But unfortunately for Nittany Lion coach Ed DeChellis, the rap on his team — that it can't handle full-court pressure defense — proved valid yet again, as the Nittany Lions collapsed after holding a 12-point second-half lead and lost, 69-59.
It's really frustrating, Claxton said on the team's post-game radio show. Again, we didn't take care of the ball at the end. That's why we lost.
I thought Geary played his brains out, he was unbelievable, DeChellis added. We just could not get anyone to go with him.
State fell to 6-3 on the season while the Pirates improved to 6-1.
Playing for the first time this year without the brace that protected a broken right hand as it healed, Claxton was on fire early. He scored 15 points in the first eight minutes and PSU kept Seton Hall at arm's length for most of the game. The Pirates were eventually forced to go to a zone to stop Claxton from abusing defenders one on one.
Penn State built its biggest lead of the day, 45-33, when Jamelle Cornley scored inside with 11:53 left in the game. But then the Lions came completely unglued. Claxton picked up two quick fouls midway through the second half and went to the bench with four fouls on the game.
And in his absence, PSU had nothing for the Pirates. The Lions managed a 53-48 lead on a 3-pointer by Danny Morrissey and a breakaway layup by David Jackson. But from there they did not score another basket (Claxton had six late points from the line after returning) while turning the ball over five times to allow Seton Hall to finish with a 21-6 run.
Penn State had 21 turnovers on the day and now has yet to win a game when it has more than 16 turnovers. Jackson and fellow starting guard Ben Luber had six each.
It's kind of been the same thing, DeChellis said. We turned the ball over and we took some really, really dumb shots.
Milos Bogetic started in place of Cornley, who sustained a mid-foot sprain against Hartford Wednesday. Bogetic had one of his better games of the season, with nine points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Cornley played (33 minutes) but was not effective offensively. He finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting and missed his only two free throws.
Morrissey's rough stretch continued. He had two turnovers in a matter of seconds in the first half. For the game he was 1 of 5 from the field and 2 of 4 from the line.
Jackson was 5 of 6 from the floor for a dozen points. But the rest of the guards went 1 of 10. Mike Walker only played four minutes and did not score. Luber played 40 minutes and did not score.
Penn State plays host to Long Island Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.