MBB Weekend Game Grades

Story posted November 12, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Keating

Men’s basketball opened up its 2017-2018 season on a high note by winning their opening two games this past weekend. The first matchup against the Campbell Camels proved to be a tight one, but sophomore guard Tony Carr, who had 33 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, led the team to an 86-75 win.

The Lions did struggle with the opposition play of Campbell’s point guard Chris Clemons, who posted 39 points.

While Penn State did hold a 17-point lead in the second half, sloppy defense and poor fouls allowed Campbell to climb back in and make it a ballgame.

Here are the game grades for Penn State’s game against Campbell:

Guards: B

The guard play was hovering around average with the exception of Carr. Shep Garner’s performance in his first game of his senior season was a disappointment to say the least. Garner finished the contest with a mere eight points. The guards shot a combined 23.5% from beyond the arc and often times found themselves taking forced shots. Though, Josh Reaves went 0-3 from downtown, he did score 15 points while adding eight boards and showed that he still remains one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten by adding three steals. The biggest area of improvement for the guards would have to be shot selection and transition defense.

Forwards: C-

Penn State was without its star forward Mike Watkins who also did not appear in either of Penn State’s exhibition games. Sophomore Lamar Stevens had a game in which he would like to forget. Stevens had only eight points and six boards, but he also had a team high six turnovers and eventually fouled out of the contest. As for Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce, they combined for just 12 points and 11 rebounds. However, Pierce and Moore provided a presence down low which made it tough on the bigs of Campbell at times. I expect the play of Stevens to only get better and Watkins will significantly help the play of forwards as the season progresses.

Coaching: B-

Coach Chambers obviously was working with a more talented unit, but he had his hands full when it came to preparing for Campbell’s guard Chris Clemons, who was the third leading scorer in the country last year with a 34.5 points per game. It was the first game of the season, so assuming Chambers would be experimenting with different players would have been a safe bet. However, he may have gotten carried away as the Lions had a lead as big as 17, cut to five with under four minutes remaining. Finally, Chambers needs to improve transition defense because his team was very susceptible to the fast break.

Sunday’s game against Farleigh Dickinson saw the Nittany Lions getting off to a slow start, but Penn State eventually dismantled the Knights, 81-57, leading to a 2-0 start of the campaign.

Here are the game grades for Penn State’s game against Farleigh Dickinson:

Guards: B+

Apart from the first nine minutes of the game, the guard play was outstanding, barring the play of Shep Garner and Jamari Wheeler. The Lions’ slow start began with five missed shots and it seemed that they were going to once again give way to a game full of poor shot selection. The complete opposite happened. Tony Carr, Josh Reaves, and Nazeer Bostick all had double-digit scoring performances. Sore spots were Garner and Wheeler, who did not register a single point. They went a combined 0-12 from the field with six of Garner’s shots coming from beyond the arc. The senior guard has been unimpressive so far and needs to figure it out before the season moves on.

Forwards: B

Mike Watkins returned to the lineup for the Nittany Lions and he did not disappoint. Watkins was third in scoring with 15 points. He also added three blocks and was a dominant force during the game. Lamar Stevens bounced back from a poor showing on Friday by adding 12 points, seven boards, and four assists over the span of 33 minutes. However, the rest of the forwards on the team did not contribute to much of the team’s success. Satchel Pierce finished without any points while Julian Moore only played two minutes. Overall, Watkins and Stevens were able to easily dominate the forwards from Farleigh Dickinson.

Coaching: A-

Outside of the slow start, Pat Chambers did a good job to get his team under control to handily win this game. Penn State’s start did prove that a lack of poor shot selection still looms over this Nittany Lion team, but Chambers’ ability to get the players on track will help during the course of the season.

Christopher Keating is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email cmk5856@psu.edu.