Penn State Basketball Dances To Victory Against Rutgers On THON Hoops Day
Penn State (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten) defeated Rutgers (12-11, 2-8 Big Ten) 60-43 on Saturday afternoon. In front of an announced crowd of 13,677 for THON Hoops Day, the Nittany Lions limited the Scarlet Knights to 43 points on 31 percent shooting.
Mike Watkins dominated the paint, finishing with 15 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. Tony Carr and Josh Reaves added 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Rutgers star Corey Sanders came in to the game leading the team in points with 14.2 points per game, but was held scoreless the whole game.
— Onward State (@OnwardState) January 27, 2018
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started off slow against the Scarlet Knights, only making one of their first seven shots. Following a strong defensive half from both teams, Penn State took a 28-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. Tony Carr led all scorers with twelve points in the first half, and Mike Watkins added five points and ten rebounds.
Rutgers failed to score a point in the first five minutes of the second half, and Penn State capitalized by stretching its lead to fourteen points. Penn State’s defense led to many easy fast-break slam dunks on the offensive side. Watkins finished off an alley-oop lob from Carr, and Reaves, Stevens, and Nazeer Bostick all threw down highlight-level dunks in the closing minutes to help hit the nails into the coffin. The Nittany Lions held Scarlet Knights to only 20 points in the second half.
The Nittany Lions had a 42 to 27 advantage in the rebounding column, including a nine to two edge on the offensive glass.
The decision to start Deivis Zemgulis over Reaves for the second straight game seemed to pay off. Reaves brought a lot of energy, scoring in double digits for the second straight game off of the bench. Meanwhile, Zemgulis recorded a plus/minus rating of plus-17 in just 12 minutes of playing time.
Player Of The Game
Mike Watkins | Sophomore | Forward
Watkins battled against a Rutgers lineup that started three players 6-foot-9 or taller. He frustrated his opponents with his defense, and finished with 15 points, 19 rebounds, and three blocks. He also did not commit a single personal foul.
The Nittany Lions travel to East Lansing on Wednesday to take on No. 6 Michigan State. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and will be aired on BTN.