Game Grades: Men’s Basketball vs. Rutgers
The two-game losing skid for No. 16 Penn State (21-7, 11-6) has ended, as it took down Rutgers (18-11, 9-9) in a close 65-64 contest Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions earned their first win in nearly two weeks, while the Scarlet Knights faltered in their third straight game. Let’s hand out grades to the Nittany Lions’ units following this nail biter of a victory.
The offense this game was a tale of two drastically different teams. The first half was lights out, shooting 50% from the field and hitting six 3-point shots on the Scarlet Knight defense. The great shooting and quick movement of the offense was stellar and could have ended with a near perfect grade had it not been for the second half.
The second half was an abysmal performance for the Nittany Lions. They shot 30% from the field and only watched one shot drop through the hoop from beyond the 3-point arc - Myles Dread’s game winner. Lamar Stevens was little help to the struggling Lions’ field goal percentage, shooting 2-of-10 in the second half and 4-of-13 for the game.
The first half performances of Dread, who had 7 assists, and Izaiah Brockington with 12 points, kept the Nittany Lions on pace to win this one. They earn their offense an ever so slightly above average grade in the category.
The defense was a similar story to the offense, but not to as drastic of a measure. The defense had a great first half, limiting Rutgers to only 24 points. Rutgers struggled to establish a shot against the Penn State defense, only scoring three jump shots in the entire half, none of which were behind the 3-point arc.
The Penn State defense is very capable of slowing down smaller offenses who shoot a lot, but there is an apparent change when they lack size to cover the paint. This was a constant issue in this game, where Rutgers scored 36 of its 64 total points in the paint.
If there was a category for consistency, this Nittany Lion team would have received an “F.” Penn State went into halftime leading by 18 points over Rutgers, but 10 minutes into the second half, this lead shrunk all the way down to a single point.
There was certainly a doubt that the Nittany Lions could be on the wrong end of an impressive comeback when losing 64-62 in the waning moments of the game. Patrick Chambers was out coached by Steve Pikiell of Rutgers throughout the entire second half, losing those 20 minutes 40-23.
Penn State has been faltering lately, as more tape comes out on their space-centric style of play. With some of the most meaningful games in Penn State basketball history upcoming, coach Chambers might want to update or add to his style of play if he expects to come out on top.
Derek Heid is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.