Game Preview: Penn State vs. Purdue
Host David Hadar, alongside Matt McClure, Trent Fye and Tommy Calpin discuss Penn State's upcoming game against Purdue:
Penn State will take their next swing at that elusive Big Ten win on Thursday night, as they take on Purdue at the Bryce Jordan Center at 7 p.m.
As the calendar approaches February, Penn State is still in search of their first Big Ten victory. Many thought the opportunity was there last Saturday against Rutgers, but the Nittany Lions could not convert down the stretch and lost another conference game.
Last time out
This past weekend, Penn State fell to Rutgers at home 64-60. Lamar Stevens led the Nittany Lions with 21 points in the defeat. It was another game where Stevens carried the load, as he was one of only three Nittany Lions to score in double figures.
Penn State had a chance down the stretch, but a missed three by Rasir Bolton all but iced the victory for Rutgers, moving Penn State to 7-13 and 0-9 in conference play.
Purdue won their fifth straight game this past Sunday, an upset over Michigan State. The Boilermakers dominated most of that game, walking away with a 73-63 win. The win launched Purdue back into the top 25, and they now sit at 14-6 on the season with a 7-2 Big Ten record.
Keys to the game
It feels like Penn State has not put together a complete game at all this season. Most nights show good defensive efforts wasted by putrid performances on offense. Then, the rare night the Nittany Lions put up offensive numbers, their defense seems to let them down.
To stay in this game, Penn State is going to have to play a complete game offensively and defensively, but doing that won’t even guarantee a win. They are going to need to slow down an explosive Purdue offense and find a way to knock down more shots.
Focusing their offense on Lamar Stevens is not a recipe for success, Penn State needs to find a way to strike a balance. If Stevens scores in the mid-twenties and the rest of the players struggle to hit double-figures, then odds are Penn State will lose this game significantly.
Penn State has other talented pieces on offense. Mike Watkins, Josh Reaves, Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread have all shown potential. On Thursday night they are going to need to hit their shots and chip in with productive offensive nights.
Players to watch
Mike Watkins has been a solid player defensively for Penn State this season, but it seems like he has not reached his potential on the offensive side of the ball. Penn State needs to get Watkins more involved on offense if they want to see more success and put up more points.
Purdue is led by Carsen Edwards, who is averaging 24.2 points per game this season. The junior is the engine that makes the Boilermakers go. To have any chance in this game, Penn State must slow down Edwards and force other Purdue players to beat them.
Will Thursday finally be the first conference win for Penn State? Unless they play a perfect game, they most likely will not. There is nothing that tells us that Penn State is capable of playing a consistent full game and beating an opponent the caliber of Purdue.
It may be close for a bit, but Purdue pulls away for a relatively easy win.
Prediction: Purdue 78, Penn State 60.
Jake Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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