Game Grades: Maryland Eastern Shore
Penn State got its season off to a blazing hot start on Tuesday night with a dominant 84-46 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore.
The Nittany Lions didn’t waiver against inferior competition and put on an eye-opening performance all-around. Let’s hand out some game grades for the Nittany Lions’ season opener.
In a 38-point victory, negatives are hard to come by. The offense loses some points, however, because of turnovers and some sloppy possessions.
As a team, the Nittany Lions committed 15 turnovers compared to just 19 assists. That ratio will need to improve as the season progresses. Maryland Eastern Shore also scored 12 points off those 15 turnovers.
But it was a great showing from the Penn State offense overall. The Nittany Lions were playing fast, and ball movement was exceptional all game long. Six Nittany Lions scored in double figures.
Lamar Stevens led the way with 17 points on 50% shooting. Mike Watkins recorded a double-double with 12 points, shooting 5-for-6, to go along with 11 rebounds. But Myles Dread’s offensive performance was perhaps the most noteworthy. Dread drained a career high five 3-pointers in the game and finished with 15 points. He was a huge part of Penn State pulling away in the second half. New additions Curtis Jones and Izaiah Brockington also each contributed 10 points off the bench.
As a team, Penn State shot a very efficient 50% from the floor and about 39% from 3. Those are inspiring numbers for a team that has struggled offensively in recent years.
The Nittany Lions hosted a block party on Tuesday night, and Maryland Eastern Shore was invited. Penn State recorded 11 blocks as a team, and Mike Watkins had seven blocks himself, highlighting a magnificent defensive effort all across the board.
In addition to the 11 blocks, Penn State also recorded 10 steals and forced 19 Maryland Eastern Shore turnovers. The Nittany Lions defense swarmed the Hawks and had the passing lanes eyed-up all night long.
On top of that, Penn State held Maryland Eastern Shore to 33% shooting and 21% from 3. The constant perimeter pressure caused the Hawks’ possessions to go deep into the shot clock, forcing several poor shot selections.
There was also some full-court press implemented early by the Nittany Lions. For a group that prides itself on defensive aggressiveness and hustle, Penn State did a fantastic job putting that on display.
In short, Maryland Eastern Shore couldn’t get anything going offensively all game long. Overall, it was an extremely impressive defensive performance from Penn State.
In such a dominant effort, the coaches certainly did their part. One noticeable positive was the timeliness of the timeouts and the changes made coming out of breaks.
Pat Chambers called a timeout with about 13 minutes left in the first half while Maryland Eastern Shore was still within striking distance, down eight. Coming out of that timeout, Penn State went into a full-court press and began playing some man-to-man. By the next timeout, Penn State was leading 33-12. The Nittany Lions took a 37-17 lead going into halftime, then opened the second half on a 19-2 run, putting the game away for good.
The coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for making the proper adjustments and maximizing Penn State’s chances to win.
Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.