Penn State Posts Season High Point Total As Nittany Lions Down Morgan State, 80-71
Cornley leads Penn State in scoring for fifth time on the season
# Game Photos
# Box Score
# Postgame Quotes
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; December 2, 2006 ? Thirteen second-half points from junior Mike Walker (Lewisberry, Pa.) helped spur Penn State to as season high point total as the Nittany Lions downed Morgan State (0-6) 80-71 Saturday in the Bryce Jordan Center to improve to 5-2 on the year.
?I thought Mike Walker came off the bench and helped us win the game,? Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. ?That is positive. I thought we played well in a little spurt in the second half. We made some defensive plays and we were able to break it open. The first 20 minutes was like walking in mud.?
Jamelle Cornley (Columbus, Ohio) led four Nittany Lions in double-figures with 18 points and seven rebounds as Penn State overcame a sluggish first half to score 47 second half points on 48 percent (14-29) shooting from the floor. Geary Claxton (West Haven, Conn.), starting his first game of the season since missing the first four with a broken hand, logged 15 points and eight rebounds playing the entire second half after sitting much of the first after picking up two early fouls. Brandon Hassell (Farmersville, Ohio) equaled a career high with 14 points and posted a career best nine rebounds.
Reggie Holmes led four Morgan State players in double-figures with 16 points and Joseph McLean added 15 with three three-pointers. The Bears shot 46 percent from the field, but were out-rebounded by Penn State 39-30.
Penn State played most of the second half without starting point-guard Ben Luber (Richboro, Pa.) who took an elbow to the chin from 6-9 Boubacar Coly and was knocked to the floor in the paint just three minutes into the half. Luber left the game with a bad headache and did not return. Walker provided the spark that broke open a close game hitting two of his three three-pointers in the second half on his way to a season high 16 points for the game.
?Ben goes out and with Danny being hurt, someone has got to step up and help us,? DeChellis said. ?Tonight it was Mike Walker coming off the bench. It is important to have somebody step up. That is how you win. If somebody you aren?t expecting, like Mike, can come off the bench and give you a great night, that is the difference between winning and losing.?
After an uninspired first half, Penn State came out with more energy in the second and pushed out to a five point lead following a pair of Cornley jumpers and a Claxton lay-up, but Morgan State came back with a 6-2 run to close to within one, 41-40, with 15:50 to play. The Bears kept things close over the next five minutes until Walker buried a 23-foot trey from the right wing to push the Penn State lead to eight, 52-44, with 10:46 to play.
Again, Morgan State came back using a lay-up from Coly and a three from Holmes to cut the margin back to three. The Bears got to within two with 8:01 to play as Coly converted a three-point play after being fouled by Milos Bogetic on a lay-up.
Penn State again began to build a margin, pushing first out to an eight-point lead on a Claxton lay-up off a feed from Hassell, one of a career high four assists on the night. Coly again answered with a jumper.
Walker drained another three on the next possession for a 64-54 lead with 5:14 to play. He would score eight of Penn State?s 13 points in a 13-5 Penn State run that pushed the lead to 14 over the next three minutes. Walker capped the run converting a three-point play along the baseline off a sweet Hassell dish that gave Penn State a 73-59 lead with 2:05 to play.
Morgan State cut the margin under 10 with 1:04 to play, but Penn State went 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute including two by Walker that put the finishing touches on Penn State?s scoring with 23 seconds to play.
?This team (Morgan State) could score, and with teams that can score they are very, very scary,? DeChellis said. ?With the win, we can move on, but we have to get better.?
Penn State led 33-30 at the half after struggling from the field in the first 20 minutes shooting 38 percent (12-of-31). Penn State started 1-of-7 from the field to start the half and Morgan State held as much as a six-point lead, 20-14, before Hassell went on a spurt that spurred a 19-10 Penn State run to close the half. Hassell scored nine of his 12 first half points in a four-minute span. The 6-11 junior converted three free throws and had three field goals during the spurt including a nice conversion while being fouled off a pump fake and a lay-up on a nice feed from Danny Morrissey, who played limited minutes with a sore neck.
McLean hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in the half, including one in the final minute that tied the score at 30-30. Morgan State shot 5-of-10 from the arc in the half. A late Morrissey three gave Penn State the halftime lead as Morgan State failed to convert on the last possession of the half.
Penn State returns to action Wednesday in the Bryce Jordan Center as they take on Hartford at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks are 3-3 on the year and have won their last three games, including a 64-49 victory Thursday over Long Island, a future Penn State opponent. That game can be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network and at GoPSUsports.com. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the ticket section of GoPSUsports.com or by calling the ticket office at 814-865-5555. Penn State men?s single game tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and youth (under 18).