Penn State Clashes With Butler To Begin Gavitt Games

Story posted November 14, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

Penn State has gotten off to a hot start this season with a 2-0 record and will seek to continue its success against Butler.

These two teams will face off for the first time since 1992, where the Nittany Lions squeaked out a victory by a score of 67-64. This game will also be one of many slated in the 2022 Gavitt Games which honors Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt.

The blue and white are coming off another stellar performance against Loyola Maryland, where they shot better than in game one of the season. The Nittany Lions made 16 three-pointers on 57.9% shooting from the field and 53.3% from beyond the arc.

Penn State saw Drexel transfer Cam Wynter lead the way with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. In the game, he joined teammate Jalen Pickett and became one of three active players to have 1,500 career points, 500 career rebounds and 500 career assists.

The Nittany Lions’ offense has been cooking to start the season and found its way to another 90 point game. This is the second time they have done it so far this season after only reaching 90 or more points one time in last season’s entirety.

Butler is 1-0 on the season and enters into Happy Valley having not played since opening night of the college basketball season.

First-year head coach Thad Matta and his squad kicked its season off with a thrashing of New Orleans by a score of 89-53. They shot 56.3% from the field en route to the victory.

The Bulldogs were led by 6-foot-11 center Manny Bates who finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds on 12-for-15 shooting. He also added three blocks in the game.

One area where the Bulldogs were vulnerable in their season opener was their shooting from three. They struggled mightily in this category, shooting a miserable 4-for-24 from deep.

This will be a key for Butler as they may have to show success from beyond the arc to keep up with the hot Nittany Lions offense.

Bates will be the key for the Bulldogs and will have a size advantage over Penn State. He will most likely face a mix of forward Caleb Dorsey and freshman center Kebba Njie.

Dorsey is undersized and has struggled to guard down low in the post. Njie has had success defensively, but has struggled to avoid foul trouble and has been called for seven fouls in two games.

Butler will need to exploit this matchup and limit the plethora of scorers on the Nittany Lions’ sideline if they want to have any success.

Penn State will turn to its offense that has been sharing the ball efficiently and has weapons all over the arc. Five Penn State players are averaging 10 or more points per game this season and the team has had more than 20 assists in both games this year.

Preseason All-Big Ten Team selection Jalen Pickett is the catalyst for the Nittany Lions and their go-to player in late-game scenarios.

Through two games, Pickett is averaging 14 points and eight assists per contest while emerging as a huge leader and voice for the blue and white.

If Penn State’s interior defense can contain Manny Bates and their offense continues to click the way it has been so far, the Nittany Lions will come out on top against Butler to remain unblemished.

Thomas English is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email