Nittany Lions Return Home to Battle Radford
Penn State returns home to face Radford at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions are trying to bounce back from a poor performance against Duquesne last week, where they lost by 26 points.
The Nittany Lions struggled offensively, shooting 29.7 percent from the field and less than 53 percent from the free throw line. Penn State needs to shoot the ball consistently to be successful against Radford, a team that upset Georgetown earlier this season.
Senior forward Brandon Taylor had a solid game against Duquesne, netting 14 points on 50 percent shooting. The Nittany Lions need Taylor to have a good game against Radford because the Highlanders tallest player is 6-foot-8 and he should have the size and speed advantage over the Highlanders’ frontcourt.
The point guard matchup of Shep Garner and Rashun Davis is going to be the key factor of the game. Whichever guard can control the tempo of the game is going to decide the game.
Garner struggled mightily his last time out, going 4-15 from the field and shooting 40 percent from the free throw line. This game will serve as a bounce back offensively, as Garner played terrific defense last game with four steals.
Davis is the heart and soul of this Radford team, averaging over 14 points per game and six assists per game. He plays better when his team plays better opponents, as he scored 28 points in Radford’s thrilling victory against Georgetown to open the season and had a double-double in a loss against VCU with 18 points and 10 assists.
The start of Josh Reaves’ career has been a bit of a struggle, as he is averaging less than seven points per game and shooting 36 percent from the field. The defensive effort has been there from Reaves the whole year, but this game should be the offensive turnaround for Reaves as Radford struggles to stop teams.
Radford will attempt to contain Reaves with senior guard James Brown. He only averages 10.6 points per game, but Brown also steps up in big games as he scored 20 points against Georgetown.
The defensive X-factor for this game is Jordan Dickerson, the senior center. Dickerson provides little in terms of offense, as he has scored four points this year, but his size and length impact the game, especially against a team that does not have a player taller than 6-foot-8.
Freshman forward Ed Polite Jr. is only 6-foot-5, but he leads Radford in rebounds with 6.2 rebounds per game. He is playing with confidence, as he had his first career double-double in last game against Prairie View A&M with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Payton Banks has had a nice a start to the season, scoring at least 10 points every game this season. A more efficient game from Banks is what Penn State needs, as he has shot less than 50 percent from the field in every game so far.
Forwards Donovan Jack and Julian Moore need to contribute offensively off the bench for the Nittany Lions. Jack is the better offensive player of the two, but he needs to stay out of foul trouble, as he has had at least three fouls in every game this season. Moore is a great rebounder, as he leads the team in rebounds with six a game, but he struggles to score in the post.
Penn State is looking to bounce back from a poor performance in their last game. Radford will play tough for most of the game, but Penn State will ultimately win this game comfortably.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore broadcast journalism and Spanish major. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.