Penn State Dominates George Washington 64-51, Improves to 10-1
With finals week dawning on students, Pat Chambers and co. gave those in attendance something to take their minds off studying with a dominant 64-51 win over a stout George Washington team.
D.J. Newbill led all scorers with 20 points, while adding three boards, four assists, two steals, and a perfect 7-7 performance from the free throw line. Junior center Jordan Dickerson had a breakthrough performance, posting six rebounds, four points, and a career high six blocks. His performance was highlighted by a chase down block in transition, stuffing George Washington’s Yuta Watanabe on the glass.
— Sam Cooper (@SamDCooper) December 14, 2014
Worth noting, freshman point guard Shep Garner played a solid game all across the board, finishing with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, one block, and two steals, while coming up big for the Nittany Lions in key situations.
Now, the casual basketball fan may not think very highly of George Washington, but don’t be fooled. This is the same team that impressively knocked off the likes of DePaul and Charlotte–who handed Penn State its only loss. It’s also the same team that ranks No. 69 nationally–a full 19 spots ahead of No. 88 Penn State.
With all of that said, the Nittany Lions knew that this would be their toughest opponent yet, and if a victory was in the cards, mistakes would have to be held to a minimum.
Things did not start out on the right foot for Pat Chambers’ squad, as the Nittany Lions struggled from the floor, and fell behind 11-6 at the 15:36 mark. Fouls were an issue early for Penn State, as the team racked up five fouls by the 10 minute mark, and put George Washington into the bonus with eight minutes to play in the half.
Despite the early struggles, key three pointers from D.J. Newbill and Payton Banks cut the deficit to one, and a corner three from Brandon Taylor knotted things up at 19 apiece. Later in the first, John Johnson forced a steal, but a foul was called on Newbill, putting the Colonials on the line. Down 21-19, the Nittany Lions responded with a huge three from Shep Garner that looked like it was shot from the parking lot, giving Penn State a one point lead and plenty of momentum.
Officiating was shaky throughout, as the referees seemed to be quick with the whistle in a closely contested first half. Call after call, boos rained down onto the court, as the crowd became infuriated with each whistle. A foul on Brandon Taylor caused Chambers to explode on the sideline, as he adamantly pleaded his case. Down by two, the Nittany lions needed some sort of spark, and their young freshman point guard delivered it.
Another deep three from Garner put Penn State up 27-26, and a three point play by Newbill put Penn State ahead by four. The first half concluded with the Nittany Lions on top 34-28, despite shooting a spotty 34.3% from the field.
George Washington would not go down without a fight, however, as the Colonials hung around early on in the second half. Two free throws by George Washington’s leading scorer Patricio Garino pulled the team to within two, but a beautiful step back jumper from Newbill and a finish by Garner kept Penn State ahead.
An offensive outburst midway through the second half kept the Colonials at bay, as three pointers and second chance points kept Penn State up by a wide margin.
Penn State’s defense and rebounding down low helped seal the deal in this one, as George Washington never had a chance to get back into the game. Jordan Dickerson’s presence helped eliminate any scoring opportunities in the paint, while George Washington shooters just couldn’t get their shots to fall. As a team, the Colonials shot just 7-24 from the floor in the second half, compared to Penn State’s much improved 12-27 performance.
A dunk from Jordan Dickerson all alone under the basket caused the lively Bryce Jordan Center to explode, and all but sealed the game for the Nittany Lions, giving the team a 64-51 victory over an intimidating opponent.
After the game, Pat Chambers had nothing but praise for his players, but more so for his young freshman point guard.
“He’s consistent, he’s coachable, he’s a winner, and that’s a great combination for a point guard,” said Chambers. “I can get on him, and he responds, but doesn’t go into his shell. He made some big plays for us, and really stretches the court. He just did a lot of good things today, and for as well as he’s played in these first 11 games, I’m even a little surprised at his maturity. I give credit to D.J. Newbill for this. They room together on the road, and he’s really taken [Garner] under his wing.”
Next up for the Nittany Lions will be Drexel, on Dec. 20 in a neutral site game at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.