Penn State’s tough beginning of their schedule is starting to pay off, as they grab a road win against an experienced George Washington team to go back above .500 for the season. The game started well enough for the Lions, but their patented cold streak took over late in the first half. Penn State led 18-11 with a little over 10 minutes left in the first half, and scored five more points the rest of the way to go down 23-32.
They were able to recover in the second half, opening with a 15-2 run that gave Penn State the lead for good. The Nittany Lions had a lead as large as 10 in the second half, but George Washington was able to fight and kept the game within single digits the rest of the way, coming really close late. Penn State, however, was able to keep the Colonials at arm’s length the rest of the way, making clutch free throws to seal the win.
Four Factors Analysis
Penn State really needs to work on those turnovers. Luckily, George Washington had the same amount (and wasn’t able to capitalize on Penn State’s turnovers as the Lions did reversely), but they won’t keep getting lucky again. The Lions also edged out George Washington in the rebounding department —namely offensive rebounds, which is a welcome change from what they’d been doing in the past. Hopefully the trend continues.
Player of the Game: Mike Watkins - 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 blocks
Watkins was all over the court in this game. With Wantanabe out for George Washington, there wasn’t really much challenging Watkins in the post, and the stat sheet clearly displays it. Hopefully Watkins can use this as a springboard for the rest of the games, as he’d been missing in the past few.
Honorable mention: Lamar Stevens - 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks.
1) Road wins are always good. - After Penn State’s disastrous weekend in Connecticut, it’s good to see them leave Bryce Jordan and notch a win against a quality opponent.
2) Freshmen continue to grow - 50 of Penn State’s 74 points (and 21 of their 39 rebounds) came from the freshmen. As these guys continue to get comfortable with the college game, they’ll only get better. I for one can’t wait to witness their growth this season.
3) Non-con eases up. - There are two more games on the non-conference schedule expected to be challenging: Pitt and St. John’s. If Penn State can split those two, and take care of business against the rest, they could end up with the same non-con record they had last season, but against a much tougher set of opponents.
Penn State gets Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC challenge. Game will be played at Bryce-Jordan at 7 PM, and will be broadcast on ESPNU.