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N.C. State 89, Penn State 78: Wolfpack Run Run Run

This was a much more fast-paced game than the Nittany Lions are used to.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State and North Carolina State, surprisingly, have a bit of a history to themselves. The Wolfpack led the series by a wide margin (17-3 wide, to be exact) coming into this game, which left an opportunity for the Nittany Lions to make an ever-so-slight dent into the series.

Like many games this season, Penn Sate started on a bit of a scoring run to take the early lead. Like many games this season, the Nittany Lions were not able to sustain that lead throughout the half. The Wolfpack made sure that the Lions were not comfortable from the get go, while maintaining their own pace of play. The 40 points scored by N.C. State are the most Penn State has allowed in a first half this season.

Matters got worse as Lamar Stevens picked up three fouls in the first half, which limited his play considerably throughout the contest. If that weren’t enough, the Lions compounded the issue by being just terrible from the free throw line yet again.

Despite Stevens being out most of the game, the Lions were able to keep somewhat of a pace through the middle of the second half. And then the wheels came off. Not having Stevens available for such a long time led to the all-patented Scoring Drought™, and with Penn State’s inability to stop the Wolf Pack to save their lives, the game simply got away from them.

Four Factors Analysis

The story here is simple. One team made their shots, the other one didn’t. It also helped that N.C. State grabbed 15 more defensive rebounds than Penn State. Don’t think too much about this one.

Players of the Game

Josh Reaves had a Josh Reaves game, and Rasir Bolton poured 25 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Stevens played like two minutes, but still managed 11 points.

Random Observations

Man that foul - Stevens’ third foul in the first half is one of the most questionable fouls you’ll see in a while. That meant sitting for a good portion of the second half with four fouls due to the one he picked up with 15 minutes left in the game. One can only wonder how things would have turned out if he were available longer...

Shooting the game away. Again. - Not that the Nittany Lions had any hopes of stopping N.C. State the way they were scoring, but going — for — from the line left way too many points on the floor for a team that needed every single one of them.

Almost there - Mike Watkins’ playing time is steadily increasing. Hopefully, by the time Big Ten play resumes, he’s ready to play a full game.

Looking Ahead

The Nittany Lions return home to face the Duquesne Dukes on Wednesday, December 19th, at 7:00 PM. Game will be available on CBS Sports Netwrok.