As his team was getting hammered with both injuries and three-pointers, Talor Battle delivered blow after blow of his own.
The senior scored 31 points Saturday, carrying Penn State to a 77-73 win over Duquesne at the Bryce Jordan Center despite injuries to Nittany Lion forwards David Jackson and Billy Oliver as well as a 14-31 performance from beyond the arc by the Dukes.
Battle was hitting from all parts of the court against the Dukes. He was 5-8 from three point territory and found ways to score off the dribble as well. It was a performance teammate Jeff Brooks was grateful for.
"With T being hot from the perimeter, and getting to the cup as well, it was a big contribution for us," Brooks said. "I have always appreciated [Battle's play]. It takes more heat off the other guys. He opens it up for us."
The senior forward didn't have a bad night himself against the Dukes. After a slow start in the first half, Brooks finished with a line of 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. It was a performance even more magnified by Jackson and Oliver's respective absences.
Jackson went down after being fouled underneath in the first half. He was taken to the hospital for tests and x-rays. Results were normal. Oliver was injured in a big collision under the basket in the second half as Brooks, looking to block a shot, got knocked head-over-heals on top of Oliver and Duquesne's B.J. Monteiro. Brooks remained in the game and Monteiro returned later, but after a short trip to the locker room, Oliver spent the rest of the game on the bench.
Coach Ed DeChellis said after the game that neither player is expected to see action on Tuesday when Penn State hosts Mount St. Mary's at the Jordan Center and both are questionable for the Virginia Tech game next Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.
The injuries reflected upon what was a pretty physical affair. In total, 45 fouls were called and many players could be seen getting up slowly after heavy contact.
"They played pretty physical," Battle said. "People were getting hurt left and right, nothing intentional obviously, just two teams playing hard. That's what basketball is. Hopefully those two guys that got banged up on our team will be alright."
Battle said he thought some of the physicality was a result of Duquesne's quick pace, while DeChellis was surprised by it. Nevertheless, Penn State now faces the prospects of playing its next game with a fairly short bench as a result.
Fortunately for the Lions, though, it appears a couple players are prepared to pick up the slack with Jackson and Oliver, both players who see significant minutes in the front court, missing against Mount St. Mary's. Freshman guard Tre Bowman saw 17 minutes on Saturday evening, easily the most of his young career, and contributed six points, two rebounds and an assist as Penn State shifted to a three guard lineup in the second half, one Duquesne coach Ron Everhart credited for breaking his team's press and turning around a 33-30 halftime deficit.
Guard Tim Frazier and forward Andrew Jones posted numbers above their season averages as well, scoring seven and eight points respectively. Battle was especially pleased with Bowman's performance of the bench.
"Tre played great," Battle said. "This is his first significant minutes how he was coming and playing and attacking the rim and making some plays so I'm happy for Tre."