Men’s Basketball Preview: Georgia Tech

Story posted November 29, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Madeleine Balestrier

As the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-3, 0-0 B1G) ride a two-game winning streak, they look forward to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-1, 0-0 ACC) this Tuesday for an ACC-Big Ten Challenge showing. The Blue and White are finally settling into their new youthful look after a 74-68 victory against the George Washington Colonials.

The Nittany Lions and Yellow Jackets are relatively unfamiliar foes; Tuesday will be their fourth meeting overall and first meeting in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Blue and White hold the 2-1 series edge, while also cementing the most recent victory in 2008.

Georgia Tech’s changing of the guard placed Josh Pastner at the helm of their developing program; he was the head coach of the Memphis Tigers for five years.

Pastner’s Yellow Jackets currently find themselves off to a 4-1 hot start but they have yet to play a ranked team or any real threatening contenders. The University of Ohio handed them their only loss of the season.

Georgia Tech finds freshman guard Josh Okogie, junior center Ben Lammers, senior forward Quinton Stephens and junior guard Tadric Jackson at the helm of Pastner’s scheme. While Okogie averages 19 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, Lammers averages a double-double with 17.6 points a game and 10.8 rebounds a game.

The matchup of the game will fall between Lammers and Nittany Lion freshman Mike Watkins. If Watkins can slow down Lammers scoring and outrebound him then the Nittany Lions will be well on their way to continue their winning streak.

With the help of Watkins 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, Penn State managed to pull out a victory over George Washington last Saturday.

A common theme ignited itself with Penn States youthful spark; the Colonials victory proved to be the product of another freshmen orientated game as Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr had a combined 30 points.

The Colonials made it easy for the Nittany Lions with their sloppy play. The opposition committed 15 turnovers, while the Blue and White capitalized on fourteen of the fifteen errors.

Although mistakes and all, the two teams provided an even battle on both sides of the ball, but Penn State proved resilient and disciplined. They were able to get the edge late by going 19 for 22 on free throws.

If the Nittany Lions want to help the Big Ten cement their dominance over this year’s challenge, they will need to practice patience on offense instead of forcing three-pointers. The Blue and White can manage the game with another high field goal percentage and taking advantage of patience at the top of the key.

Tuesday’s matchup will be a grinder, which will test the fountain of youth at Penn State’s core. They cannot make too many mistakes, especially with regards to turnovers. Georgia Tech are looking for every chance to exploit the young team. Expect Shep Garner’s veteran experience to shine with the intensity and highly-anticipated competition.

The Penn State Nittany Lions look to continue their winning ways in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 7 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center.


Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email