Road Woes Continue For Penn State

Nittany Lions stumble vs. St. Joe's at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Get the lowdown and see contributing photographer Harvey Levine's image gallery.

It's taken all of seven games to zero in on the modus operandi of the 2007-08 Penn State basketball team. The Nittany Lions are pretty good at home, where they are 3-0 this season.

And they are pretty bad away from home. State was beaten by St. Joe's at the Palestra in Philadelphia Saturday, 79-67, falling to 3-4 on the year and 0-4 away from the Bryce Jordan Center.

SEE HARVEY LEVINE'S PHOTO GALLERY HERE.

The final was no indication of the way the Hawks dominated. Phil Martelli's crew ripped off 51 points in the second half and led by 21 with two minutes to go before he cleared his bench.

“I told the guys: you can't give up 50 points in the second half and expect to win on the road or at home,” PSU coach Ed DeChellis said on his post-game radio show.

This game looked like it was headed for an exciting ending early in the second stanza, when freshman forward Andrew Jones hit a jump hook to give State a 35-34 lead. Then the Hawks responded with an 11-1 run to go up 45-36, as forward Ahmad Nivins proved too tough to handle down low.

Danny Morrissey's 3-pointer with 14:45 remaining allowed the Lions to steady themselves for a moment and cut the lead to 45-39. But Darrin Govens countered with a triple of his own and State promptly collapsed.

The Lions trailed by as many as 22 — 71-49 (a 37-14 SJU eruption from the point when State held its last lead) — before making things a tad more respectable in garbage time.

Nivins finished with 25 to lead the Hawks, who also got 15 from Govens, 15 from Rob Ferguson and 14 from season leading scorer Pat Calathes.

Geary Claxton was the only Lion to get things going offensively, scoring 20 points. Morrissey also reached doubles (10 points) with a couple of 3-pointers long after the game was out of reach.

Penn State began the game disoriented, trailing 7-0 as Nivins dominated in the paint. But once the Lions got their bearings, they began to flex their muscles inside. And even though they struggled from the field in the opening 20 minutes — making only 11 of 32 shots — they held a 25-14 edge on the boards and managed to head into the locker room tied, 28-28.

Claxton had 10 points to lead PSU in the first half despite spending the final nine minutes on the bench with a pair of fouls. Nivens had 10 points in the first four minutes but scored only one more before the break.

NOTES:

• Penn State junior forward Jamelle Cornley missed the game with a swollen left knee. He is the team's second-leading scorer.

• This gem from Dick Jerardi on the Penn State Radio Network: Penn State has now won nine games away from the BJC in DeChellis' career. The Lions are 9-47 away from the BJC in DeChellis' five seasons (5-37 in road games).

• After dominating the boards in the first half, the Lions were beaten 21-12 in the second.

• SJU got four points from its bench. Penn State got 21 points from its bench. All 10 players who saw action for the Lions scored.

• Penn State is off until Seton Hall visits next Saturday. DeChellis said he will not hold practice Sunday nor Monday so the team can rest.

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