It didn’t take long for Cincinnati to take control of the game. With Penn State playing without Josh Reaves, the margin of error was thin for the Lions. It got even thinner with two quick whistles. Lamar Stevens got two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, forcing him to the bench for most of the first half.
Cincinnati went on a 23-3 run midway through the first half that brought the lead to 32-10. A pair of Lamar Stevens free throws ended the run with 2:25 remaining in the opening half, but the damage was done. The Lions were able to carve into the twenty-point deficit with a late-period run and the teams went to halftime with a score of 34-19.
Mike Watkins had a solid first half for the Lions, grabbing 6 rebounds without committing a personal foul to go along with a steal and a block.
In the second half the Lions continued to play hard but were never able to make a serious threat to cut the lead to less than ten points.
Kyle Washington played a dominating low-post for Cincinnati, scoring 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 3 assists.
Troy Caupain contributed 12 points, 7 rebounds and a steal for Cincy.
For Penn State, Shep Garner was the lone consistent scorer, with 20 points. The rest of the Lions had trouble finding the range. Tony Carr chipped in 10 points. Lamar Stevens scored 8 points and had he stayed out of early foul trouble, could have contributed much-needed offense that the Lions were missing in the first half.
Four Factor Analysis
Penn State had a sweet number of possessions but the points per were not so sweet. The Lions forced a respectable 16 turnovers but coughed up 19 of their own. In a rare turn of events, Penn State found its way to the foul line more often than its opponent.
Player of the Game - Shep Garner (20 points, 4 rebounds)
While it was a struggle for the Lions to find consistent scoring, Garner was able to keep the team from going on lengthy droughts for the second half of the game. His leadership was on display more so by the way he carried himself on the court as the team was down big. As the Lions continued to hover around a twenty-point deficit, Garner played tenacious defense and continuously urged his younger teammates to follow suit. His example helped to keep the focus of the team on playing hard and made this loss a positive experience for the younger players on the team.
- When Lamar Stevens was on the court his athleticism matched that of any player on the Bearcats. His ability to create his own offense, and to be a menace while pressing, will be fun to watch as the season wears on. Penn State played all but a few minutes of the first half with Stevens sitting on the bench with two quick fouls. It will be nice to get the equally-athletic Josh Reaves back on the court this week to see what the team will look like with all weapons available to Pat Chambers.
- After allowing a game-changing run early in the game that resulted in a 20-point lead for the Bearcats, Penn State played a solid game. There were flashes of what our press will look like this season. The team created havoc against a solid Cincinnati team. This will be a serious weapon for Chambers this season.
- The Lions showed the depth it has, even without Josh Reaves, as ten players got playing time. One concerning point was the lack of production from Julian Moore. The team really needs the junior center to be able to play productive minutes this season. Moore contributed one rebound and three turnovers in limited minutes. Let’s hope he finds a groove prior to Big Ten play.
The Lions will return home in preparation for a Wednesday match-up with Colgate. The game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.