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Penn State 79, Delaware State 45: Lions Smash Hornets in Season Opener

The Mike Rhoades era began in sizzling fashion.

Penn State v Texas A&M Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

After much anticipation, the Mike Rhoades era officially began tonight in the friendly, cavernous, confines of the Bryce Jordan Center...

From the opening tip, you could tell the team was going through first-game jitters, as they misfired on some wide-open shots and turned it over one too many times for Rhoades’ liking. However, it was Penn State’s defense that clamped down, holding the Hornets to a six-plus minute scoring drought that allowed the Lions to build their lead into double digits. Jameel Brown came into the game and immediately showcased how all his hard work in the offseason paid off by nailing three straight three-pointers, and Zach Hicks added three treys of his own.

Meanwhile, up front, Qudus Wahab and Nick Kern crashed the boards on both ends of the floor and blocked shots, while the starting backcourt of Ace Baldwin and Kanye Clary got themselves some steals (PSU forced 17 turnovers in the first half alone) and showcased the ability to slash to the hoop. All this effort was enough to give the Lions a nice 39-18 cushion at halftime. The second half saw PSU pick up where they left off with the shooting, building their lead into the 30’s and the bench ultimately getting emptied, giving the team a comfortable opening season victory.

Players of the Game

Jameel Brown - 20 points, 7-for-8 3-point FG

Kanye Clary - 22 points, 6 rebounds

Kanye having a big game isn’t much of a surprise, as the reports on him in Summer practice and his performance in the exhibition games in the Bahamas were pretty solid. That being said, it was good to see him produce in a game where the final results count. The most pleasant surprise however, was seeing Brown step up and knock down trey after trey after trey. Yes, he was a very highly-rated recruit, but given how he was buried on the depth chart last season, we didn’t know what he was truly capable of until tonight. It’s imperative that Zach Hicks has someone else besides himself to carry the three-point shooting load, and while Leo O’Boyle is normally supposed to be that guy, having guys like Jameel be reliable from downtown will go a long way towards this team realizing their full potential

Random Observations

  • Myles Dread’s Uniform Change - For those of you who watched the B1G+ stream, you noticed Myles Dread was the color analyst alongside Brian Tripp, who was doing the play-by-play. Myles sure looked awfully sharp in that suit and tie, but also did a pretty good job for someone who was clearly doing a game broadcast for the first time in his life.
  • YOU get a turnover, and YOU get a turnover - Despite PSU forcing their share of turnovers, 23 in total, they also turned it over a bunch with 21 themselves. While some of PSU’s turnovers can be chalked up to first-game jitters and guys playing a little too loose at times, those are things that will absolutely need to get cleaned up before the Texas A&M game in 17 days.
  • Hey, Remember Quality Interior Play? - Qudus Wahab had a solid debut with seven points, 13 rebounds, and a pair of blocks as he showed a dominant presence in the post. Nick Kern was also pretty active on the glass and on defense, getting five boards and three blocks to go with his four points. It sure makes you not miss the bad old days of having Kebba Njie being forced into action last season.

Up Next

Penn State (1-0) hosts Lehigh this coming Friday (November 10th) at the BJC. Tipoff will be at 7:30 PM EST and will once again stream on B1G+.