Frazier, Penn State Continue Strong Defensive Play in Win over Radford

Audio posted November 15, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Dan Smith

The Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) used another strong defensive effort to defeat the Radford Highlanders (2-1, 0-0 Big South) by a score of 62-46 in the first game for both teams in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday night.

Junior guard Tim Frazier led the way for the Nittany Lions with a double-double, scoring 20 points while running the point with 10 assists.

“You have to respect Tim Frazier,” said Penn State head coach Pat Chambers. “If you don’t, he’s going to hurt you.”

Frazier gave Radford’s defense fits, shooting 9-14 from the field. Radford head coach Mike Jones credited this to his ability to get to the basket.

“He did a good job taking advantage of our post guys,” said Jones. “He just went by those guys left and right. Not one time did we force him to pull up and take a jump shot.”

Freshman guard Trey Lewis looked good in his first start as a Nittany Lion, putting in nine points, including two three-pointers. And freshman forward Jon Graham played with greater confidence off the bench, scoring seven points.  

“I relaxed,” Graham said, comparing Saturday night’s game against Hartford with Monday’s. “Coach has been trying to tell me that since summer time. I just settled myself down. I know how to play this game and just have to do it.”

Chambers said he met and chatted with Graham on Sunday, emphasizing those teaching points.
“I was so happy for him,” said Chambers. “You have to play with confidence. If you play with confidence and a clear head, it shows. He’s a good player.”

The Nittany Lions continued to look strong on the defensive end of the floor. Frazier had seven rebounds and three steals, while senior forward Cammeron Woodyard contributed seven boards and a blocked shot. Graham also had two steals and four rebounds in the win.

“From day one, that’s the identity we wanted to establish,” said Graham. “A tough, grinding scrappy kind of team.”

Radford came out of the gate shooting the ball well. Sophomore guard Jareal Smith knocked down his first two three-point attempts of the game and the Highlanders jumped out to an 11-5 lead. Smith finished the game with 16 points to lead Radford.

Radford’s lead would be short lived as Penn State went on a 14-0 run led by Tim Frazier and Jon Graham, who combined for nine points on the run. They would maintain the momentum and take a 29-20 lead into halftime.

“We got beat by a team that wanted it more,” said Jones. “Our focus was winning the better part of the 50-50 plays. I think they did better than we did and they got a lot of those balls.”

The Nittany Lions came out firing in the second half, with threes by Billy Oliver, Trey Lewis and Cammeron Woodyard on the team’s first three shots. The team would lead by as many as 17 in the second half and relied on their defense to then put away the Highlanders.

The game also marked the return of sophomore guard Jermaine Marshall to the lineup for Penn State. Marshall had been previously suspended for violating team rules. Chambers said that he decided Sunday that Marshall was ready to return to the lineup.

“We did some individual workouts the past few weeks,” Chambers said. “And he’s gotten better and better. He’s working hard in the classroom. He has got to earn that jersey, and he got it.”

The players rallied around Marshall, who, despite playing less than a minute, contributed a steal on his first defensive possession.

“It’s great to have him back,” said Frazier. “He did everything we wanted him to do.”

“I thought it was an inspiration tonight,” Chambers said.

With two games under his belt as Penn State’s head coach, Chambers said the team still has to make a lot of improvements.

“We have a long way to go,” he said. “We’re tapping at that stone. We’re getting it more in practice than we do in games. But when these lights are on and these people are in the stands, it just doesn’t transfer yet. They’ll get there.”

Penn State continues the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Wednesday as they play host to Long Island. That game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on ComRadio.

Dan Smith is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and is ComRadio’s Executive Editor. To contact him, email des5249@psu.edu.