Jack led the team in scoring with a career-high 18 points and Frazier registered 15 points and matched his career high with 11 assists for his eighth-career double-double. Three other Nittany Lions turned in double-figure scoring performances as well, with Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) and D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) dropping 15 points apiece and Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) tallying 13 points. PSU has not had five players post double-figures in a game since the Lions overpowered Mount St. Mary’s Dec. 18, 2011.
Taylor, who notched a career-high four blocks, and Travis also led the squad in rebounds, pulling down eight boards each.
Penn State improves to 3-1 on the season and 2-3 vs. La Salle all-time while the Explorers drop to 2-2 this year. The Nittany Lions and Explorers put up nearly even numbers in almost every statistical category in a back and forth battle that saw six ties and 11 lead changes.
PSU shot 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from beyond the arc compared to La Salle’s 43.3 percent (26-of-60) from the floor and 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from three-point range. The Blue and White forced 11 Explorer turnovers, drawing 15 points from the La Salle miscues, and committed just eight in the victory.
Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright set the pace for La Salle with each posting double-doubles. Zack put up 12 points and 10 rebounds while Wright notched 10 points and 10 boards. Tyrone Garland led the team in scoring with 18 points.
The opening minute of the contest set the scene for the game as La Salle’s Taylor Dunn drained a 3-pointer less than 20 seconds after the start and Jack answered quickly with a trey of his own. Both teams missed a series of attempts over the next minute until Travis dropped in a dunk to give the Lions their first lead of the game as the scoreboard read 5-3.
Another Jack three extended PSU’s lead to 8-3 momentarily until Zack sank a jumper, closing the gap to three. The Lions were able to maintain the advantage until a 3-pointer from Garland put the Explorers up 13-12. La Salle moved ahead by seven with 10:30 remaining in the half on a pair of free throws from Zack but Penn State did not back down, pulling within one on points from Newbill and Frazier.
The Blue and White regained the lead in the final minutes of the half but were unable to stop a red hot La Salle offense as Dunn drained another trey and Wright hammered in a dunk to put the Explorers ahead once again. A free throw from D.J.Peterson capped the scoring for the first half, bringing the count to 42-39 at the intermission.
The Nittany Lions came out of the break on a mission and found success immediately as Travis nailed a three on the first possession. The Explorers answered with a Tyreek Duren trey and the back-and-forth battle continued for the first nine minutes of the half.
A Jack layup put Penn State up 58-56 and signaled the final lead change of the contest with 10:34 remaining. La Salle came close to taking over a few minutes later as a Duren layup brought the Explorers within one, but they were unable to stop the Nittany Lion offense as Newbill and Taylor tallied a quick six points to increase Penn State’s lead to seven.
The Lions gained their largest lead of the game with two and half minutes to go after an explosive dunk by Frazier and a layup from Taylor brought the score to 75-64. PSU closed out the game with four points from Frazier and allowed just eight more points from La Salle, putting the final count at 79-72.
--Penn State Athletic Communications
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