Brandon Taylor’s Second Half Explosion Lifts Penn State Over DePaul
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lions jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back, never trailing at home Tuesday night. Penn State improved to 2-0 while they earned coach Pat Chambers his 100th career win with a 68-62 victory against the DePaul Blue Demons, part of the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff games.
Shep Garner and Josh Reaves set a tone early allowing Penn State to go up early off of three consecutive turnovers that translated into fastbreak points.
Brandon Taylor was the leading scorer, tallying 22 points, with 19 in the second half.
Taylor was stuck on the bench for most of the first half in foul trouble and had not taken a shot until a buzzer-beating 3-pointer before halftime.
“It was a big shot. Payton (Banks) found me, and I think those three points go to him,” Taylor said. “That was just good momentum.”
When the teams came back out after the half, Taylor built on that momentum and caught fire scoring the team’s first eight points in just two minutes. Of his 22 points, just over half of them came on 3-pointers.
Shooting from beyond the arc ended up being a difference maker in this matchup. Each team shot similarly from the field, but the Nittany Lions were able to make eight more three pointers than the Blue Demons. Taylor accounting for four of Penn State’s 10 three’s made.
Taylor made a couple big plays to keep the momentum in favor of the hometown Lions. After the Lions went on a four-minute scoring drought, Taylor was able to hit a jumper and would later get to the free throw line with Penn State’s lead down to just three.
Although every shot Taylor put up seemed to be pivotal to the Lions, no shot was bigger then his final three. After nailing one from behind the arc with 44 seconds left and going up by seven, the game seemed out of reach for the Blue Demons.
“I just tried to keep focus the whole time I was sitting in foul trouble,” Taylor said.
Taylor, a senior, was named a captain this year and showed his leadership ability through both communication and focus in the second half.
Chambers touched on Taylor’s improved play, “It’s a very different demeanor [he’s playing with]. Shoulders back, head up…power clap and move on to the next play.”
This was the first time Penn State faced DePaul in 31 years and was also their first win in their series with DePaul, making the series stand at 6-1 now.
Penn State will take a short road trip for their next game visiting the Duquesne Dukes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Friday.
Mark Fagnani is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, firstname.lastname@example.org