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Penn State 74, George Washington 54: Lions Cruise To Victory

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The Nittany Lions led wire to wire in the contest.

NCAA Basketball: George Washington at Penn State Linsey Fagan-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State went back to the non-conference schedule after taking a two game break to start Big Ten play. After nearly completing the 17-point comeback against Wisconsin, Penn State hosted the George Washington Colonials in the final game of a four game series, renewal yet to be determined. The Nittany Lions started exactly like they have in most games. They opened up a double-digit lead fairly early in the game. However, unlike plenty of other games, this would not be a lead they’d relinquish in any way shape or form.

Ten minutes into the game, Penn State was already up 17 points, leading 24-7, and well on their way to dominating the rest of the way. The Colonials aren’t exactly the team that made the tournament a few years ago (or even the one who had a deep NIT run not long ago), but they’re by no means a pushover, having beaten Temple recently, who, as we all know, just beat Wisconsin. To put them away so quickly and soundly is impressive, even if they were expected to win by a comfortable margin.

Four Factors Analysis

PPP and Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 67 1.32 61.4% 35.5% 15.0% 40.4%
Coppin State 0.64 36.4% 11.8% 27.0% 30.4%

Analysis, here, is being used lightly. The numbers paint a clear picture here, but the game was even clearer. The first 10 minutes of the second half made the numbers a little better for George Washington, but this was a domination from start to finish.

Penn Stae’s aggressive approach led to more opportunities at the line for the Colonials, but the substantially better field goal rate more than made up for it, let a lone the second change opportunities the Lions took.

Players of the Game

Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves were a one-two punch for most of the game, doing most of the dirty work as the rest of the cast pitched in as well. Watkins had his second double-double of the season in this game.

Random Observations

Is it confidence, or a derivative of - When Penn State plays a team they know they’re substantially better than, they play loose, they share the ball, they let the offense do what it’s supposed to. When they don’t think they’re as good as the competition, or rather, when they don’t know if they are, they play tight. This game and the one on Monday are complete opposites of each other. Ironic, as previous, less talented teams, always believed they could compete with anyone.

Free throw shooting is still a problem - Penn State went 9-16 from the free throw line today. It didn’t cut it against NC State, and it won't cut it against the rest of the Big Ten.

Press State - The Nittany Lions applied pressure all game, which had everything to do with George Washington not reaching double-digits until 4:16 in the first half. The press has worked wonders multiple times when they have needed to come back from deficits. It works even better when they do it all the time.

Keep the foot on the gas - Penn State had a 29-point lead at halftime. The Lions played disinterested early in the second, and George Washington was able to cut the lead down to as little as 20. Fortunately, the lead was too large to overcome regardless, and Penn State finally woke up midway into the second half.

Looking Ahead

Penn State next plays at the other George, Mason. That one will tip off on Sunday, December 17, at 4:00 PM Eastern. Network TBD.