Game Preview: Penn State vs. Wagner
Host Jeremy Ganes and analysts Connor Griffin and Kevin McConlogue recap Penn State's season opener against Maryland Eastern Shore and make their predictions for the team's weekend tilt against Wagner:
The Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0) will look to continue its impressive play against the Wagner Seahawks (0-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. After an impressive win against Maryland Eastern Shore on Tuesday, Penn State must resume its high play before traveling to face Georgetown next week.
At the 11th hour, the NCAA granted Curtis Jones a waiver to play immediately for head coach Pat Chambers. Jones, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma State, came off the bench last game scoring 10 points with two 3-pointers in his 25 minutes of play.
The combination of Jones coming off the bench with freshman Seth Lundy and transfer Trent Buttrick created some chemistry issues on the court. The offense was stagnant early in the game and it will be important for Penn State to improve its attack off the bench.
With the exception of Lamar Stevens returning for his senior season, the most exciting part of the team is Mike Watkins. Watkins’ improved play will be essential for Penn State’s success this season. His timing has improved and he committed zero turnovers and fouls in the first game.
Stevens continues to impress basketball fans after a ferocious dunk in Tuesday’s game. He struggled early to shoot well but became more comfortable throughout the game shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line.
No. 12 Seton Hall blew out the Seahawks on Tuesday night 105-71. The Seahawks, however, will present more of a challenge for the Nittany Lions than Maryland Eastern Shore. The team is led by Alex Morales and Will Martinez, who both shoot the ball exceptionally well. Additionally, Chase Freeman is a veteran forward who will bring a strong inside presence.
What to Watch for
Penn State’s bench play will need to improve on Saturday, which it should as the new players grow more accustomed to playing with each other. It’s important for the bench to be an integral part of the team before entering conference play.
The aspect that intrigues many people is Penn State’s ability to shoot behind the arc. The biggest issue for the Nittany Lions last season was their spacing and improved shooting will help that.
Despite being in foul trouble, Myles Dread excelled on Tuesday, shooting 5-7 from the 3-point line. It’s imperative, however, that Stevens, Jamari Wheeler and Myreon Jones continue to shoot well as it will open more scoring opportunities for the offense.
Prediction: Penn State 80, Wagner59
Matthew White is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism with a double major in business and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.