Penn St. 64, Fairfield 49
Jeff Brooks had 19 points and combined with Talor Battle to sink seven 3-pointers Friday night to lead Penn State over Fairfield 64-49.
Brooks hit 4 of 5 from long range, including a 3 from the right wing that sparked a 20-7 second-half run to help stretch a six-point lead to double digits for the Nittany Lions (3-0).
Battle hit a 3 and a tough turnaround baseline jumper before Brooks capped the spurt by converting an offensive rebound for a 48-29 lead with 10 minutes left. Battle finished with 20 points and 3 of 7 from long range.
Greg Nero led Fairfield (1-2) with nine points and eight rebounds while center Ryan Olender had seven points and six boards, an active frontcourt duo that gave Penn State trouble at times in the paint.
But leading scorer Derek Needham was held to six points on 2 of 12 shooting and the Stags shot just 31 percent from the floor overall.
Penn State improved to 3-0 for the third time under eighth-year coach Ed DeChellis.
Battle, the heady 6-foot guard, was a one-man gang last season on a Penn State team that finished 11-20 and last in the Big Ten. Brooks' emergence early in his senior season after three years of so-so performances could bode well for the Nittany Lions when conference play begins. He was averaging 14 points a game entering Friday.
Brooks added nine rebounds and was 7 of 11 from the field.
Taking advantage of sloppy Penn State play early in the second half, Fairfield closed a 10-point lead to 28-22 with 17:28 left off Colin Nickerson's jumper.
Brooks and Battle then took over. Brooks followed a 3 with a nifty shot from the paint before Andrew Jones fed Battle on the break for a layup to increase the lead to 35-24 less at 15:55.
The Stags, a contender in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, tried to get the ball in the paint early through penetration or feeding Olender.
They frustrated the Nittany Lions with a zone until Battle hit two straight 3s to open up the floor. David Jackson hit a foul-line jumper, Brooks hit a 3 from the right wing and Cammeron Woodyard hit another 3 with a defender in his face for a 22-12 lead with 7:24 in the first half.