David Jackson added 11 points and five boards for the Nittany Lions, who started a season 2-0 for the sixth straight time under head coach Ed DeChellis.
Penn State capitalized on poor first-half shooting by Saint Joseph's (0-2) as the Hawks had an eight-minute drought without a field goal. The Nittany Lions went on a 17-6 run with more than seven minutes left in the half, highlighted by six points from Brooks for a 30-19 halftime lead.
Both teams struggled from behind the arc, with Saint Joseph's finishing 4 of 21 and Penn State at 1 of 21. The Nittany Lions' only 3 came from Jackson on their first possession of the game.
Idris Hilliard led Saint Joseph's with 13 points and six rebounds.
The Hawks had 11 turnovers and made just five field goals in the first half. But they managed to stay within 11 at the half, in part by going 8 of 9 at the free-throw line.
A 3 by Carl Jones with 5 minutes left brought the Hawks within six, but Penn State pulled away down the stretch, in spite of hitting just 8 of 16 from the foul line.
"In the second half, there was actually some basketball played," Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli said, "but the first half couldn't have been fun to watch."
Penn State's struggles came in the second half.
After completing their first-half run to put go up by 11, the Nittany Lions played sloppy in the second half, shooting just 8 of 24 from the field with nine turnovers.
Once again, the bright spot was Brooks, who scored 12 points in the second half.
"I thought he played well," DeChellis said of Brooks. "You can tell he's playing with more confidence, energy and emotion. I thought that was really important. Brooks was good tonight, he was really good."