Penn State (13-5 overall 3-4 B1G) got great support at home from a lively crowd as they led for all but the opening couple minutes of the game. It was a strong performance for the team that was in need of a win after a few tough games.
Mike Watkins was the first player to come off the bench for coach Chambers, just three minutes into the game. Seth Lundy and John Harrar got their second consecutive start in place of Watkins and Myles Dread.
It didn’t take long for Lundy to make an impact. First he kept the rebound alive, tapping it out, then dove to the floor to get the loose ball. The silky-smooth freshman forward finished the play with a 3-point shot. Notice how cool he was once he got up off the floor. He ran hard to get into position but then slowed so that he would be under control once he crossed half court.
It was hustle plays such as that built Penn State’s 10-4 lead four minutes in. Myles Dread had an offensive rebound and put-back to get the lead to 11 points, forcing Ohio State to call a timeout with 10:22 to go before halftime. The lead got to 14 before the Buckeyes got a layup from Kaleb Wesson.
Wesson then hit a deep 3-point shot and then a layup to cut the lead to 23-16. Myreon Jones answered that one-man run with an outside shot of his own. Lamar Stevens got his second foul of the game, joining Mike Watkins who was already on the bench with two of his own, with 4:44 before halftime.
Myreon Jones and Seth Lundy each hit 3-point shots to help the Lions keep the lead with the two senior leaders on the bench. It was 42-27 at the half. Trent Buttrick played a few critical minutes at center to close out the half with Harrar, Stevens and Watkins on the bench with two fouls each. Buttrick ended the final OSU scoring threat of the half with a clean blocked shot.
It was the 5th blocked shot of the half, added to two each from Stevens and Lundy.
Lamar Stevens hit a turnaround jump shot on the first possession of the second half and then went down the court and got his third foul. He went back to the bench with less than a minute off the clock. Mike Watkins came into the game shortly after and picked up his third, then joined Stevens on the bench.
The fans inside the Bryce Jordan Center were very angry with the officiating. Of the six fouls called on Stevens and Watkins, only a couple were clearly fouls, the others were soft at best. It cost the Lions the use of two of their best players, and the fans the chance to watch them play.
The Lions went on a run, with the help of the fans and a Seth Lundy 3-pointer, to stretch to lead to the largest margin of the game to that point, 52-34, with both Watkins and Stevens on the bench.
In the first contest between the teams in Columbus, Kaleb Wesson beat the Lions almost by himself. That wasn’t going to happen this time. Check out the team defense from the tip on the entry pass.
Penn State took the lead to 20 with 15 minutes left on the strength of the depth of the supporting players. Ohio State chipped away at the lead. Lamar Stevens went to the bench again with 4 fouls and the Lions leading by 13 with 11 minutes to play. The lead was 17 a minute later and it remained that way when the teams went to the break with less than 8 minutes to play.
Ohio State couldn’t close the gap enough to put the outcome in doubt and the large festive crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center had a lot to celebrate for the rest of the game. It will be 11 days between home games, but when Indiana comes to town you can expect another packed house.
- The fans really showed up for the team today. The atmosphere was incredible inside the Bryce Jordan Center. It was a true home-court advantage when the guys really needed a boost, following a tough three-game stretch. It was nice to see the fans and team interacting and feeding off one another. The crowd was officially 14,785, the largest during Pat Chambers’ nine-year tenure.
- The energy that the team entered the game with was back to what we had seen at the start of the season. The fans had something to do with that but the players flicked the switch internally as well. Let’s hope that lull is behind the team.
- Seth Lundy set his career high in minutes played on Wednesday night during the first start of his career with 26. He set a new high today with 28 and we are beginning to get a glimpse of the talent, and dare I say Philly Swagger, that Lundy brings to the court.
- Myles Dread only played 11 minutes against Minnesota after being removed from the starting lineup. Dread hit a 3-pointer today to break a 3-game skid without one. He was 2 for his last 23 from three point land dating back five games, when his shooting woes began. Dread played nearly the amount of minutes he would have as a starter today and was a defensive menace as usual.
- It was the third win for the Lions against a ranked team and we are just now reaching the midway point of the season. In past years that stat may have been the highlight of the season. With the victory Penn State should take a step further from the NCAA Tournament bubble and into the 30’s in the Net Rankings, which will put some anxious fans at ease. It was a much-needed win to end a three-game losing streak.
The Lions will travel to Ann Arbor to take on the No. 19 Wolverines on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Michigan has beaten some pretty good teams this year (Gonzaga, Iowa) and while they have 5 losses, all have come against good teams (Louisville, Oregon, Illinois, MSU, Minnesota).
It will be a road conference game against a ranked team, so the Lions will not be projected to win. However, it is a game the team could win and that would even the conference record at 4-4.