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Penn State Hoops Cruises To 75-49 Win In Exhibition Game Against Delaware

Playing in their first and only exhibition game, Penn State men’s basketball was able to show off its new-look squad against Delaware. Playing in support of the Hoops 4 Disaster Relief Charity, the Nittany Lions looked ready for the regular season and every portion of their game looked solid.

How It Happened

Penn State tested the waters with a variety of lineups in the early stages of the game. John Harrar scored the first two buckets for the Nittany Lions, getting a lay-in off a rebound and a nice baby hook off another. Delaware stayed with Penn State for the first few minutes, playing aggressive defense and forcing turnovers.

While the team couldn’t get anything to land from beyond the arc, Penn State was able to get going inside. Strong rebounding from Mike Watkins, Lamar Stevens, and Myles Dread gave Penn State a 11-4 lead, but inconsistent free throw shooting cost the Nittany Lions a double-digit margin.

After both teams got out to an 0-6 start from deep, things started to heat up. The Blue Hens struck first, nailing a trey right in Penn State’s face. But Seth Lundy answered right back off the fast break, as the freshman nailed one off his first touch of the game. Both teams got rolling from three, but Penn State was able to mix it up with more dominant play inside and built a 24-12 lead more than midway through the first half.

The Nittany Lions kept up the pressure and didn’t look back. Their full-court press suffocated the Blue Hens. Along with going against quick, scrappy defense from Penn State once they crossed half-court, Delaware had to earn ever basket they scored.

Penn State kept things hot on the offensive end, with Mike Watkins catching lobs and Myron Jones on fire from three. Nate Darling kept the Blue Hens in the game, and Penn State from pushing their lead to 20, by scoring 19 in the first half. Great hustle from Izaiah Brockington and a thunderous putback from Watkins gave Penn State plenty of energy going into the locker room with a 40-23 lead at the break.

That 40-23 lead grew in the second half, finally reaching 20 points as Penn State went up 49-29. Watkins continued to dominate the glass, gobbling up two more boards to give himself a double-double on the day.

Back to back slams from Watkins and Stevens sent the bench into an uproar, with a Watkins jumper forcing the reeling Blue Hens to call a timeout. Along with intense play from the forwards, everything was coming up for Myreon Jones outside. The Birmingham, Alabama native was unafraid to let it rip, and even his whiffs looked spot on.

Pat Chambers continued switching things up with his lineups. Jamari Wheeler played well despite not being able to find the net. His monster block from was called off due to a Brockington foul, but Wheeler’s solid defense and playmaking couldn’t be waved off.

Trent Butrick, who hadn’t been able to make much happen earlier in the game, got onto the score sheet with a pair of back-to-back threes, showing off that floor-stretching Chambers promised during the offseason. Lundy also made his presence known, chipping in four more points to go with his three from earlier.

With the lead pushing 30 at times, more new faces made their season debuts. Kyle McCloskey and Patrick Kelly came off the bench, with the latter hitting a three with two and a half minutes left in the game. His shots closed things out at the Bryce Jordan Center, sealing a 75-49 win for the Nittany Lions.

Takeaways

  • A healthy Mike Watkins is the definition of a game changer for Penn State. Watkins scored 15 points and collected nine rebounds at the end of the first, and pushed that 19 and 11 by the end of the game. If he can consistently put those first-half numbers up for Penn State, he could have a career-defining season for Penn State.
  • Myreon Jones can be a legitimate option for Penn State this season on offense. The sophomore has a sweet looking shot from deep, isn’t afraid to go after his misses, and always seems to make the right pass. An 18-8-5 stat spread while going 4-8 from three marked a good start to the season.
  • Chambers’ defense looked agile, gritty, and unafraid to take charges or rush over to provide some help. Its full-court press was effective, and when Penn State throws on a double team, forget about it.
  • The BJC DJs know what they’re doing. Sunday’s tracks formed a perfect mix of classic rock and modern hits.

What’s Next

With their preseason exhibition out of the way, Penn State’s regular season begins Maryland Eastern Shore on November 5th at 7 p.m. at the BJC.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Matt is a senior majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Philosophy. He's also the cohost of Podward State, Onward State's official podcast. Send him death threats at [email protected] and follow @m_paolizzi on Twitter for a near constant supply of second-hand embarrassment.

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