STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State coach Patrick Chambers sees potential in his guard Jermaine Marshall, giving him a tougher time than any other player on his roster.
Chambers’ tough love seems to have proved worthwhile, as Marshall scored 18 points to give Penn State a 58-47 win over Pennsylvania in men’s basketball on Saturday.
“Out of anybody on this team, I’m all over him because I have a vision of who he should be and who he can become,” Chambers said of Marshall. “And he’s slowly starting to head that way.”
With standout guard Tim Frazier out for the season with a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, the Nittany Lions have been searching early in the season for a worthy replacement to run the team at point guard.
Marshall and sophomore D.J. Newbill have shared time at the position so far this season. Marshall has been filling the void in scoring production as of late by leading the Nittany Lions in scoring over the past three games.
Marshall was fouled hard by Jamal Lewis on a breakaway with just under two minutes remaining. Lewis was ejected from the game after receiving a flagrant foul, and Marshall hit both free throws to give Penn State a 54-44 lead.
The Nittany Lions (4-3) didn’t look back from there, outscoring the Quakers 9-3 during the stretch.
“It’s a part of the game,” Marshall said. “He didn’t want to give up a bucket. It’s a part of the game, a good, hard foul.”
When asked about his consistent contributions Marshall instead focused on team’s production as a whole.
“It’s important for me, but not just me, and the team,” Marshall said. “Certain guys, like D.J. bring it every game. (It’s) everybody.”
Penn (2-6) never led in the second half, but kept Penn State’s lead in the single digits for much of the half. A pair Dau Jok free throws at the 7:26 mark cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to four.
Tony Hicks led the Quakers with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Center Fran Dougherty carried a team-high 18.6 points per game into Saturday’s contest, but was limited to just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.
“To be honest with you, they didn’t do a great job of being who they are,” said Quakers coach Jerome Allen. “In their defense, maybe I need to do a better job of putting them in a better position to be successful. But at the end of the day, when it’s time to compete you can throw the X’s and O’s out of the window.”
Penn State’s Jon Graham hit a pair of short-range shots from the paint on back-to-back possessions with a little more than five minutes remaining to put the Nittany Lions ahead by 10.
Penn quickly called a timeout, and Chambers hugged Graham on the sideline while the crowd cheered in the Bryce Jordan Center.
“I love the kid so much,” Chambers said of Graham. “And he just wants to please and wants to play so hard and do the right things. I know his confidence was down and because he’s a great defender and I believe in him, that’s why I put him back in the game with (a few minutes to go).”
The Nittany Lions took a 31-22 lead into the half after shooting 8-of-17 from the floor. That hot shooting continued into the second half as Penn State shot 42.9 percent (18-of-42) in the game.
Chambers’ squad took advantage of 26 fouls by the Quakers, shooting 17-of-23 from the line. The Nittany Lions were 7-of-9 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes.
Ross Travis scored three of his seven points over that span to keep the Quakers close in the final minutes. Travis, who entered Saturday ranked third in the Big Ten with 7.7 rebounds per game, added a team-high eight boards.
"(Ross is) playing hard with confidence,” said Newbill. “Coach tells us all the time to be a player and that’s what he’s doing. He’s been working on his shot a lot and straight line drives to the bucket and he was able to do that today.”