Game Preview: Men’s Basketball vs. Yale

Audio/Story posted November 22, 2019 in CommRadio, Sports by Zach Donaldson

Host Dale Ostrander and analysts Ben Geller and Jeremy Ganes recap Penn State's win over the Bucknell Bison and make their predictions for the upcoming Yale game:

The Penn State Nittany Lions are off to a scorching hot start to the season. The last time the Nittany Lions started the season 4-0 was in 2017-18 – the year they raised the NIT championship trophy.

On Saturday, the Nittany Lions will be taking on the defending Ivy League champion Yale Bulldogs in the second game of their NIT season tip-off.

All eyes are on Penn State, after their convincing win at Georgetown last week, following it up with what was one of the more impressive offensive performances in recent memory for the Nittany Lions in their 98-70 victory over Bucknell. The 98 points scored are a team season high. Lamar Stevens recorded 27 of those points, and Mike Watkins added 18 of his own - both individual season highs.

The Nittany Lions are indeed beginning to look like a basketball school. Yale is 3-2, and will be riding some momentum coming off of a 100-89 triple-overtime win versus Siena on Wednesday.

Keys to the game for Penn State

The Nittany Lions have shown this season that their depth and versatility is going to be extremely advantageous. Pat Chambers has done a fantastic job of examining matchups, managing lineups, and using each player’s skills and talents to their maximum potential.

So far this season, Penn State has moved the ball extremely well and has done a great job of getting the best shot possible each possession. The young guys and new additions for the Nittany Lions are starting to gain chemistry and in-game experience, too. The entire team is thriving and playing with exuding confidence.

Yale has two forces underneath in 6-foot-10 junior Paul Atkinson and 6-foot-9 senior Jordan Bruner. Guard Azar Swain can score and Jalen Gabbidon is a skillful perimeter defender.

Penn State, however, has more than enough firepower with Lamar Stevens, whose lived up to the preseason hype surrounding him so far. If Myles Dread keeps shooting the lights out, and Jamari Wheeler continues to be a nuisance on defense, it’s going to be a tough matchup for the Bulldogs.

Keys to the game for Yale

So far this season, Yale has been a solid unit defensively and it all starts down low with their big men.

Yale has two huge, veteran presences down low in Atkinson and Bruner. They both grab rebounds, can block shots and are athletic scoring threats. Penn State’s big man Mike Watkins has been a dominant force all season on both ends of the floor. If Yale wants to win, their bigs are going to have to shut down Watkins.

Yale should be able to hang in the paint with Penn State, so if the Nittany Lions aren’t hitting some shots from the outside, it could spell trouble.

Final analysis

Yale is good – but Penn State is better. The Bulldogs may stick around for a while, but the Nittany Lions' depth, versatility, and explosiveness will prove to be too much for the Bulldogs to handle.

Prediction: Penn State 85, Yale 70


Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Jeremy Ganes's photo

Jeremy Ganes

Senior / Journalism

Jeremy Ganes is an aspiring sports broadcaster and journalist at Penn State. He writes articles, produces broadcasts, and announces games for the CommRadio sports department. He also co-hosts an NFL-focused talk show called 4th & Long that airs live on CommRadio, alongside DJ Bauer. In addition to CommRadio content, Jeremy also assists in production and serves as an on-air personality to the PSNtv show Penn State Sports Night, where he covers sports such as baseball and football. He is also a reporter and producer for the Centre County Report. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Zach Donaldson's photo

Zach Donaldson

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Zach is a senior from Downingtown, Pennsylvania and is an aspiring broadcast journalism major. Zach is an editor for CommRadio and additionally a member of the CommRadio Sports department. Zach is a producer, broadcaster and beat writer for various live Penn State sporting events. Zach also co-hosts a weekly talk show, Sports with a Z (SWAZ) on CommRadio. The show airs live every Monday from 8:45-9:45. Some of his interests aside from CommRadio include watching sports, working out and listening to a variety of music. He can be contacted via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), and you can find him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_.