Jones leads Penn State over Wagner 91-64
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Pat Chambers believes Penn State can be one of the best defensive teams in the country.
Two games in, the Nittany Lions appear to be headed in that direction.
Just as they did in their opener, the Nittany Lions turned defense into offense all afternoon. They forced 18 turnovers and held the Seahawks (0-2) to just 24-for-59 shooting.
“I think we have the makings of an elite defensive team,” Chambers said.
The Seahawks controlled most of the first 10 minutes, but the Nittany Lions used an 8-3 run capped by a 3-pointer from Curtis Jones Jr. to take a 13-10 lead with 12:52 to play.
Jones sank a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to put Penn State up 37-30 at halftime.
The Nittany Lions, who forced eight turnovers in the first half, got three in the first two minutes of the second that helped push their lead to 43-30. They led by as many as 30 in the second half.
“We have so many athletes and we feel like it’s going to be really hard for teams to keep up with us,” Brockington said. “We feel like we can run a lot of teams out of the gym.”
The Seahawks, playing shorthanded with only eight players available, didn’t score their first points in the second until Ja’mier Fletcher made a free throw 3:19 in. They didn’t get their first field goal until Morales hit a jumper that made it 50-33 with 14:39 left.
“Those first four minutes in the second half, I saw body language and I knew guys didn’t have anything left in the tank,” Wagner coach Bashir Mason said.
The Nittany Lions are transitioning quickly, wasting no time getting to their offense after strong defensive possessions. They poured 20 fast-break points on the Seahawks after posting 22 in their opener against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
“I think you guys are starting to notice our speed and athleticism one through five and even coming off the bench,” Chambers said. “When you’ve got guys like that running lanes, it’s really tough to guard us in transition.”
Early on, the Nittany Lions appear to have plenty of options when they need a 3-pointer, but they’ll need to see more consistency from long distance.
Dread, who went 5 for 6 from 3-point range in the opener, cooled off in this one. He was just 1 for 9.
Jones, nicknamed “Buckets,” was 2 for 5 from beyond the arc while Brockington was 1 for 4.
Wagner: The Seahawks are working with a lot of new faces as they try to snap a six-game losing streak dating to Feb. 21 of last season. Cobb, who graduated from UMass in May before transferring to Wagner, should be a big help along with Morales, a former junior college star for Prince George’s Community College in Maryland.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions put up gaudy numbers in their opener and six players finished in double figures. They got solid depth scoring again Saturday as Lundy and Brockington handled large roles off the bench and the defense posted another smothering effort to keep an opponent off-balance all game.
Wagner hosts Wesley College on Tuesday.
Penn State visits Georgetown on Thursday.