Game Preview: Penn State vs. DePaul

Story posted November 16, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Jose Ruiz

The Gavitt Tipoff Games inaugurates Tuesday night when DePaul University visits State College to play the Nittany Lions for the first time since the 1984-85 season.

The Gavitt Tipoff Games is a new annual eight game series played between the Big Ten Conference and the Big East Conference to start off the college basketball season. The series is named after the late Dave Gavitt, who was the former athletic director at Providence College and the first commissioner of the Big East Conference.

Penn State looks to stay undefeated in the inaugural game and record their 10th straight win at home versus non-conference opponents. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 12-point win versus VMI Saturday afternoon. They were led by sophomore point guard Shep Gardner, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half and went four for six from the three point line.

In complete contrast to last season’s Penn state squad, there is no player carrying the offensive burden like D.J. Newbill did. They are multiple Nittany Lions chipping in to help the offense now. Brandon Taylor added 13 points while Payton Banks posted a new career high with 12 points Saturday in a game that saw nine different Penn state player’s score.

Penn State is still searching for their offensive identity and they got little help of doing so Saturday afternoon. They got another solid performance from Taylor, who scored 13 points and had six rebounds. He has now scored in double figures in 11 of his last 19 regular-season games and is becoming a consistent scoring option for Penn state.

Still it wasn’t all good news from Saturday’s game for the Nittany Lions. Although the team defended extremely well and held their opponents to 50 points, they only shot 26 percent from the three point line and 61 percent from the free throw line. These are two numbers that must increase if the Nittany Lions want success this season.

Penn state will face another team playing to stay undefeated and probably the most difficult non-conference home game of the season when they play the Blue Demons Tuesday. The Blue Demons are coming off a close home win versus Western Michigan in a game where the team had to come back from a 35-24 deficit at halftime.

The Blue Demons are led by a duo of upper classmen guards. Myke Henry, who scored six-straight DePaul points during its 21-6 second half run in Saturday’s game, and Billy Garrett Jr., the 6’6 point guard who runs their offense.

Garret Jr. is a former ESPN top 100 recruit and a mismatch nightmare for many coaches. He had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in their Saturday night game and has shown potential to fill up the box score every night. He is the player in charge of carrying the offensive burden for this DePaul side through creating shots for others and himself. Expect to see Garrett Jr. control the ball a lot this game and this season, as their whole team tempo runs through his hands.

The game is schedule to tip-off at 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Jose Juan Ruiz is a junior majoring in print journalism. To contact him, email jjr5414@psu.edu.