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Penn State 90, Rider 63: Lions Take Care of Business

Penn State jumped to an early lead and never looked back.

Penn State Nittany Lions guard/forward Puff Johnson (4) defends Rider Broncs forward Mervin James (5) during the first half at Bryce Jordan Center. Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions have had their fair share of ups and downs this season. They’ve had their fair share of ups and downs within a single game plenty of times this season. No such thing happened on Friday, as Penn State made quick work of Rider, who needed all 20 minutes in the first half to cross the 20-point mark. The Nittany Lions led 26-6 at the 6-minute mark of the first half, before Rider started to make enough shots to not get completely run out of the gym early.

To their credit, the Broncs throw the kitchen sink at Penn State in the second half. A combination of full court pressure, three-quarter press, and a 2-3 zone gave the Lions fits to start the second stanza. This led to Rider clawing their way back to a mere 12-point deficit. But, after the Lions finally collected themselves, they turned that 12-point lead into a 30-point blowout, and walk-ons finished it out.

Player of the Game

Kanye Clary - 29 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal

Clary had himself another monster game, where he did just about everything on the floor, falling a point shy of 30 on the game. The Lions are going to need every ounce of him moving forward, so him developing a three-point shot couldn’t have come at a better time.

Random Observations

Wow - Penn State had 10 steals in the first half alone. Many teams don’t get that in a whole game!

Meech? - Radio announcers referred to Demetrius Lilley as “Meech” a whole bunch during the broadcast. Hidden nickname?

Speaking of announcers - By virtue of being on B1G+, oftentimes commercial breaks are just stills of the court. Someone forgot to cut the audio, as you could hear Steve Jones and the gang speak on what, unbeknownst to them, was commentary for the world to hear!

Welcome back - Jameel Brown and Favour Aire both saw limited run in this game. The former had missed the previous five games with a foot injury, and the latter had yet to suit up for the Lions this season. Like Clary’s three-point shot, they couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Looking Ahead

Penn State travels to Michigan State to restart Big Ten play. Game tips off at 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 4th, on Peacock.