Penn State Basketball: Second Half Surge Pushes Nittany Lions To 98-70 Win Over Bucknell
Penn State held Bucknell to 28 second half points while scoring 53 of its own en route to a 98-70 blowout victory on Tuesday night. It was a clinical second half of defense and balanced scoring by the Nittany Lions that followed up a road win against Georgetown with an equally impressive follow up performance.
The Nittany Lions still have plenty of room to grow, but as far as early season first impressions go, they're raising eyebrows for all the right reasons.
How It Happened:
Penn State and Bucknell took the court on Tuesday night for a 6:30 tip and the Nittany Lions wasted little time get out ahead of the visitors as Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens dominated inside and Penn State's outside shooting continue to hit. By the midway point in the opening half Penn State found itself ahead by 11 but open threes and timely shooting by Bucknell kept the Bison within reach, cutting the margin to single digits and somewhere between 2-to-6 point behind Penn State. A jumper by Curtis Jones pushed Penn State's margin back out to 45-42 just 16 seconds before halftime.
From there it was all Nittany Lions, Lamar Stevens with an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the second period sparked a ferocious second half flurry of points and defense by Penn State and in turn a fairly easy victory leading by as many as 28.
Penn State improves to 4-0 on the year, getting double-figure scoring from four different players and multiple basket scoring from eight different Nittany Lions. Lamar Stevens paced the way with 27 but 18 from Mike Watkins and 22 from the combo of Jamari Wheeler and Izaiah Brockington gave the Nittany Lions plenty of scoring options on and off the bench.
It Was Over When:
Lamar Stevens opened the second half with a personal 8-0 run including a thunderous dunk to turn Penn State's three point halftime lead into an 11-point margin. In total the Nittany Lions would go on a 28-9 run that put the game out of reach while smothering Bucknell with tenacious defense and quality rebounding. Despite leading by just three at the half, Penn State looked the better team, and the second half proved that to be the case.
Stats Of The Game:
Penn State scored 58 points the paint and gave up just four points off of turnovers. The Nittany Lions also opened the second half on a 28-9 run that effectively put the game away after a fairly even first 20 minutes of play. Finally, after giving up 42 points in the first half, Penn State allowed just 28 points in the second to hold the Bison to 70 overall. Honorable mention: Penn State shot 60% from the field all night.
Player Of The Game:
Lamar Stevens was clinical with 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds, three steals and no turnovers. An honorable mention here to Mike Watkins who continues to play outstanding basketball going 9-for-12 for 18 points, five rebounds and four blocks without a single foul. Steven's 8-0 run to start the second half gives him the nod here between two great players on Tuesday night.
Penn State takes on Yale this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. before heading to Brooklyn for next week's brief holiday tournament at the Barclays Center against Ole Miss and then either Oklahoma State or Syracuse.