Game Preview: Penn State vs. Minnesota
Penn State men’s basketball takes on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota this Monday. Penn State played fairly well against a Nebraska team on Friday night by a score of 76 to 74. Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens were the keys to that game. Carr hit the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime. While, Stevens ended up with 26 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
This game on Monday between the Nittany Lions and the Golden Gophers is going to be a close one. Penn State is currently 3-3 in the Big Ten and Minnesota is sitting at 2-4. Penn State is going to need to rely on their big three consisting of Lamar Stevens, Tony Carr, and Mike Watkins. Trying to maintain a lead if Penn State gets one is also a key. Penn State on Friday had at most a 16-point lead in the second half, and with less than 8 minutes left in the game, their lead was 11.
Penn State needs to start capitalizing on their scoring chances. On Friday night, Tony Carr went 5 for 21 from the field. That is about 23 percent shooting from the field. Penn State also needs to take advantage of Freshman Jamari Wheeler. This Nittany Lion has some of the best lateral quickness and straight up speed in college basketball. When the Lions get in transition, look for them to try and get the ball to Wheeler to score some layups. Wheeler is also playing tremendous defense, averaging 2.0 steals per game, which is second in the Big Ten behind Penn State starter Josh Reeves.
The weakness for Penn State is the fact that, like stated above, might be without their best defensive player in Josh Reeves. Josh Reeves is out due to “academic concerns.” Coach Pat Chambers is hoping he gets the defensive star back as playing a freshman as a starter is not quite the situation when Chambers could be starting a Junior guard. Penn State also needs to try and keep fouls at a low and not turnover the ball as much. Against Nebraska, Penn State had 18 fouls and 14 turnovers. Tony Carr had four of the fouls in the game, which meant he had to be careful.
The pros for Minnesota are very clear. Let Jordan Murphy go to work. Get the ball around and get Jordan Murphy open. Murphy is shooting 53.2 percent from the field this year and averages 12.1 rebounds per game. Murphy is also averaging 18.3 points per game. Look for Lamar Stevens to have his hands full playing Murphy. Look for Nate Mason to get plenty of chances shooting the ball from three on Monday. Mason is shooting 42.6 percent from three this season.
The con for Minnesota has to do with their best player on their team, Reggie Lynch. Reggie lynch has recently been suspended until 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations. Reggie Lynch was the former Big Ten defensive player of the year. He was looked at as a future NBA player. Throughout the season, he accumulated 66 blocks and averaging 8.0 rebounds per game. Minnesota could also be without another shooter in Amir Coffey.
The prediction for this game is that Penn State squeaks out a victory over Minnesota. Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens will have big games. Jordan Murphy won’t be able to carry his team the whole way. Without Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey, the golden gophers will struggle
Anthony Spada is a sophomore, majoring in Security and Risk Analysis. To contact him, email him at email@example.com