Basketball Game Preview: George Mason
The Nittany Lions (6-3, 0-0 Big Ten) square off against the Patriots (6-3, 0-0 Atlantic Ten) on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions are coming off a dominant 72-50 win over Wright State this past Saturday and look to continue their success on their three game home stand.
As for the visiting team, the Patriots have their own streak going winning five straight after defeating Mercer. They look to tack on another win on this small road trip.
Under head coach Dave Paulsen, this young Patriot team is playing very well. With the help of their starting seniors, guard Marquise Moore and forward Jalen Jenkins, the Patriots started their season off with a bang. The Nittany Lions’ main concern is stopping Moore who is averaging a double-double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. After dropping 21 points and snatching 12 rebounds against Mercer on Saturday, he is showing no signs of slowing down. The key for the Patriots to grab a win is by controlling the boards. As a team, they average 40 rebounds a game to the Nittany Lions’ 36, so crashing the boards could make a huge difference on the outcome.
As for head coach Pat Chambers, he is really testing the limits of this Nittany Lion team. By scheduling the likes of No.5 Duke, No. 22 Cincinnati, and a solid Pittsburgh team, this young group is going to have a lot to handle before conference play. Chambers has kept his promise from the beginning of the season by maintaining their run and gun style of play. All three freshman starters - Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, and Tony Carr – have been adjusting well so far this season. Under the leadership of juniors Shep Garner and Payton Banks, the Nittany Lions are off to a great start with notable wins over George Washington and Georgia Tech.
The key for the Nittany Lions to keep their four game winning streak alive is to protect the paint. The Patriots average an abysmal 28 percent from outside the arch. By pushing them to shoot threes, it could help jump start the fast break, which in turn could lead to easy baskets. As for the offense, they should look to attack the basket and get to the foul line. As a team, the Nittany Lions average an impressive 80 percent from the line.
Some key players to watch are Garner and Carr. Garner is taking the reins and picking up where he left off in the 2015-2016 season. He is showing the Big Ten that the sky is the limit on his potential. As for Garner’s backcourt mate, Carr, he is becoming the Nittany Lions’ Swiss Army knife, just doing everything. He is averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. No matter what, one team’s winning streak is going to come to an end in Happy Valley.
Carlos Flores is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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