The second game in the three-game summer tour took place on Tuesday night. The competition was as step down from the previous opponent, and the score showed it.
Penn State opened up a 15-point lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter (10-minute quarters, remember), and the lead only kept growing from there. This game served as a learning opportunity for the younger guys, who got a lot more run than they did in the first game against the NPBA All-Stars. Trent Buttrick played seven minutes, John Harrar 12 and a half, and Jamari Wheeler is starting to prove he’ll provide solid minutes during the season.
What was notable in this game is that the Nittany Lions did not let up in the second half, even though they were already up 27 by that point. This is what Pat Chambers had to say about his team’s attitude:
Today's game was awesome for the mental conditioning and mental mindset of habits. We haven't been in the position where we have a lead of 20, 30, 40 points, so, can we play the same way for all four quarters? That was the goal. We don't want our guys to look at the score, we want to play one way, and that's it.
The Lions shot 54.9 percent for the game, and allowed the Storm a 36.1 percent clip from the field. The rebounding was no different, with Penn State grabbing a 50-26 on that edge.
As mentioned above, this team is a clear step down in competition from the previous one, but a 50-point win is impressive nonetheless. At the very least, the score is indicative of what a decent team should to to a clearly overmatched opponent.
All that said, not everything was good news for the team. Penn State had 17 turnovers in this game, which is substantially fewer than they did on Sunday, but you still want to see that number down, especially against lesser competition. Free throw percentage is a little down too, with more than one player shooting under the desirable 70% clip you want to see. Hopefully those two things get addressed during practice.
A few notes on players:
Tony and Sheppy done did it again: Shep Garner and Tony Carr combined for 50 of Penn State’s 112 points, Garner having 28 and Carr 22. Garner went 7-14 from three-point land, Carr 4-7.
The new bigs look big: Buttrick and Harrar look like freshmen right now, but both showed the ability the coaches probably saw in them as recruits. They probably won’t contribute much this season, but the reason won’t be because they’re not capable of doing so. Which leads me to my next point...
Satchel Pierce will be a capable player: With Julian Moore unable to play and Mike Watkins not even in the building, Pierce once again took the bulk of the minutes in the post. He once again had double-digit rebounds (10) and went 2 of 3 from the free-throw line. I think it’s safe to say that the feeling of dread we all felt when Watkins came off the court last season will be relieved this time around.
Not to be left out: Josh Reaves, Lamar Stevens, and Jamari Wheeler also had pretty good games, scoring 14, 13, and 16 points respectively. Reaves, as always, was all over the court with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Wheeler wasn’t far behind with two rebounds, three assists, and a steal of his own, while Stevens had seven, three and two.
Also, Mike Watkins once again tweeted out in support of the team, and looks to have a head on his shoulders regarding what he needs to do to succeed:
I miss my guys sorry I couldn't be there everyone makes mistake just gotta learn from it. Go out there and get that win Fellas #ClimbWithUs— BallinLike_Mike (@LIONKING_AKA_KG) August 8, 2017
This is definitely what you want to see from a guy who, for all intents and purposes, should be fairly upset about his current situation. Good on Watkins.
Penn State’s last game of the tour is on Wednesday night against the Bahamas All-Stars. The competition should once again ramp up, so expect a more competitive game this time around. Tip is at 7 PM Eastern, and the Penn State Hoops twitter account should have a link to the live stream when available (or, you can open up a tab with the 10-Year Seniors youtube account, and wait for them to put the game on the queue).