Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Purdue
Penn State played a complete game from start to finish to beat Purdue 88-76 Tuesday night at the Mackey Complex. The win extends its win streak to seven games. Let’s give out some grades from the game as the team continues to climb up the NCAA rankings.
Missing a major contributor in Myreon Jones, the team did not miss a beat. The Nittany Lions were hot from the start with four 3-pointers to begin the game. Penn State used the deep ball to avoid going down early to the Boilermakers, which was key to winning in a tough environment.
Freshman Seth Lundy had the best game of his career, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. It was his career high in scoring and minutes played. Lundy’s play allowed the offense to gain its confidence and never look back.
Penn State made 10 3-point shots in the first half and were up by 12 at the break. In the start of the second half it was the big man, Mike Watkins, who scored consecutive baskets to extend the lead to 17.
Watkins finished with a team-high 19 points and Purdue could not find an answer for him. Coach Pat Chambers elected to start making use of the entire shot clock with 12 minutes left. The lead got as large as 23 points but the conservative play towards the end allowed the Boilermakers to chip back in.
John Harrar had a career high 13 points and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line, including clutch free throws that iced the game.
Penn State’s offense is hot at the right time, and shooting 54% from 3-point land was crucial to the win on Tuesday. The team has found its rhythm and needs to keep doing what is working.
The defense had a solid showing that led to transition opportunities helping the Nittany Lions pull away early in the game. Lamar Stevens picked up two fouls early and had to sit the rest of the first half.
With the combination of Mike Watkins and John Harrar in the post, Purdue was forced to take outside shots. With limited open looks allowed the Boilermakers shot 46% from the field and 24% from behind the arc.
In the second half, Purdue went on an 8-0 run but could only the lead down to seven. The team forced seven turnovers throughout the game. The Nittany Lions outplayed their counterparts on both sides of the ball.
Some may consider Coach Pat Chambers conservative coaching decisions to have paid off. Sitting the best player, Lamar Stevens, for the final nine minutes of the first half worked out but easily could have shifted momentum. It was the consistent shooting that allowed Penn State to keep on its roll.
Up 12 at halftime, adjustments were made to run the clock and try to score in the final five seconds of the shot clock each possession. Luckily the Nittany Lions shots continued to fall and made for a considerably quick second half.
Chambers does deserve credit, as he has channeled a team that has not been extremely successful in years past into a top 15 NCAA program with his energy and coaching. The team will look to continue its roll on Saturday against Northwestern at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Matt Noah is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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