Game Preview: Penn State vs. Boston College
Penn State looks to pick up their first road victory of the season as the Nittany Lions hit the road to take on the Boston College Eagles Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Historically, the Nittany Lions are 6-7 versus the Eagles, while they are 6-8 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games.
Moving forward from their hard fought victory against Bucknell, the Nittany Lions (3-2) hope to maintain their winning ways after bouncing back from back-to-back losses. The Eagles (3-3) desperately need a victory to snap their three-game losing streak and gain confidence before the conference schedule begins.
The Eagles key to edging the Nittany Lions lies in the vast improvement of their offense. Their last opponents benefitted from the lack of production on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles. Boston College only shot 28.3 percent from the field against a previously winless Santa Clara team.
Penn State should pay special attention to Eli Carter, a transfer student, who proves a threat when he heats up in the field (scored thirteen points in the second half against Santa Clara). Although he lacks consistent production in the first half of games, Carter is due to have a complete game.
With an effective defense, the Nittany Lions’ key to this matchup will lie in the production of their offense, particularly their frontcourt. Although, in their previous game against Bucknell, Brandon Taylor scored 19 points and Payton Banks added nine more, the majority of the offense struggled, especially from beyond the arc (5-18 with a total shot percentage of 39.6 percent).
After large defensive lapses to Duquesne and Radford, Penn State drastically improved their defense against Bucknell last Saturday. Against the Bison, the Nittany Lion defense forced Bucknell to take bad shots and suffer a major shooting drought to help secure the come from behind victory. If the defensive output against the Eagles mirrors their previous play, expect Penn State to upend a struggling Boston College basketball team.
Another bright spot in Penn State’s rebuilding team is Brandon Taylor. With his play maturing, he is consistently producing 16.6 points and six rebounds per game, while shooting 45.5 percent from behind the arc. Taylor could be the leading factor in restoring balance to Penn State’s offensive woes with the help of Payton Banks. Forwards Donovan Jack, Jordan Dickerson and Julian Moore need to substantially improve their game, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The Eagles and the Nittany Lions both struggle on the same side of the ball, which will most likely configure an equally matched game for both schools. Fans should expect a low scoring game with Penn State’s defensive success and both school’s offensive tribulations.
The visiting Nittany Lions will tip-off against the Eagles at 7:15 p.m. this Wednesday night in Conte Forum.
Madeleine Balestrier is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.