STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) D.J. Newbill scored 17 points, freshman Shep Garner added 14 and Penn State defeated Morgan State 61-48 Friday night in the season-opener for both teams.
Geno Thorpe scored 11 for Penn State which sank 21 of 48 shots (43.8 percent). The Lions were 5 of 13 from 3-point range but four of them came in the second half to help them pull away from the Bears.
Morgan State was led by Cedric Blossom’s 10 points and Blake Bozeman’s 9.
The Bears shot just 18 of 58 from the field and were only 3 of 18 on their 3-point attempts.
Newbill also pulled down seven rebounds for Penn State. Brandon Taylor led the Lions with nine.
Garner came out firing to start the second half with his first 3-pointer for a nine-point Penn State lead.
Morgan State’s Zech Smith and Rasean Simpson pulled the Bears to within four. But Penn State countered with a Newbill jumper, a Thorpe layup off a baseline drive and a short jumper by Taylor to enable the Lions to pull away again.
The Bears’ shooters remained cold, and rebounds by Lions Taylor and Ross Travis enabled Penn State to hold Morgan State to one shot per possession.
Garner nailed another 3-pointer to push Penn State’s lead to 46-32. Travis and Donovon Jack each had slam-dunk attempts bounce off the rim between jumpers from the Bears’ Conrad Chambers.
Newbill’s 3-pointer and Thorpe’s slam off a fast-break made it 51-37, but Morgan State’s Smith and Blossom converted layups to pull the Bears to within 10. Blossom earlier took a Jordan Dickerson elbow to the nose and left the game for a few minutes.
Ten was as close as the Bears could get. Dickerson’s slam increased the lead to 12 and Newbill’s pair of free throws offset Bozeman’s jumper for Morgan State. But Thorpe’s 3 and another free throw from Newbill gave the Lions a 61-45 lead with 1:31 left to close it out.
Neither team was on-target in the first half. The Bears got 36 shots off but hit just 10. Penn State sank the same amount from 12 fewer shots but committed 11 turnovers.
The Lions trailed 14-8 as six Morgan State players scored the Bears’ first 14 points including four by 7-foot-3, 315-pound center Jordan Omogbehin.
Garner’s two-pointer and Newbill’s 3-point shot pulled Penn State to within two and Newbill tied it after laying in a fast break after a Morgan State turnover.
Buckets by Garner and John Johnson offset Jamar Redmond’s 3-pointer for a six-point halftime lead.