Defense Carries Penn State Basketball Over Lehigh, 74-65 - NittanyCentral

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Defense Carries Penn State Basketball Over Lehigh, 74-65

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — In a game where Penn State Basketball had a clear roster advantage, the game was played closer than new head coach Mike Rhoades would have preferred, with the Nittany Lions prevailing 74-65 over Lehigh.

Penn State was led by Kanye Clary’s 20 points and star transfer Ace Baldwin chipped in with 16.

The first half looked somewhat like the opening game, with PSU attempting 12 threes (hitting 5, including an incredibly lucky bank from Jameel Brown). The biggest surprise was D’Marco Dunn getting the start over star Ace Baldwin, who came in off the bench just minutes into the game.

The key was again, far too many turnovers.

Committing 7 turnovers, many live ball, against a team that wasn’t constantly pressing or causing a ton of pressure is inexcusable.

A late Nittany Lion run helped tie the game at the half, 38 all.

Penn State started the right the wrongs immediately as they went up-tempo defensively, stretching the lead with pressing and forcing live ball turnovers. A Clary three gave PSU a five-point lead, forcing a Mountain Hawk timeout. Penn State struggled to extend the lead, missing multiple opportunities to perhaps show their Patriot League foes what B1G basketball is supposed to look like. Back-to-back Mountain Hawk threes tied the game at 50.

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As Steve Travis and I said on the Shots Gotta Fall podcast, this particular iteration of Penn State Basketball is going to struggle to put teams away. The second was eerily similar to that charity scrimmage, where Penn State led throughout, you never really felt the game was in doubt but the margin stayed in single digits. Back-to-back Lehigh turnovers, both leading to ‘pick sixes’ gave Penn State their largest lead of the half 58-52 with 9:31 to go as Dr. Brett Reed from Lehigh was forced to use his second timeout of the half.  Consistent pressure from Baldwin and Clary finally pushed the lead to 11, the first time Penn State enjoyed a double-digit lead. 

Penn State never led by more than 12 the rest of the way, nor did Lehigh get it any closer than 7.  Qudus Wahab was a beast all game, finishing with 17 rebounds to go with 11 points, a nice double-double for the transfer.  Zach Hicks ice cold day from beyond (0-7) was one reason the Nittany Lions could never pull away but in the end, it really didn’t matter. Even without their A-game, Penn State simply had too much talent for Lehigh. The Nittany Lions return to the Bryce Jordan Center Tuesday at 7:00 pm as they take on the nearest Division 1 basketball program to State College, the Red Flash of Saint Francis. 

Penn State Basketball
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Evan Smith