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Penn State 86, Oral Roberts 48: Nope, No Letdown, Here.

Penn State took out their frustrations on an overmatched Oral Roberts squad.

NCAA Basketball: Oral Roberts at Penn State
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a hard-fought defeat against Texas A&M in the Barclay’s Classic, one may have wondered if there would be any hangover effect lingering into what seemed to be the perfect recovery game against Oral Roberts. Tony Carr was very quick to extinguish those fears, opening the game with back-to-back three-pointers in the game’s first minute and the Nittany Lions, thanks to a barrage of turnovers (13 alone forced in the first half) and fast-break points (including the rare back-to-back-to-back Tom Emasnki style streak of layups from Jamari Wheeler), the Lions were quickly able to put this game out of reach before halftime, taking a 38-19 lead to the locker room.

The second half saw PSU picking up where they left off, with the Nittany Lions forcing their 14th turnover on ORU and Shep Garner finally getting on the board with a three-pointer of his own (Garner would finish with six points on two three-pointers made). Wheeler would get a couple more fast-break layups and hit a free throw to propel himself into his first-ever career double-digit scoring effort (hopefully with many more to come). Here’s a steal by Wheeler with a nice finish by Mike Watkins.

When it was all said and done, the Lions came away with a cathartic final result, 86-48. This was precisely the type of game they needed to maintain their confidence going into a tough road stretch at NC State and Iowa next week.

PPP and Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 65 1.33 64 40.7 15.5 33.3
Oral Roberts 0.74 38.6 34.1 27.8 12.3

Despite leading the OReb% category, PSU actually got out-rebounded on the offensive glass, 14-11. However, that’s due to Oral Roberts shooting the ball poorly as evidenced by PSU’s dominance in the efficient FG% category. Getting countless fast-break layups will also do wonders for a team’s Points Per Possession numbers. While PSU could have done a better job from the free throw line, hitting only 13 of their 19 attempt, they were still way better than ORU’s putrid 6-for-16 at the line.

Player Of The Game - Jamari Wheeler (14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists)

Last year, when Tony Carr was forced to go the bench, it meant a huge dropoff in production at the point guard position. Jamari Wheeler showcased today why this is no longer the case, as he was all over the passing lanes, garnering five of PSU’s 14 total steals and scoring a bevy of layups along with his first collegiate three-pointer, to boot. While it would be silly to expect regular performances like these, Wheeler could provide some critical minutes off the bench during the Big Ten slate that will help make the difference between a win and a loss in a league where there is little margin for error.

Random Observations

  • Those other ‘Wild Dogs’: Sean Spencer would be proud of how aggressive PSU was defensively, forcing 18 total turnovers (13 of them in the first half). Mike Watkins also had three of six total team blocks for the Lions.
  • Spreading The Wealth: Another major difference between this team and ones from years’ past is that there is no single player or two that is depended on to provide the bulk of the scoring. Case in point: Today, Wheeler and Nazeer Bostick were the team’s leading scorers with 14 points each off the bench. Carr and Josh Reaves added 13 and 10 points, respectively, while Watkins and Lamar Stevens both had eight points. I realize I’m repeating myself here, but if PSU is able to spread the scoring wealth around like this, it will do wonders for them when they hit the heart of the Big Ten slate.

Up Next

Penn State (6-1) will get a well-deserved five-day break before hitting the road again to take on NC State as part of the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That game will tip-off on Wednesday, November 29th at 7:15 PM ET on ESPNU.