It appears this team is borrowing something from their neighbors across the street. Penn State used another second half surge to put away Wright State, after having a undesirable first half.
The game started decently enough for the Lions, as they took a 7-3 lead early in the game. Then the shooting woes began for both teams. Despite the cold shooting, the Lions found themselves up 12 with about 9 minutes left in the first half. Penn State then hit one of their patented cold shooting stretches, which allowed Wright State to tie the game at 26 with 1:20 left in the half. A Payton Banks three-pointer gave the Nittany Lions the halftime lead. An amazing defensive half was essentially wasted by Penn State’s inability to consistently make buckets, and thanks the heavens for halftimes, as the Lions looked like they were in real trouble had the half not ended.
For as bad as that first half was offensively, the second half more than made up for it. Penn State went on an early 13-2 run that would all but put the game away for the Lions. The closest it ever got after that run was 13 points, with about 14 minutes left in the game. By the time it was all said and done, multiple walk-ons saw time on the floor in the closing minutes.
Four Factors Analysis
Before I say anything about the numbers, I just want to point out that Wright State is 6-3, just like Penn State. That said, dear lord were the Raiders terrible on the floor today. A .66 PPP is just dreadful, and ended up inflating some rebounding numbers, but the deficiencies here were across the board.
Penn State is not completely off the hook, however. They got out rebounded in the offensive glass in this game, and 16 turnovers is way too many turnovers. I sound like a broken record, but they need to clean up those turnovers if they want to perform better against the tougher teams on the schedule.
That said, it’s encouraging to see that FT rate creep up more and more with each passing game, as the Nittany Lions are still strong at the line despite today’s performance.
Player of the game: Josh Reaves - 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Since coming back from his leg injury, Reaves has made the difference in these Nittany Lions. Penn State is 4-0 with Reaves on the lineup, and it’s no coincidence why. The defense is infinitely better with him in the game. Reaves also seems to be finding his stroke from beyond the arc, as this is his second straight game with a three-pointer made.
Honorable mention: Mike Watkins - 8 points, 9 rebounds, 8 blocks, 1 steal.
1) Penn State likes to play halves. - Both the basketball and football team seem to spot the opposition the first half, then completely dominate in the second. As long as it keeps leading to wins, it’s fine with me. It’s probably driving Pat Chambers insane, however.
2) Garner rounding back to form. - The junior has been quiet to start the season, not because he hasn’t performed on the floor, but because all the attention has gone to the freshmen. Garner does lead the team in points, however, and scored a solid 17 tonight. The fact that we’re not hearing about Garner all the time is a good sign for the Lions.
3) It was enjoyable to just sit back and relax. - Games are a lot more fun when the expected outcome happens. Knowing that Penn State wasn’t going to lose this game, two minutes into the second half, must have been twice as relaxing for Pat Chambers as it was for me.
Penn State gets another quick turnaround, as they host George Mason on Wednesday, December 7th. Game is at 7 PM and will be broadcast on BTN.