Penn State men’s basketball (5-1) took on Texas A&M (4-0) in the Barclays Center as part of the Progressive Legends Classic on Tuesday night. The Aggies finished as champions of the tournament, just outlasting Penn State in a back-and-forth showdown in Brooklyn. Some strong defense and high-percentage shooting propelled Texas A&M to victory.
How It Happened
Mike Watkins opened the scoring with a nice reverse layup to ignite a high-scoring first half. The Nittany Lions followed it up with great passing that led to an easy dunk for Lamar Stevens. Stevens then finished an impressive and-one layup. Simply put, Penn State looked strong out of the gate.
Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis gave the Nittany Lions some trouble early on, asserting his dominance inside and even stretching the defense by hitting a three. The Aggies took their first lead with 12:11 remaining in the first half with a 14-13. Once Robert Williams, the No. 6 NBA prospect according to ESPN and the 2016-2017 SEC Defensive player of the year, checked in, things got more difficult for Penn State. A 10-2 run for the Aggies gave them a 17-13 lead with 10:45 remaining in the half.
Tony Carr nailed an old-fashioned three-point play after a pump fake sent his defender in the air and he drained a mid-range jumper despite the contact. A scoop and score – a special of Josh Reaves – tied the game up at 23 with 7:16 to play in the half. The 10 lead changes in the opening half were indicative of the back-and-forth nature of the game, and Tony Carr began to take over. A three and an and-one gave Penn State a 36-31 lead late in the half.
A late putback slam from Robert Williams – who was responsible for 12 points in the half – gave Texas A&M a 42-40 lead at the half, but Carr led all scorers with 21 points.
More high-powered offense opened up the second half, as Texas A&M led 52-48 with about 16 minutes left in the game. The Aggies’ Duane Wilson hit a three to extend the lead to 57-49 with about 15 minutes remaining, the largest lead of the night for A&M to that point.
Wilson started to put the Aggies on his back, hit a few shots to extend the Aggies’ lead to 12 with 13:16 left. The Texas A&M defense did a terrific job early in the second half shutting down the Penn State offense. The Nittany Lions trailed 70-55 before going on a 8-0 run in just 54 seconds.
The Nittany Lions really turned on the defensive pressure, instituting the three quarter-court press for most of the second half. The tactic really paid off, and a handful of steals eventually brought the game within 6 points at 72-66 with 7:46 left.
A Jamari Wheeler steal and layup brought the game to 77-72. Down the stretch, Penn State just couldn’t quite hang with the Aggies. Duane Wilson was ultimately the difference, as the guard finished with 21 points and some crucial baskets.
Tony Carr ended the game with 31 points, Lamar Stevens added 21, and Robert Williams put up 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies.
Player of the Game
Tony Carr | Sophomore | Guard
With 21 points in the first half, Tony Carr was the clear standout performer early on. Carr was 7-8 from the field and 2-2 from three in the opening half, adding on a rebound and two assists. Carr finished up with 31 points, representing the clearest scoring threat for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions will return home to take on Oral Roberts on Friday, November 24 at 3 p.m.