Game Preview: Penn State vs Duquesne

Story posted November 20, 2015 in CommRadio, Sports by Joe Esquivel Murphy

Penn State goes on the road for the first time this season to take on Duquesne in a rematch of last year’s close game won by the Nittany Lions 60 to 58. Both teams enter this game undefeated, but the teams have taken different approaches to getting there.

Penn State has won both of its games with defense, giving up only 56 points per game. The Nittany Lions have used their length to their advantage this year and hope for that to continue against Duquesne.

Freshman Josh Reaves has been a defensive stalwart for Penn State, but look for Reaves to have a strong offensive performance. His defensive intensity will pay off on the offensive side of the ball.

Shep Garner has had a strong start to the season, averaging 15.5 points per game while taking on a bit of the leadership responsibility that D.J. Newbill held last year. Garner needs to control the pace of the game for the Nittany Lions as Duquesne are 20th in the nation in scoring at 95.5 points per game.

As mentioned above, Duquesne is a good offensive team, shooting over 57 percent from the field and over 40 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Dukes have played Seton Hill University, a Division-II School, and New Orleans, beating both of those teams by at least 20 points and scoring at least 95 points in each of those games.

The key to Duquesne’s success lies with senior guard Micah Mason. He leads the Dukes in scoring with 21.5 points per game and is shooting 57 percent from the 3-point line. Penn State defenders will need to pay close attention to Mason around the 3-point line.

Senior guard Derrick Colter is also off to a nice start this year, scoring 30 points and dishing out 10 assists in the team’s two wins. Colter needs to have an efficient game against the Penn State pressure, for Duquesne to be successful.

Jeremiah Jones is the third guard that starts for Duquesne and does a little bit of everything, getting 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists in two games. His defense on Payton Banks will be a major factor in this game as Jones is giving up three inches and 30 pounds to Banks.

The emergence of Banks this season has been surprising as he is Penn State’s starting small forward and is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. Banks needs to keep attacking the basket as he might have the biggest mismatch on the court.

Brandon Taylor has become the key scoring threat for Penn State, scoring 22 points in a victory over DePaul on Tuesday. Taylor needs to continue his efficient shooting as Duquesne has the bodies inside to him from scoring in the post.

The big man trio of Jordan Dickerson, Donovan Jack and Julian Moore will need to contribute on the offensive end for Penn State to be successful. Dickerson has been a great defensive presence, but he has only scored two points and taken two shot attempts through two games. An offensive contribution from Dickerson is needed.

Jack and Moore have been a little better at scoring, both averaging four points per game. Moore has been effective on the glass, leading the team in rebounds, but Jack needs to provide a scoring threat off the bench for Penn State to be successful.

Tipoff between the Dukes and the Nittany Lions is at 7 p.m. tonight in the CONSOL Energy Center.

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email