Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Ohio State
Penn State came into Saturday afternoon’s contest with Ohio State seeking vengeance, and it was evident from the opening tip. The Nittany Lions came out firing on all cylinders and never slowed down, resulting in a big 90-76 conference victory.
Penn State played a full 40 minute game on both ends of floor for the first time in the past three games, and the tally in the win column is there to show for it.
Let’s hand out some game grades and see exactly how each individual unit preformed for the Nittany Lions.
90 points is the most Penn State has scored in a win over a ranked opponent since 2001. The Nittany Lions shot 54% from the field, 47% from beyond the arc, and also connected on 23-of-28 from the foul line. It was an extremely impressive offensive outing for Penn State across the board. It seemed like the Nittany Lions couldn’t miss all afternoon.
Lamar Stevens is Penn State’s superstar, and he certainly played like it. He led the charge for the Nittany Lions and had the team playing with great competitive energy right out of the gate. Stevens essentially started and finished the game for Penn State. He scored 24 points in only 22 minutes, including 14 in the second half, and carried the team down the stretch. Stevens put the exclamation point on the victory with an emphatic dunk that had the fans of the Bryce Jordan Center going nuts.
Stevens’ limited minutes were due to some early foul trouble, but that allowed Penn State’s depth to really shine through. Seth Lundy and Myreon Jones were amongst those who stepped up when he was on the bench.
Lundy’s potential was on full display in his second straight start. The freshman dropped 12 points and shot an efficient 3-for-6 from 3. Myreon Jones also stepped up in a big way. The sophomore guard shot 6-for-12 and was Penn State’s second leading scorer with 20 points. John Harrar, in his second straight start, played exceptionally well too with Mike Watkins in some of his own foul trouble as well.
In short, there weren’t really any negatives to come by on offense.
The Nittany Lions’ defensive performance was just about as superb as their offensive performance. The Buckeyes were struggling to hit shots all game long, and much of that can be attributed to the suffocating defense that Penn State was deploying. The defense was active and flying around on every single possession.
The Nittany Lions were tough and physical underneath and won the battle on the boards. In the backcourt, the guards were playing ferocious and aggressively. The clamps were put on the guards for Ohio State with the exception of Duane Washington Jr., who was the Buckeyes’ leading scorer with 20 points.
The Wesson brothers were kept relatively in check, at least compared to the last time these two teams met. Andre Wesson was held to 12 points in 38 minutes, and Kaleb scored 19.
The only knock on the defense for Penn State is the considerable number of fouls committed. Both teams were in the bonus with a little less than 13 minutes remaining in the second half. The Buckeyes manufactured some points from the charity stripe in the second half, which allowed them to keep the game within a reasonable striking distance.
Stevens and Watkins got into some early foul trouble, and credit is due to Pat Chambers and the coaching staff for knowing the correct substitutions to make and the lineups to put together to deal with that in such a pivotal game. Chambers handled the adversity well.
There were also multiple occasions where the Nittany Lions came out of a timeout and executed for a bucket. One of Chambers’ best qualities as a coach is his high energy and leadership qualities. When he’s drawing up plays that have success and putting his players in the best position to succeed, there’s not much more one can ask for.
Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.