Game Preview: Penn State vs. Maryland Eastern Shore
Connor Griffin, Jack McCune and Ben Geller break down the Nittany Lions’ matchup with the Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore in men’s basketball.
The Penn State Nittany Lions open up their season Tuesday at home against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. This season holds high expectations for the Nittany Lions as many experts are predicting them to be a tournament team. Anything but a birth into the big dance may be seen as a letdown for a team with such high aspirations.
Things to watch
Senior Lamar Stevens will look to start off his season the right way. The 6-foot-8 forward was second in points per game last year in the Big Ten, only behind now Boston Celtic Carsen Edwards. Stevens led Penn State in scoring by a long shot, as the next best scorer had only 11.6 points per game.
Stevens struggled from beyond the arc though as he shot only 22 percent from 3-point range. Look for Stevens to try and get his shot in rhythm this game to hopefully carry on and space the floor for the entire season.
With only three players averaging double digits in scoring for the Nittany Lions, they are in need of help scoring the basketball this season if they hope to be a true contender. In comes Izaiah Brockington, a 6-foot-4 guard transfer from St. Bonaventure University that sat out last season due to transfer rules.
In his one season with the Bonnies, Brockington not only got NCAA tournament experience, but averaged 14.8 points off the bench and shot 41 percent from 3-point range. As the bulk of Penn States scoring comes from the inside, expect Brockington to get open looks as well as maybe pull a defender from the inside.
Keys to the game
For Penn State, getting a big lead early will almost certainly take the Hawks out of the game. If they allow the Hawks a chance to stick around, a mistake or two could flip the game and an upset may be on alert.
If Penn State is able to get out to an early lead, it is key for them to try and find what kind of team they want to be this season. The more depth a team has, the farther of a run they have seems to be a new trend in college basketball and in a game like this, the Nittany Lions need to find out just how much depth they have.
For Maryland Eastern Shore, they need to capitalize on every opportunity given to them to have a chance to stay in the game. They will also need to create turnovers and force Penn State to make mental errors if they want a chance to pull off the upset.
The Nittany Lions are looking at an easy home opener if they come to play. Not having bad possessions offensively and playing tough defense from the start, will hopefully set the tone for the game and the season.
Prediction: Penn State 77, Maryland Eastern Shore 45
Ben Mooney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.