Colgate Game Grades
The Penn State men’s basketball team defeated the Colgate Raiders Saturday afternoon, 76-65. Freshman guard Rasir Bolton and Penn State started the game off on a hot start, as they once led the Raiders by 16 points. However, Colgate was able to make some adjustments at halftime and brought the lead within three. In the final minutes, Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens made some key baskets for the Nittany Lions as they extended their record to 5-4.
Penn State started the game on fire, as Rasir Bolton connected on his first six 3-pointers. In the first half, the team was able to get the ball out in transition and get some easy shots. Bolton was able to create spacing for some other scorers, as he finished the game shooting 7 of 9 from the 3-point line. Additionally, the team was able to bounce back and shoot well from the free throw line after shooting 42 percent in their loss to Indiana on Tuesday. Today, the team shot 84 percent from the free throw line while Mike Watkins connected on six of his nine free throws.
The issue with the Penn State offense is that they don’t have any players that can take over the game consistently. Colgate made the adjustment in the second half to play a 3-2 zone, which was very effective. Penn State failed to get the ball into the post or try to penetrate the zone, which allowed Colgate to come back. The team’s offense is at its best when they are getting the ball in transition and either penetrating or putting the ball in the post.
Penn State’s defense is its true strength of the team as they can switch screens with every player except Watkins. The team did a fabulous job in the first half of communicating, putting lots of ball pressure and rebounding the ball. Furthermore, their 1-2-2 press is extremely effective, as it forces teams to play half court offense with only 20 seconds on the shot clock. Josh Reaves played really well as he had three steals and one block.
The team lost focus defensively in the second half, which helped contribute to Colgate’s comeback. The press wasn’t as effective because the players at the top of the press were not hustling back on defense, which led to open 3-pointers for Colgate. Additionally, Watkins and John Harrar were not contesting shots at the rim very well. The team's defense can help them make a potential tournament run as long as they maintain their focus.
Pat Chambers did a really good job of making sure his squad was ready to start the game after a terrible loss to Indiana. The team moved the ball well in the beginning of the game and was very active on defense. However, Colgate switched to a 3-2 zone for most of the second half and Chambers had no answer to it. The scoring drought for Penn State was brutal, as they just settled for outside shots. The team could not pass the ball to the weak side of the zone or get the ball inside the zone. Additionally, I disagree with Chambers’ old school demeanor by harshly critiquing every play. I will give credit to him that his team plays hard every night. However, I believe the team is too tense as they are afraid of making mistakes. A more relaxed attitude will give his players more freedom to have success.
Matthew White is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism with a double minor in Spanish and Business. To contact him, email email@example.com.