Penn State Hoops Blows Out St. Francis 83-53
Penn State men’s basketball (3-0) defeated St. Francis (0-4) 83-53 to remain undefeated in the Mike Rhoades era. Kanye Clary led the scoring yet again for the Nittany Lions, with 14 points with three assists, while Qudas Wahab added 12 points and six rebounds. Senior transfer Puff Johnson also made his season debut for the Nittany Lions in the win scoring six points.
This game got ugly quickly for the Red Flash who couldn’t seem to buy a bucket in the first half, shooting 7-25 in the first half and 1-10 from three. Penn State shot 44% from the field and drilled seven threes, scoring a season-high 83 points in the win.
How It Happened
Qudas Wahab got things started with a turn-around jumper for the first bucket of the game for the Nittany Lions. Three minutes into the game, Johnson was subbed in for the first time in the season. After a few minutes of no scoring, Zach Hicks banked in an and-one jumper and free throw and was followed up on the next possession with a wide-open dunk by Wahab.
After that Gestin Liberis drilled the first bucket for St. Francis, however, Clary one-upped him and drilled a corner three to make it a 10-2 game heading into the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Eli Wilborn drilled a three for the Red Flash to cut the lead to five, but Johnson followed up with a three of his own for his first bucket of the season. After a great block by Nick Kern Jr., D’Marco Dunn made an easy layup to make it a 20-6 game. With under 11 to play in the half, Hicks got an open look from beyond the arc and drilled it for his first three of the night. Two possessions after getting his own rebound, Hicks drilled his second consecutive three.
Now up 20, the Nittany Lions didn’t hold up. While Wahab drilled shots from downtown, Wahab did what he does best and grabbed his own rebound and slammed home a bucket. After two minutes of no scoring by either squad, Ace Baldwin Jr. woke up the crowd with a long three-pointer for his first bucket. He followed that up with a steal and a coast-to-coast layup.
As the quarter winded down, Johnson and Clary continued the scoring with two jumpers. St. Francis finally got its offense going, with Wilborn making a contested layup and Bobby Rosenberger drilling the first three of the game for the Red Flash. With two minutes to go in the half, Clary made another layup and after getting blocked by Chris Moncrief, Wahab got his own rebound and put up another contested layup totaling 10 points for the first half.
Up 46-18 heading into the second half Penn State, after three consecutive made jumpers by St. Francis, Hicks woke up the Nittany Lions with his third three-pointer of the contest. The Red Flash got the game back down to 22 points with back-to-back makes, however, Clary stopped that run with a fast break pull-up three.
The Nittany Lions continued to build their lead, limiting the makes from St. Francis, while also picking up big layups from Dunn and O’Boyle. At the nine-minute mark, Clary set up Kern for a driving layup to put the Nittany Lions back up 30.
With a little over six minutes in the game, Baldwin pulled a nasty move dropping the St. Francis defender to the floor and drilled a shot over him. Then up 35, Demetrius Lilley scored a contested layup after grabbing the rebound off a missed three by Hicks. After a turnover on the inbound, Baldwin missed a three, however, Lilley grabbed another rebound and drilled another contested layup. The Nittany Lions then emptied their bench and held on for the 83-53 win.
- Wahab continues to ball out. The big man looked unguardable, drilling his first four shots of the night, scoring 12 points, and grabbing a team-high six boards.
- Forward Hicks had the hot hand all night for Penn State, scoring 12 points and drilling three three-pointers in the win. While his shot in the second half seemed to fade, he continues to be the guy the Nittany Lions are calling on for a shot from beyond the arc.
- Johnson, the North Carolina transfer, made his season debut in the team’s win, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds in 12 minutes of action. With big matchups upcoming for the Nittany Lions, getting the senior going will be key over the next few weeks of games.
The Nittany Lions will finish up their four-game home stretch to open the season when they take on Morehead State. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 17, at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be broadcast on Peacock.
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The thousands of teddy bears will be donated to Four Diamonds children.
The Lady Lions were last ranked in 2014.
“Andy will be here more just taking in everything and getting a feel for how we operate.”