Wynter paces red-hot Penn State men’s basketball past Loyola Maryland
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
After a program record 18 3-pointers in Monday’s win over Winthrop, Penn State followed it up with 16 triples, as it used a big second half to roll past Loyola Maryland 90-65.
“When you share the ball like that, it's contagious,” coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “We got a bunch of guys who can make plays off the dribble that can shoot open threes, so it opens up a lot of stuff for us.”
The Nittany Lions got off to a hot start from beyond the arc, going 5-for-9 and stretching its lead to as much as 10.
Following the second media timeout of the first half, the Greyhounds started to ramp it up on both sides of the court. Coach Tavaras Hardy made life tough for the Nittany Lions, bringing his man-to-man defense into a half-court press, limiting the space for the offense.
“We were jumping at shot fakes, we were fouling people, we weren't solid and we weren't playing with pace,” Shrewsberry said. “That's what I was most upset about: our offense got slow and we were struggling to score.”
However, it was senior captain Myles Dread that ignited a spark nailing a three from the wing off a phenomenal skip pass from Jalen Pickett that threaded the needle through the defense.
With Caleb Dorsey and Seth Lundy in foul trouble, the Nittany Lions went smaller, with Dread playing as the “center,” and it worked.
“We don't do it much,” Shrewsberry said. “Myles is a basketball player. That's the easiest thing to say, he understands what they're trying to do and then he can counteract it and he's also a ball-mover.”
Penn State outscored Loyola 19-10 over the final eight minutes of the first half, taking a 40-29 lead into the locker room.
“I think that's when you see the maturity of this team come out,” Shrewsberry said about his team’s response heading into the break. “They know when they're not at their highest ability and they can self-correct pretty quick.”
The Nittany Lions got off to another scorching start shooting the ball to open the second half, extending their lead to 18 points, and it sat around that margin the rest of the way.
The big advantage allowed for freshmen Jameel Brown, Kayne Clary, Evan Mahaffey and Kebba Njie to get substantial minutes and valuable experience to help with depth.
“Trying to get those freshmen some minutes in real time when the game is still in the balance, I think is going to help those guys in the long run,” Shrewsberry said. “To be able to step up and now maybe they're taking some of those minutes and [Pickett] doesn't have to play.”
The talented group of youngsters combined for 23 points, headlined by Njie’s 12 points and six boards, with Clary showing off the slick handles dropping his first seven points for Penn State.
Drexel transfer Camren Wynter was big for the blue and white, dropping a team-high 18 points, and has adjusted to not being the primary scorer.
“I would say it's been a little more of an adjustment than I thought it would be,” Wynter said. “I think tonight just just kind of complements the work I've been trying to put in just the extra time for the gym.”
Wynter joined Pickett as the third member in the 1500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists club.
After combining for 55 points in the opener, Pickett and Andrew Funk only totaled eight points, but Shrewsberry points to the multitude of weapons on the offensive side of the ball.
“You see, when you take those guys away, there's other people,” Shrewsberry said. “There's a lot of capable guys. I tell them all the time I believe in every single one of you.”
Tonight marks the second straight 25-point win for the Nittany Lions, Njie points to the work put in the offseason, but knows the team can’t get ahead of themselves.
“I mean, it just comes to show like all the work that we've been putting in since the summer,” Njie said. “Like Myles [Dread] always says never too high, never too low. So it's always about the next one and getting prepared.”
Penn State faces its first big test of the season on Monday against Butler from the Big East for the Gavitt Games. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and it will be the first time Shrewsberry faces his former stomping ground.
Matt Scalzo is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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