Penn State Hoops Downs Morehead State 74-51
Penn State men’s basketball (4-0) defeated Morehead State (2-3) 74-51 in the final home game for the Nittany Lions before their Thanksgiving tournament in Florida. Qudas Wahab was unguardable Friday, racking up 12 boards and scoring 14 points thanks to his 10-13 shooting from the free throw line. Kanye Clary totaled 14 points as well, going 8-9 from the line himself.
It was a free throw festival for both teams, with Penn State shooting 38 free throws in the contest, drilling 30 of them. On top of that, Morehead State had no answer for the Nittany Lions’ defense, causing the Eagles to commit 19 first-half turnovers and 29 overall on the night.
How It Happened
After winning the tip, Ace Baldwin Jr. drove down into the lane and missed the layup, however, Wahab was there to grab the rebound and put a shot up for the first bucket of the game. Morehead State’s Riley Minix went right down the floor after the bucket and tied the game with a layup of his own. Penn State retook the lead after a great pass from Wahab found Nick Kern Jr. for a hook shot. Two possessions later, Wahab found Kern again this time for a wide-open dunk.
Out of the timeout, Penn State got another layup this time from D’Marco Dunn, and got another big bucket from Baldwin to make it a six-point game. After that bucket, however, Morehead State went on a huge 10-point run to take the lead. Kalil Thomas started things off with a prayer from three and was followed up with back-to-back layups by Minix and Trent Scott to take the lead.
Eddie Ricks III drilled a three to make it a four-point lead for the Eagles, but fresh into the game for the Nittany Lions was Puff Johnson, who made his first bucket of the game with a beautiful cut to the rim play to end Morehead State’s 10-0 run. Back down four points, Penn State tied the game after drilling two sets of free throws by Johnson and Wahab.
Tied at 16, Thomas once again drilled a shot from beyond the arc which gave Morehead State the lead once again. After that bucket on the offensive end, Morehead State’s guard Jordan Lathon was ejected after taking a shot at Baldwin below the belt. Baldwin drilled both free throws after the foul call and Clary scored his first points of the contest on the ensuing possession and took the lead once again for Penn State.
After that bucket, Clary scored four more points, two on a set of free throws and another two on a driving layup. Back up five points, the Nittany Lions got another big bucket out of Baldwin before being answered by Ricks. Zach Hicks followed up those makes with a corner-three to make it an eight-point Nittany Lions lead.
With less than four minutes to go in the half, Thomas and Dieonte Miles made layups for the Eagles to make it 32-26. The Nittany Lions wouldn’t make a shot for the remainder of the half, instead scoring five points on free throws to make the score 37-26 heading into the second half.
The second half started similar to the first with a made layup by Wahab. After a number of missed shots by both teams, Baldwin woke up the crowd with a long three-pointer which gave him 10 points on the night. Out of the first media timeout of the half, Baldwin added to that total with a steal and a fast-break layup which gave Penn State an 18-point lead.
After over two minutes of no score from either team, Leo O’Boyle ended that scoreless run with his first three-pointer of the season. Attempting a comeback, Minix and Drew Thelwell drilled back-to-back shots to cut the lead back down to 15, however, the game turned into a free-throw fest between both teams. For over six minutes of action, both teams were not able to make a shot and only scored points on free throws. Penn State was able to grab 10 points, while Morehead State scored five.
With under six to go in the game, Jameel Brown ended the shotless streak with a long three-pointer for his first shot of the game. The sophomore followed up his first make with another bomb from long range.
As the game winded down Clary continued scoring getting an and-one layup and free throw to tie the team-high in points for the night at 14. After he was taken out, the Nittany Lions emptied the bench and held on to the 74-51 win to improve to 4-0 on the season.
- Despite a slow start to the game, Clary made his presence known by scoring 14 points in the win. The bulk of Clary’s points came off free throws, as he went 8-9 in the win.
- The defense looked the best it has all season for Penn State, especially in the first half as the Nittany Lions made Morehead State commit 29 turnovers, 19 of which came in the first half.
- While his shot percentage wasn’t the prettiest, Baldwin hit huge shots throughout the game to keep the Nittany Lions lead at double-digits for the majority of the second half. The transfer scored 12 points and notched five rebounds and two big steals as well.
- Wahab balls out once again. The graduate student had his best game as a Nittany Lions recording his second double-double of the year grabbing 12 rebounds and scoring 12 points. Along with Clary, the majority of his points came from free throws where he shot 10-13 from the line.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Kissimmee, Florida, for the ESPN Events Invitational and take on No. 13 Texas A&M in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament opening round. The game is set to tip off at noon on Thursday, November 23, and can be watched on ESPN.
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About the Author
When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
Thompson was granted two extra years of eligibility by the NCAA.
Fashanu is the Nittany Lions’ most recent First-Team All-American since Micah Parsons in 2019.