Penn State Hoops Downs Lehigh 74-65
Penn State men’s basketball (2-0) defeated Lehigh (0-2) 74-65 in a Friday night contest at the Bryce Jordan Center. Kanye Clary led the team in scoring yet again with 20 points, while Ace Baldwin Jr. totaled 16 points of his own.
It was a back-and-forth contest in the first half with the game being tied at 38 after the first 20 minutes. However, in the second half, Penn State’s offense and defense woke up with multiple players scoring big shots and picking up key turnovers to get out to a double-digit lead at the midway point of the second half. The Nittany Lions were able to hold onto the lead for the final 10 minutes of the contest and hang on for the second consecutive win.
How It Happened
Clary and the Nittany Lions picked up right where they left off after Monday’s win with Clary scoring eight points in the first four minutes of action. Head coach Mike Rhoades also opted to put transfer D’Marco Dunn in the starting lineup over Baldwin, and it seemed like the right move. Dunn was able to knock down three of his first four shots including a big three in the first minute and a half of action.
Out of the first media timeout, Dunn kept the scoring going making his third straight field goal increasing the lead, however, Bube Momah’s four consecutive points and Joshua Ingram’s wide-open layup cut Penn State’s lead to three. The Mountain Hawks’ attack continued with two consecutive layups and a pair of free throws as they took a 23-17 lead midway through the half. Dunn continued his hot first half making a fast-break layup to cut the deficit to four and increase his point total to nine.
With under six minutes to go in the half, Penn State found themselves done five points. The Nittany Lions got a big and-one layup from Demetrius Lilley, however, he couldn’t finish with the free throw. Lehigh continued to find even more layups as Penn State’s big men could stop the Mountain Hawks from scoring in the paint.
After checking back into the game Baldwin sniped his first shot, a long-ranged three to cut the deficit to two. Momah and Ingram continued their hot first half, both making layups to retake a six-point lead.
In the final three minutes of the half, fresh into the game was Jameel Brown, and his hot hand from the season opener rolled over to the game as he drilled his first three of the contest. Clary followed up the next possession with a three of his own and a 10-foot jumper to tie the game at 38 points apiece. In the final seconds of the half, the Nittany Lions had a chance to take the lead however a long three from Clary missed the mark and the teams went into the half all tied up.
At the start of the second half, Lehigh’s Keith Higgns Jr. drilled a mid-range to re-take the lead for the Mountain Hawks, however, Zach Hicks drilled his first shot of the game to tie the game once again. On the next possession, Baldwin found Qudas Wahab with a terrific pass for a slam dunk Which gave the Nittany Lion their first lead since the 10-minute mark in the first half.
Both teams went cold on shots for a few minutes but Hicks grabbed a big steal and found an open Clary who drilled a long-ranged two-pointer for a four-point Penn State lead. After both teams went cold again, Baldwin woke up the crowd with his second three of the game to make it a five-point lead. After a layup by Lehigh, back into the game once again was Brown who drilled another three-pointer to make it 50-44 Penn State.
The Mountain Hawks weren’t dead yet and made it a one-score game after a three by Cam Gillus, and a costly turnover by Leo O’Boyle gave Lehigh the ball back and tied the game with another three-pointer, this time from Higgns Jr.
At 50-all, Baldwin drilled a mid-range jumper to retake the lead, and on defense picked Gillus’ pocket and found Nick Kern for a fast break bucket to get the lead back up to four. With under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Kern picked up a steal of his own and scored a quick layup. On the inbound, Clary grabbed another steal and scored another layup to get the BJC rocking.
After two made free throws for Lehigh, Wahab scored a tough and-one layup and free throw making it a 61-54 game. Baldwin added two more points on free throws and another fast break layup by Clary brought the lead to 11 points, the highest on the night for Penn State.
Lehigh didn’t stop fighting however and made back-to-back shots to cut the deficit to eight points. With under three minutes to go in the game Lehigh got another big layup from Higgins, however, Penn State answered with a hook shot from Wahab to get the lead back to 10 points. With less than a minute to go, Penn State denied any comeback effort from the Mountain Hawks as the Nittany Lions hung on for the 74-65 win.
- The sophomore breakout season continues for Kanye Clary. The guard totaled a team-high 20 points and picked up two rebounds, and two assists in the win. It’s the second consecutive game for Clary where he leads the team in points and has now become the focal point of the team’s offense two games into the season.
- Despite not starting, Baldwin had his first of many impressive games for the Nittany Lions. In 30 minutes of action, he dropped 16 points and three steals.
- Dunn, welcome to the starting lineup. The transfer from North Carolina made his first career collegiate start in Friday night’s win and gave the Nittany Lions a great first half, scoring nine points.
- Qudas Wahab was the unsung MVP of the game. While Clary and Baldwin did the majority of the scoring, Wahab added 11 points and a team-high 18 rebounds. His defense in the middle in the second half became the difference maker as he made multiple key stops to help increase the Penn State lead.
The Nittany Lions stay at home for their third consecutive game, taking on St. Francis University. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, on the Big Ten Network.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki has everything he needs to succeed at Penn State. Can he break the Nittany Lions’ trend of flops at the offensive coordinator position?
Most of our staffers have Penn State playing in the Peach Bowl for the first time in program history.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-0 all time against the Bulldogs.