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Penn State Basketball Roundtable: Nittany Lions Avoid Disaster

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The Nittany Lions came back from a 16-point deficit to beat Yale on Saturday.

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

Penn State basketball is 5-0 for the second time under Pat Chambers. To get there, they had to come back from a 16-point deficit against Yale to come away with a 58-56 victory. Things seemed pretty easy up until that point, but it’s good to see that, when the team is tested, they are able to respond.

Q: Penn State came this close to having their WTF loss of the season this past weekend. What are your thoughts?

Clay: I said last week that Yale is good and would be dangerous. The reality is Penn State played like shit for 35 minutes against a solid team and won. That last part is the important. Prior editions of PSU lose that game by 10.

Rowen: Wasn’t able to watch the game, but I’m glad they fought back and avoided the L. More evidence that there’s something different about this team than in past years.

Eli: I’m not going to lie, with about 3 minutes left in the game, I was all but resigned to the WTF loss being a reality. Then Lamar Stevens and the gang said “not today Satan!” and pull a win out of their, uh, whatever. It was pretty exciting to see. Also ban post-football tipoffs thanks.

Q: What about Pat Chambers choosing to keep it at 98 against Bucknell?

Clay: Wack.

Rowen: Indifferent. The team was at 96 with 2:30 remaining and had multiple missed opportunities to reach 100, and more importantly they won comfortably. I’m much more concerned about the latter.

Eli: I’m OK with it. The team had plenty of opportunity to get to 100, and didn’t. I remember a time when Michigan, up by 20 maybe, decided to dunk the ball with less than 10 seconds left. Chambers called a timeout and you could see the anger in his face as the Wolverines seemingly rubbed it in. Not doing the same against another opponent shows Chambers has principles he sticks to.

Q: Who’s your player of the week?

Clay: Lamar Stevens

Rowen: Lamar Stevens. He took over the Bucknell game in the second half and looked the best he’s looked all season. Against Yale he was crucial to allowing Chambers to play small-ball in the comeback.

Eli: It has to be Lamar Stevens. If it weren’t for him, Penn State could have easily lost both games last week.

Q: Penn State is 5-0 for the second time under Chambers, but this one feels different. What’s different?

Clay: The Georgetown blowout. The Yale comeback. These aren’t things we’ve seen before.

Rowen: The team has been impressive but not flawless in their path to 5-0. There were two blowouts to open the season but since then things have gotten harder. They’ve won a tough road matchup and two games at home where the first half game plan was unsuccessful. What’s different so far is the team is winning even on off-nights, and winning big against the likes of Georgetown when the team is on.

Eli: The resiliency. Things are cool when things are going well, but when the going got tough the team showed what they’re made of.

Q: The Nittany Lions head to New York for the NIT Tip-off. What would you like to see in the coming week?

Clay: Don’t lose to Ole Miss.

Rowen: A bounce-back performance on offense and a championship.

Eli: I hate to get greedy, but Penn State hasn’t done well in these types of tournaments before. Can this be the year where they do?