most recent victory.
Against Delaware, Tate went off for 24 points on nine of 19 shooting. The guard poses an offensive threat similar to Ella Ellis of Army for the Nittany Lions back court. He averages just under 50 percent shooting and has no fear putting it up when he has to.
Along with Tate, Delaware State gets significant contributions from center Kendall Gray (8.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and forward Tyshawn Bell (8.4 ppg 3.3 rpg). Gray is coming off an 8 rebound night, while Bell had 15 points off the bench.
Bench production has been a problem for the Nittany Lions early on in 2012. With the three main scoring options being Newbill, Marshall and Travis, the rest of the roster has not stepped up to the challenge.
Brandon Taylor (7.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) has emerged as a legitimate fourth option but needs to find consistency in his game. Taylor had 14 points on five of 10 shooting against Army, as well as four rebounds.
Guards Nick Colella and Forward Sasa Borovnjak should see more minutes and need to take advantage of their opportunities. Against army Borovnjak got the start, but only contributed four points, while Colella added nine points on three of five shooting from beyond the arc.
The Nittany Lions are trying to put together their first winning streak this season and a complete 40 minute effort. After Delaware State the lions do not play again until December 23 against New Hampshire.