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Penn State vs Duquesne Preview: Nittany Lions Look For First Win

The Dukes are not the same team that beat Penn State last season, but the Lions can’t be caught sleeping.

NCAA Basketball: Albany at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Duquesne Dukes
When: 6:00pm Sunday, November 13
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: BTN
KenPom Rank: 174
Vegas Line: Penn State -10

The Nittany Lions get ready for their second game of the season against the Duquesne Dukes at 6 PM on Sunday. Penn State is coming off a loss in their season opener against Albany, while the Dukes avoided an upset of their own against Loyola (Maryland). Penn State will look to avoid starting 0-2 in the season, as their upset loss has already put them behind the eight ball, with the schedule only toughening up as we go. They’ll also look to avoid losing two straight against Duquesne, as they beat the Nittany Lions in Pittsburgh last season.

Scouting the Opposition

The good news for Penn State is that this isn’t the same Duquesne team that torched the Nittany Lions for 17 threes last season. The Dukes lost a considerable amount of production from that team. Gone are sharpshooters Derrick Colter, Micah Mason, and Jeremiah Jones, who combined for 13 of Duquesne’s 17 threes last season. Duquesne coach Jim Ferry, however, was able to get a few transfers in to make up for the departures. Tarin Smith, a Nebraska transfer, looks to be one they’ll heavily depend on this season. Smith saw 33 minutes of action against Loyola (MD), scoring 13 points on 33% FG. Darius Lewis returns from last season, and played 20 minutes in their last time out. Graduate transfer Emile Blackman is also a name to remember, as he spent the most time on the floor (34 minutes). Having only one game under their belts, and with so many new faces, it’s hard to pinpoint other players in their roster, but the Lions will want to watch out for those three at all times.

What to Watch For

Look for Penn State to play more aggressively on defense. When they pushed the pressure against Albany, it threw them off their rhythm and allowed the Lions to get back int he game. They need to do that from the start against Duquesne. If the Dukes are allowed to get comfortable, especially from the perimeter, it could be another long day for the Nittany Lions.

On the other side of the ball, Penn State needs to start faster. Some of the offensive inefficiency in the last game can be blamed on inexperience, as three first-year players were on the floor for the bulk of the game. Include Terrence Samuel, who hasn’t played in a while due to sitting out a year, and you can make a case for rust settling in. As the freshmen spend more time in the college game, they will undeniably get better. This will be another game in that process.

Mike Watkins are Julian Moore are our options on the post right now, and Watkins pulled his part. It’s now time for Moore to put up or shut up. In a game against a shorter team, this should be a great opportunity for Moore to get into his groove.

Prediction

There will still some growing pains, as this will still be the second college game for three of our five starters. I expect to see the same jitters as the Albany game, but everyone settles in much sooners than they did in that game, and the weight is lifted off Shep Garner and Payton Banks’ shoulders. Penn State 78, Duquesne 69