Game Grades: Penn State vs. Minnesota
Penn State managed to avoid the three-year streak of starting 0-6 in conference play by beating Minnesota 86-77 Tuesday night. Starting off slow, Penn State shot 41.4 percent from the field and only 27.3 percent from three in the first half. But down 71-63, Penn State put together a 23-6 run in the final six minutes, hitting 18 of their 24 attempts from the free throw line which helped ice the game for the Nittany Lions.
Shep Garner struggled early; scoring four points in the first half, but finished the game strong with three three-pointers and finished six of eight from the foul line to total 20 points. Garner also led the team with six assists. Josh Reaves shot 50 percent from the field and recorded two steals while providing a spark offensively through a highlight reel dunk. Though Garner’s second half play was solid, too many missed shots on open looks in the first half gives them a B-.
The Nittany Lions were led by the all-around consistent play from Payton Banks, who finished with 24 and shot 8-11 from the field while adding three steals. Banks was the most consistent player on the floor for Penn State, whether it was shooting efficiently or spreading the ball around the floor to create open looks for his teammates. Brandon Taylor also had a good performance, chipping in with 18 points while leading the team with six rebounds and adding five assists. He was very reliable throughout the game and seemed to be almost always open. Dickerson was a non-factor in this game, scoring only two points in the first half. He did finish with eight points, but only recorded two rebounds. Overall, the solid play from Banks and Taylor earned them an A-.
Most of the scoring came from the starting five, as there was not much scoring production from the bench. The only player who managed to score was Deividas Zemgulis, who finished with seven points. Donovon Jack came in for five minutes and managed to bring in two rebounds, but other than that, there was very little production.
Pat Chambers did not stray away from his game plan at all. Playing zone defense while adding full court pressure proved to wear down Minnesota at the end. Penn State forced 17 turnovers due to full court pressure. Minnesota did, however, have many open looks, taking advantage of pick plays and moving the ball quickly, helping them shoot 55 percent from behind the arc. Overall, not a bad coaching job by Chambers, but the amount of open looks and high percentage of shots made from Minnesota gives Chambers a B.
Kyle Gaynor is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.