Penn State defeats the Bahamas in first exhibition game

Story posted August 8, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

Penn State earned its first victory of the season in a 113-65 exhibition game win over the Bahamas.

Coach Mike Rhoades earned his first victory at Penn State and secured a strong start to the upcoming season.

While the Nittany Lions didn’t shoot well from three-point land, going 9-for-35 for a 26% clip, they demonstrated tremendous defense pressure, turning 33 turnovers into 37 points.

Every player to touch the floor for the blue and white scored in the contest, and five players secured double-digit performances.

VCU transfer Nick Kern was the leader for the Nittany Lions with 17 points and seven rebounds on 8-for-9 shooting from the field.

Other standouts included UNC transfers D’Marco Dunn and Puff Johnson, who added 16 and 13 points, respectively.

Returning Nittany Lions Jameel Brown and Kanye Clary each contributed 13 points in the winning effort, and Clary displayed lots of improvement with five rebounds and seven assists.

Rhoades sent out a starting lineup of Kanye Clary, Ace Baldwin Jr., Nick Kern, Demetrius Lilley and Zach Hicks to start the game and quickly jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. 

It was immediately evident that Rhoades and his squad intended to play uptempo basketball with lots of defensive pressure.

Penn State routinely picked up the Bahamas full court, and made it difficult for the offense to get into their sets.

“Bold. Different. Aggressive” were the three words uttered by Rhoades in his introductory press conference to describe the style of play he wanted to see on the court, and they certainly did just that.

They played with lots of freedom and movement offensive, but showed a stubborn and tough style of play defensively.

Penn State finished the first half leading 47-31, but there were identifiable gaps in their game.

Their lack of shooting was something that really stood out in the first half, and the rim seemed to have a lid on it from beyond the arc.

Zach Hicks and Jameel Brown launched nine three-pointers of their own and connected on just five total between them in the game.

In the second half, Penn State shot much better and hit six of their fourteen triples for a 43% clip as opposed to just 14% in the first half.

As the game got out of hand, Penn State poured it on and dropped 113 points in the contest to earn the win.

Notably, Favour Aire and Qudus Wahab did not make the trip to the Bahamas with the team, but are expected to have significant roles in the upcoming season.

These two will aid a team loaded with guards and smaller forwards on the glass and defensively in the paint.

The Nittany Lions will walk out of this with their head high as they earn their first victory of the season, but they have a lot to improve on before the start of their 2023-24 season.

Penn State returns to action for their second and final exhibition game this Thursday, August 10th, against the University of Victoria (Canada) at 4:30 p.m. ET and can be streamed on FloHoops.

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