Penn State Handles Furman

DeChellis, Battle reach milestones in a Sunday matinee at the Jordan Center. But the due is already looking ahead to this week's showdown with Maryland.

Ed DeChellis earned his 100th win as head coach at Penn State Sunday, as his Nittany Lions used an inside-out attack to dispatch Furman, 70-49.

Senior guard Talor Battle led PSU with 19 points, six assists and three rebounds, in the process becoming the first Lion to accrue 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in a career.

Battle admitted that the school's athletic communications office kept him up to speed on that statistical feat but that he was unaware of his coach's milestone.

“I had no clue, but I'm excited for Coach,” he said. “I'm glad he got his 100th win, but it is just another win. I'm sure even he'll say that.”

DeChellis, whose career mark in eight seasons at PSU now stands at 100-124, said that and more: “We have a lot of losses (too). It's great to have that plateau, but we have to move on. I don't care about individual stuff.”

Fittingly, team play led to the victory.

Penn State (5-1) seized control early by working the ball into the paint and forcing the Furman defense to collapse. Once it did, the Nittany Lions would kick out to the arc for a wide-open 3-point try.

State was a sizzling 8 of 11 from distance in the first half and led by as many as 18 points. Each of the long-range makes came off an assist, which in and of itself was not particularly impressive. But the variety of players making those passes was a positive sign for a PSU team that struggled with ball movement a season ago.

“We really shared the ball and had good ball movement,” DeChellis said. “We made open shots.”

In the opening minutes, point guard Tim Frazier slashed to the basket and passed to D.J. Jackson and Jeff Brooks for bombs. Later, Brooks got the ball down low and found Battle on the wing for a make, only to be followed by Battle driving hard and passing to Jackson for three.

Even center Andrew Jones -- who had 11 assists in 770 minutes played in 2009-10 -- got in on the action. He took a pass, wheeled and found Battle on the wing for yet another triple, this one putting the Lions in front 39-21 with 2:17 left in the opening half.

“It was a great pass by Drew,” Battle said.

“We try to talk about the inside-out (approach) all game every game,” DeChellis said. “But (Furman) really played behind in the post, which allows you to get it in and then back out (easily).”

The Nittany Lions opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers from Jackson and Brooks to push the lead to 47-27 and stretched that to as many as 24 before careless play became an issue.

Penn State had eight turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the second half, allowing Furman (3-2) to get as close as 62-49 with 5:06 remaining. DeChellis laid into his troops during a timeout.

“We were playing sloppy and flat,” he said. “I said this is just a four- or five-minute stretch of lack of maturity.”

Furman did not score the rest of the way, while consecutive dunks by Jones and Battle got the Lions back on track as they cruised to the win.

If DeChellis and Battle seemed reluctant to make too much of the victory or the career achievements that accompanied it, it was with good reason. Next up is a nonconference home game Wednesday against a Maryland team that figures to bring considerably more talent than the Paladins offered.

Other remaining non-con foes include Duquesne and Virginia Tech. Then the Big Ten grind looms.

“We have to try to make this team as good as we can make it,” DeChellis said. “We have a long, long race.”

SHORT SHOTS: Jackson had 16 points and Brooks 13 for the Lions. … PSU outrebounded Furman 33-19 and outscored the Paladins 24-4 in the paint. … The Maryland game is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The action will be carried by ESPN2 and tips at 9:15 p.m.

See the box score here:


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