Penn State Hoops Cruises To 90-59 Victory Over Cornell To Wrap Up Non-Conference Play
No. 20 Penn State men’s basketball (11-2) sailed to an easy 90-59 victory over Cornell (1-10) to wrap up non-conference play Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Mike Watkins lead the way on both sides of the ball and finished with a team-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor.
How It Happened
Watkins kicked off the scoring with a wide-open slam dunk on Penn State’s first possession. He followed that up with an offensive rebound and a putback basket. Star forward Lamar Stevens joined in and scored a basket as well as an and-one.
After a couple of Cornell scores, Stevens responded with a three-pointer of his own. From that moment on, he took control of the offensive possessions as he scored four straight points. Even when Stevens wasn’t on the court, the Nittany Lions found ways to score thanks to a clutch three from Seth Lundy.
Midway through the half, Jamari Wheeler took an elbow to the face. It ended up being called a flagrant one foul, but Wheeler was visibly shaken up as he sat on the bench. He did not return to the game.
Watkins showed off his physicality later on when he sunk two beautiful 20-foot jump shots and then he had an amazing alley-oop dunk, forcing Cornell to call a timeout. He powered the offense in the first half while being the defensive threat he typically is.
As the first half came to a close, Izaiah Brockington picked up two quick fouls, Lundy drained another three, and Cornell responded with a three of its own. Stevens added another bucket to his point total and made a stellar pass to a cutting Watkins to scored another basket. The Nittany Lions took a 45-29 lead into halftime.
Stevens opened up the second half with a beautiful fast-break dunk after he got the steal. He also drew a foul and knocked down both ensuing free throws. Myreon Jones joined the scoring as he hit a three, but Cornell quickly responded with a three of its own.
The transition defense kept being a strong part of Penn State’s game, as Jones got a steal and made a nice pass to Curtis Jones Jr., who slammed it home. Jones then made a jumper of his own, and Izaiah Brockington added a slam as well.
Penn State kept its foot on the gas as they continued to score and prevent Cornell from making any kind of run. Jones continued to dominate from behind the arc, as most of his points came from threes. In the next possession, he nailed a jumper to keep the scoring going.
Brockington had a very slick layup as Penn State cruised to a 90-59 victory. Watkins finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Stevens and Jones finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Brockington added 11 points off the bench.
- Watkins is a monster on both sides of the ball. In the first half, he didn’t miss a basket and went 8-for-8 from the field. He presents a mismatch for opponents to deal with, especially if teams try and double team Stevens as Cornell did. His athletic ability can give Penn State the extra boost it needs heading into conference play.
- Wheeler leaving the game could have been a big loss, but the depth of this Penn State roster has proven to be extremely beneficial. Bench players including Brockington and Lundy stepped up when needed to fill Wheeler’s absence and support Pat Chambers’ starting lineup.
- Even though this was against a struggling Cornell team, the Nittany Lions played very strong on both sides of the ball. This is the kind of play that they need to have as they head back into conference play. The Big Ten is chock-full of competitive teams, and we’ve already seen the two sides of how Penn State could play.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Philadelphia to play No. 25 Iowa at the Palestra, the “Cathedral of College Basketball,” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 4. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
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