It explains why Penn State coach Ed DeChellis was not gushing over his team's record-tying 15-of-25 effort from the arc in an 89-64 demolition of Hartford at the Jordan Center Thursday night.
Senior guard Stanley Pringle led the way with a career-high 23 points, including a career-high six triples (on nine tries) as the Nittany Lions improved to 3-0. Fellow guards Talor Battle and Danny Morrissey also made three 3-pointers each in the easy win.
While DeChellis was happy to see all those bombs find their marks, he realized the Hawks lacked the kind of size and quickness PSU will encounter in the Big Ten.
I don't think you can ever live by the 3-point shot, not in the league we play in, DeChellis said. You have to be able to guard and defend; rebound. You better get to the free-throw line and you better have some inside game. It's foolish if you think you are going to stand out there and make shots every night.
Fortunately for DeChellis, against Hartford, his troops did most everything else he mentioned, as well. Led by senior forward Jamelle Cornley's 17 points and 10 rebounds, the Lions dominated the paint and got to the line 17 times, making 14. Cornley was 5 of 6 from the stripe.
Usually we're designed to go inside [and then] out, Cornley said. But I don't mind going outside in when we're hitting shots.
And to say the Nittany Lions were hitting shots would be an understatement. The Hawks tried several matchup zone looks against Penn State, but Battle and Pringle were simply too fast for them, constantly driving and kicking to each other and Morrissey.
No matter what defense you play, if you don't keep the guy with the ball in front of you, you're going to break down, Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz said.
Battle and Pringle combined to go 5 of 9 from the arc in the first half and also had three assists each. State led 47-32 at the break despite committing 11 turnovers.
When the Lions tightened things up in the second half (they only had four turnovers the rest of the way), the rout was on. They led by as many as 33 before the Hawks (0-3) made up a bit of ground after both coaches cleared their benches.
Hartford dropped a 99-56 decision to Big East power Connecticut Monday, and Leibovitz said he thought the Nittany Lions compared favorably to the Huskies.
Frankly, Penn State shoots the ball better than UConn, he said.
On this night, it shot as well as anybody. Yet when asked if he thought the 3-point shot would become hiss team's hallmark, DeChellis wasted no time well shooting down that notion.
I hope not, he replied. It's not going to be our bread and butter. We've got guys who are capable of making shots, and they proved that tonight. But we have to get the ball inside. And I thought we got the ball inside to [Cornley) a good amount, which was important to us.
Game MVP: When Pringle plays like this, the Lions are capable of beating anybody.
Unsung Hero: Forward David Jackson came up just short of a double-double (nine points, eight rebounds).
Key Moment: The Hawks led 24-23 with 6:39 left in the first half when Jackson tipped Cammeron Woodyward's missed 3-pointer. The Lions never trailed again.
Good Sign: Penn State obliterated Hartford on the glass, 33-16. Three of the Hawks rebounds were in the final minute of the game.
Bad Sign: The Lions allowed Hartford to make 53.8 percent of its 3-pointers in the first half (7 of 13).
Rookie Report: Woodyard was solid again, going 2 of 3 from the arc in 15 minutes.
PSU tied its all-time record for 3-pointers in a game, which was set against Purdue in 2001.
Battle added 21 points for Penn State, marking the first time since December of 2006 (VMI) that at least two players scored 20 in a game for the Lions.
Forward Jeff Brooks turned an ankle in the second half and hobbled off the court. He did not return. DeChellis did not know the extent of the injury.
Penn State is back in action Sunday, facing New Hampshire in a game that tips at 2 p.m.