Game Grades: Penn State vs. Depaul
After defeating the VMI Keydets in their season opener, the Penn State Nittany Lions were looking for a 2-0 start to the season as they went against the DePaul Blue Demons. Led by forward Brandon Taylor’s outstanding performance, Penn State topped DePaul 68-62 at the Bryce Jordan Center Tuesday night. Taylor was not the only highlight of Penn State’s victory, however, as the rest of the roster turned in a quality performance as well.
Shep Garner: B+
Garner did not have his most efficient scoring night, shooting 5-for-14 attempts. But he made three 3-pointers while dishing out 5 assists. While Taylor kept Penn State’s head above water, Garner was the closer, scoring 7 of his 16 points in the final two minutes.
Josh Reaves: B+
The freshman guard put forth a strong effort, scoring 10 points while adding three rebounds and two assists. He played a very good defensive game as well. He opened the game with a steal and a layup. The freshman who headlined Penn State’s 2015 recruiting class has gotten off to a very solid start in his career.
Payton Banks: B
Banks played 33 minutes and shot 4 for 9 from the floor, including 2 for 4 on 3-pointers. The sophomore, put into the starting lineup this season, opened the season with his second straight quality outing.
Brandon Taylor: A-
Taylor found himself in foul trouble in the early going, so his impact in the first half was minimal and he committed six turnovers. However, he hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer that sent Penn State to the locker room with a 31-25 lead. Taylor scored 19 points in the second half, carrying Penn State to their second straight victory to open the season.
Jordan Dickerson: B-
The center hasn’t been asked to do a lot offensively, but he played a clean game defensively. Dickerson collected five rebounds, hit both of his free-throw attempts, and added an assist and steal to his box score.
Sixth Man: B+
Julian Moore played 19 minutes and certainly made his presence felt. Although he shot just 1-for-4 from the field, but hauled in eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds to help keep Penn State’s possessions alive.
The Bench: C
Donovan Jack found himself in foul trouble throughout and played only 12 minutes. He collected a 3-pointer and two rebounds. Devin Foster played 13 minutes and was scoreless. Isaiah Washington played only three.
Pat Chambers and his staff have done a terrific job trying to transform Penn State into a quality basketball program. The team had their first top 30 recruiting in their history this year and the cohesiveness between on-court talent and quality coaching was on display against DePaul. The players were energized and played to their strengths. They shot an astounding 10 for 21 (47.6 percent) on 3-point attempts while holding DePaul to 3 for 11, (18.2 percent).
Ryan Leonardo is a junior majoring in broadcast gournalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.