Penn State holds off La Salle

Pat Chambers and Penn State will visit Pitt as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge next season. (Abby Drew/Centre Daily Times/AP file photo)
Pat Chambers and Penn State will visit Pitt as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge next season. (Abby Drew/Centre Daily Times/AP file photo)
Posted: November 21, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - La Salle guard Tyreek Duren had two teammates flanking him and just one Penn State defender in front of him on a breakaway Tuesday night.

With 4 minutes, 22 seconds remaining, Duren did not pass the ball, and Penn State guard D.J. Newbill, the Strawberry Mansion graduate, blocked his layup. The Nittany Lions (3-1) countered with a successful breakaway, closing the book on La Salle at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Explorers lost, 79-72.

Penn State had been on a 6-0 run, and La Salle's three-on-one was its last chance to regain momentum in a game that had many lead changes.

"I think it was everything," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "I think we struggled to score, we struggled to stop them. I don't think it was any one thing. I think they really outplayed us in that stretch. I wish I could pin it on one thing."

Giannini added that he would have liked to have seen the Explorers work the ball more to 6-foot-11 center Steve Zack, who opened the game strong offensively. His production tapered as the game went on, but he still finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"Coming out strong is something we want to do every game as a team; it just so happened I was the one getting the ball in the net," Zack said.

The game was often a tale of two big men, as Zack set the pace for the Explorers in the paint while Penn State forward Donovon Jack exploded offensively from the outside. Zack said he had no idea that Jack, who swished four from beyond the arc to score 18 points, had such a smooth jumper.

La Salle guard Tyrone Garland also scored 18, often keeping the Lions on their heels. But it wasn't enough for the Explorers to overcome Penn State's defensive effort.

"I think we're going to be fine; we do have to get a little bit better," Giannini said. "We have good players with good attitudes. We've lost before and found our stride, and that's what we have to do again."

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