Tipping off approximately 16.5 hours before the biggest football game of the year just across the street, Penn State took on Lehigh in their second game of the young college hoops season.
Things started off well for the Nittany Lions, as DeMarco Dunn, in his first career start in a blue and white uniform, rattled off seven early points and Kanye Clary put up eight, to give the Lions an early 17-10 lead. Unfortunately, the patented PSU five-plus minute scoring drought was alive and well, and the Mountain Hawks utilized said drought to go on a 13-0 run, before Dunn ended the drought.
The rest of the half saw Lehigh continually answer any PSU bucket with a bucket of their own, in a defensive performance that surely head coach Mike Rhoades wouldn’t be pleased with. With Lehigh leading 36-30 late in the half, PSU started to clamp down defensively, while Jameel Brown and Kanye hit back-to-back three-pointers and Kanye got another basket to tie the game up at 38, which would be the score going into halftime.
The second half saw PSU lead throughout, but mostly with a tentative single-digit one, and by no more than two possessions. The defensive effort was stronger however, as the Mountain Hawks weren’t getting as easy of looks as they got in the first half, and PSU dialed up some of its “havoc” defensive style to get some steals and fast break points. Eventually, PSU pushed their lead into double figures on a Clary bucket with less than eight minutes to play, and Lehigh would never get any closer than eight points the rest of the way, as PSU ultimately closed out for the win.
Player(s) of the Game
Kanye Clary - 20 points, 3 steals, 2 assists
Ace Baldwin - 16 points, 3 steals, 2 assists
Qudus Wahab - 11 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks
Kanye had another great game, but it was good to see Ace Baldwin put up a stat line more in line with what was expected from him in the season opener. Wahab continues to assert himself as the man in the middle, whether it was coming up with rebounds to give PSU second chances on the offensive end or blocking/altering shots, he will need performances like this for PSU to surprise some folks in Big Ten play.
- Turnovers Still an Issue - Once again, PSU had their share of turnover problems, committing 15 in total. This is something that they can get away with against the Delaware States and Lehighs of the schedule, but Texas A&M will absolutely eat their lunch if they don’t get things cleaned up by then.
- Jameel Brown’s Still Heating Up - If you thought that 7-for-8 three-point shooting performance was a one-off, Jameel proved you wrong by coming off the bench and nailing a pair of treys, including one that banked in (apparently the bank is open even on holidays). It’s safe to say at this point, he is another reliable source of perimeter shooting
- An “Ace” in the Hole - For the first time ever, Ace Baldwin came off the bench, as DeMarco Dunn got the starting nod in an effort to shake up the starting lineup. Dunn pitched in nicely with nine points himself, but it seems like this benching may have lit a fire under Ace, as he responded with a solid effort and looked more like the Ace seen leading VCU to an Atlantic 10 title and NCAA Tournament appearance. You have to think he’ll be back in the starting lineup for the next game.
Penn State will host St. Francis (PA) next Tuesday, November 14th. That game will tip off at 7:00 PM EST and will actually be on TV, via B1G Network.