Roberts Rises in Blowout Win

The transfer guard steps up his game as Penn State crushes Monmouth at the Jordan Center to improve to 5-1 on the season.

Pat Chambers' new-look Penn State basketball team unveiled another wrinkle against Monmouth at the Jordan Center Tuesday night: the utility man.

Allen Roberts, the Nittany Lions' graduate transfer from Miami of Ohio, came off the bench to do a little of everything in the 84-52 win. He scored a season-high 17 points. He loosened up the Hawk defense by making 3 of 5 3-pointers. He got to the foul line, making 6 of 6 tries.

Roberts also had three rebounds and defended everyone from 5-foot-10 guards to 6-7 forwards.

“I want to welcome my man Allen Roberts to his first media session for Penn State,” a smiling Tim Frazier said in the PSU media room after the game. “He's happy.”

A senior guard himself, Frazier paced the Nittany Lions with 19 points and seven assists. But Roberts' effort off the pine was every bit as important, as it compensated for off nights by starting forwards Brandon Taylor and Donovan Jack (who combined for seven points on 2-of-8 shooting).

“We have new guys stepping up and having great games every game,” Frazier said. “For Allen to step up and shoot the ball as well as he did today -- and do other things as well as far as rebounding, and getting deflections, and just talking out on the floor, was great.”

Roberts led Miami of Ohio in scoring last season and did a lot of his damage with the ball in his hand. But after graduating from the school earlier this year, he was free to transfer to another program and immediately use his final season of eligibility. Now, he's being asked to be more of a spot-up shooter and to do more dirty work.

“I'm trying to be a more complete player, where I'm actually moving without the ball,” he said. “[I'm] offensive rebounding, crashing the glass. I'm doing other things than just dribbling the basketball.”

Then he dropped this line.

“I would rather be on this team than be a leading scorer anywhere else.”

Chambers said the staff is trying to “speed up the process” of Roberts becoming a well-rounded “Penn State basketball player,” and that he took “one very large step today.”

The comment about wanting to be at Penn State as opposed to a leading scorer elsewhere really hit the coach.

“I'm almost flabbergasted,” Chambers said. “You have a fifth-year senior who has been the leading scorer on his team, and he's willing to be selfless and understand his role because he wants to win basketball games. In this day and age, that's a beautiful thing.”

It wasn't so beautiful for Monmouth coach King Rice. The Hawks game-planned to try to slow down Frazier and guard D.J. Newbill.

“One of them you have got to double-team or both of them go crazy on you,” he said.

And they intended to cut off Taylor's usually effective 3-point shot.

“Brandon can get it going, too,” Rice explained. Indeed, Taylor had a career-high 25 in Sunday's win over Longwood.

Add an effective Roberts to the mix, and suddenly Penn State is a matchup nightmare.

“Now you bring a kid in that can shoot the ball, and you are focusing on the other guys, and he is a big-time shooter, and he made them tonight,” Rice said. “I am going to watch all season and see if he continues to do that.”

The thing is, on this team, he really doesn't have to do it every night. When Jack had a career-high 18 points in a win over La Salle, Roberts had three. When Taylor went off vs. Longwood, Roberts had eight.

Chambers needed his new utility man to score Tuesday, and Roberts came through.

“With our team, one guy may not be having a great game,” Frazier said. “But the next four guys on the floor are going to be picking him up.”


• Penn State next faces St. John's at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Friday. The game, part of the Second Annual Barclays Center Classic, tips at 7 p.m. Monmouth lost at St. John's (64-54) last Friday.

• Newbill had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

• Penn State forced 11 turnovers in the second half, seven of them during an 18-1 run and nine of them during one seven-and-a-half-minute stretch.

• The Lions had 17 assists on their 28 field goals.

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