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Penn State 97, Canisius 67: Lions Overcome Early Scare

Lions found themselves down early, but took over in the second half to run away with it.

Dec 18, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard/forward Seth Lundy (1) dribbles the ball around the outside of Canisius Golden Griffins guard Jordan Henderson (3) during the first half at Bryce Jordan Center. Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly looked like this portion of the game preview would come true early in the game:

How will the Lions look with a week off, after scoring a massive upset? Penn State finished playing what is arguably their toughest road game of the season, and scored a victory. One would assume that a week off would allow the Lions to come back down to earth and play focused against an inferior opponent. Will it happen? We shall see.

In the first 10 minutes of the game, it certainly looked like Penn State still needed to ground themselves and play focused basketball. Canisius built up a nine-point lead off 7-of-10 shooting. The Golden Griffins would cool off a bit as the half continued, but were still shooting 63% from the field at the 10-minute mark. That, however, is when the Lions finally woke up.

As Penn State’s shooting started to pick up, Canisius’s started to go off the rails, and a nine-point deficit at the 13-minute mark turned into a seven-point lead with 3:19 left to play. The Griffins would battle back to make it a six point deficit, 36-42 game at the half.

Penn State kept the same intensity (and great shooting) from the first half, and started on a 7-0 run that would eventually turn into a 15-5 run, that, by the time the first media timeout would hit, would turn into a 20-point, spread-covering lead. It was all a formality from there.

Player of the Game

Kebba Njie - 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal

The usual suspects had usual suspect kind of games (Andrew Funk scored 15 points in the second half alone), but Njie took a big steps in becoming the kind of big man Penn State needs moving forward.

Random Observations

Lundy down - Seth Lundy went down while making a play in the second half and did not come back. He landed awkwardly on his right foot, which he in turn twisted. He was back on the bench after going to the locker room, so hopefully it does not lead to an extended absence.

Freshman minutes - After a certain point in the game, four of the five freshmen for the Lions were all on the floor at once —Demetrius Lilley, Jameel Brown, Kanye Clary, and Evan Mahaffey got the bulk of the garbage time minutes, as Kebba Njie got got well deserved rest after a good outing. Only when the walk-ons started getting some run, did any of the freshmen come off the floor.

Looking Ahead

Penn State plays its first of two makeup games from the covid cancellations last season, as they host Quinnipiac on Thursday, December 22nd. Game is at 8:30 PM on either the B1G Network or B1G+.