Mike Watkins Leads Penn State Past George Washington 74-68
Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions (4-3) got back on track with an impressive road win in D.C. Saturday night. Penn State rallied from a 32-23 halftime deficit to top George Washington 74-68 in the Charles E. Smith Center.
How It Happened
Simply put, Penn State has a beast in redshirt freshman Mike Watkins. The 6-foot-9 forward, who finished with a game-high 20 points, was a big reason why the Nittany Lions were able to snap their two-game losing streak. It was all about the underclassmen for Chambers’ youthful bunch, as true freshman Lamar Stevens had himself a night with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Classmate Tony Carr did a little bit of everything for Penn State from the point, dishing out a game-high five assists to go along with 12 points, six boards, and a pair of steals.
Interim head coach Maurice Joseph, who took over the Colonials from Mike Lonergan in late September, enjoyed a strong finish to the first half from his squad. Atlantic 10 member George Washington (3-3) fell behind the Nittany Lions 16-8 to open the ballgame, but went on a dominant 22-4 run to take a sizeable lead into the intermission. Watkins kickstarted the comeback with a thunderous dunk that turned into a seven-point burst. Carr drilled a jumper from behind the arc to get Penn State within one of the lead, 34-33, with 16:57 to play. Payton Banks’ lone points of the night gave the Nittany Lions a 36-34 lead. Their 19-4 run to start the second half wasn’t enough to this one from going down to the wire.
George Washington trailed by as little as 54-53 with 6:42 left on the clock, but junior Shep Garner rattled off five of his 10 points down the stretch to secure a solid non-conference triumph. Penn State’s 51-36 second-half explosion made sure its first true road game of the season finished in the win column. Graduate senior forward Tyler Cavanaugh led the Colonials with 15 points, while Jaren Sina added 13 of his own. Collin Smith and Jordan Roland contributed 11 apiece off the bench. Penn State shot 41.7 percent from the field (25-of-60) and nailed 19-of-22 (86.4%) at the stripe. It controlled the glass, too, 39-35.
Player Of The Game
Mike Watkins | Redshirt freshman | Forward
The Philly native turned in the performance of his young career Saturday night in D.C., posting 20 points, eight boards, four blocks, a steal, and an assist in the victory.
Penn State will return to the BJC Tuesday at 7:00 to host Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Nittany Lions will sport their fan-favorite black and pink uniforms on ESPNU.