Penn State (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten) traveled to New Jersey on New Year’s Day for a clash with the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers (11-4, 0-2 Big Ten) opened the season with one of its best starts in recent years, but the Nittany Lions overcame some illness adversity to grab a win in the RAC 60-47.
How It Happened
With several players battling stomach flu-like symptoms in the days leading up to the game, Pat Chambers was forced to make a couple changes to the starting five as Mike Watkins and Shep Garner came off the bench. Julian Moore got his first start of the season and opened it with a block.
On the offensive end, Penn State got off to a cold start — going 0-9 from the field with its first points coming from the foul line. Defensively, the Nittany Lions gave Rutgers issues, which helped keep them in the game through its early shooting issues to make it 9-5 in favor of the Scarlet Knights at the second media timeout with 11:39 left in the half.
The Nittany Lions went on a 7-0 run capped off by a Tony Carr bucket plus the foul to take the lead, but Rutgers went on a 7-0 run of its own immediately after to go back up by four. Penn State had its struggles from three-point range, but Payton Banks was draining his attempts to help the Nittany Lions head into the locker room with a 27-23 lead.
Penn State and Rutgers went back-and-forth during the opening minutes of the second half. After the early stretch though, Penn State started to pull away. With the Nittany Lions knocking down their shots and Rutgers’ mistakes multiplying, Penn State got its lead up to 47-29 with 12 minutes left in the game.
Rutgers made one last charge late in the game to cut Penn State’s lead. But big baskets from Banks and Josh Reaves helped close out the Scarlet Knights for good. With minutes being spread out among a number of players on the roster, Penn State took the win in a 60-47 team effort.
Player Of The Game
Tony Carr | Guard | Freshman
Carr helped Penn State through a rough stretch of shooting in the opening minutes — scoring 10 of the first 12 points for the Nittany Lions. He finished with 15 points and had his hand in the success all over the floor throughout the game to help secure the win.
Penn State is back on the road Wednesday at Michigan. Tipoff is at 8:30 and can be seen live on BTN.