Penn State played a very uneven game but was able to hang in for the win. In the first half the Lions struggled to put the ball in the basket, and as a result, the score was much closer than the competition appeared to be on the court. With a young team as Penn State has, it is understandable that there will be ups and downs, especially early in the season. This game was exactly that. There were spurts where the team looked great, and other times when it seemed lost on the court, struggling to find cohesion as a unit.
The first half was very competitive until late in the period. Colgate got out to a 5 for 9 start from three point range, which kept the team in the game. Penn State was trailing 21-15 before it went on a 15 point run. The teams went to the half with a score of 30-23.
Payton Banks scored 13 points off a 4 for 6 performance from behind the arc, and Tony Carr added 7 points to keep the Lions on track in the opening period. With just under three minutes remaining in the half, freshman power forward Mike Watkins took a pass from Terrence Samuel under the hoop and ignored the surrounding Colgate defense for an easy dunk.
The second half went back and forth until the midway point when Penn State took control. The teams were separated by just four points, 50-46, with just under 8 minutes left in the game when Penn State began to open up the lead. Terrence Samuel and Shep Garner hit consecutive three point shots. Colgate would hang close for a couple of minutes but by the 4:34 mark the Lions had a lead at 61-51.
Payton Banks put an exclamation point on the run on the next possession when he took the ball at the three point line. Having had success from that range for the entire game, finishing 4 of 9 from outside, Colgate was forced to rush out to cover it. Instead Banks put the ball on the floor and took it to the hoop, finishing off the backboard and completing the old-fashioned three-point play.
Colgate played hard until the finish and that kept the score close. Penn State was able to hit the late-game free throws to maintain a double-digit lead and hold on for the 72-59 win.
Four Factor Analysis
Led by Terrence Samuel, who went 7-8 from the foul line, Penn State attempted 21 free throws compared to Colgate’s 10 attempts. The Lions also forced 17 turnovers while committing just 9 of their own. Penn State dominated on the offensive glass, with 16 offensive rebounds compared to Colgate’s 4.
Player of the Game- Terrence Samuel (16 pts, 5 rebounds, 3 assists)
Samuel played the most complete game of any player on the floor. His steady play settled the team down when it was looking disorganized in the first half. He hit a few foul-line jumpers to keep the Penn State offense moving along when it was having trouble finding a rhythm. Samuel’s maturity and intangibles don’t always show up in the box score but tonight they did.
- Lamar Stevens got into first-half foul trouble for the second game in a row, which limited him to only 6 minutes played in the first half. Josh Reaves got his first playing time of the year coming off the bench. The team will be better served once Stevens and Reaves are able to play significant minutes together. Each player can create their own scoring chances, and with the two on the court at the same time, teams will be forced to leave perimeter shooters wide open to stop Stevens and Reaves when they drive to the basket.
- The opponent was not as formidable as what the Lions will face in the coming months, but it was nice to see that low-post players Mike Watkins and Julian Moore were able to stay out of foul trouble. While Colgate did not have the personnel to challenge the pair of PSU forwards in the half-court, the pair of big men have not helped opponents by taking silly fouls. While Big Ten teams will surely force the issue on the low-post when they face the Lions, it will be important for Watkins and Moore to refrain from helping out by taking reach-in fouls or other ill-advised plays.
- Tony Carr is quietly off to a great start for PSU. He scored 14 points, helping keep the Lions in the game when they struggled to find points in the first half. With Josh Reaves coming back into the lineup, and Terrence Samuel emerging as a leader for the team on the court, Carr could settle into a comfortable role as the season progresses, able to stay out of the limelight but still contribute as much as any other player.
The Lions will travel to Washington, D.C. to take on George Washington on Saturday. The game will be played at 4 p.m. as the Penn State versus Michigan State football game unfolds. The game is available for free on the Colonial’s online stream network.