Penn State vs. Wagner Preview: Lions Look to Move to 2-0

By Nick Polak on November 8, 2019 at 11:00 am
Penn State forward Izaiah Brockington drives to the hoop.
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Wagner Seahawks
0-1 (0-0 NEC)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
4:00 p.m. ET – Saturday, Nov. 9
BRYCE JORDAN CENTER
University Park, Pennsylvania
Watch Info: BTN+| GAMETRACKER
KenPom Rank: 336
Read: Penn State Game One Win Recap

Penn State started off hot to begin the 2019-20 season with a comfortable win over Maryland Eastern Shore in their season opener. The Nittany Lions held the opposing Hawks to just 46 points and had six different scorers in double-figures.

The Nittany Lions will attempt to move to 2-0 with a win over a lowly Wagner squad. The 336th-ranked offense and 304th-ranked defense shouldn't provide too much resistance against what should continue to be a balanced Penn State attack. The Seahawks return just two of the top-10 scorers from a season ago in Chase Freeman (6.2 points per game in 2018-19) and Tyrone Nesby (3.3 points per game). Needless to say, it's set up to be a rough year in Staten Island.

Projected Starters
Penn State   Wagner
Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Jr. 1 Chase Freeman - 5'11" - Jr.
Myles Dread - 6'4" - So. 2 Curtis Cobb III - 6'4" - Sr.
Myreon Jones - 6'3" - So. 3 Tyrone Nesby IV - 6'5" - So.
Lamar Stevens - 6'8" - Sr. 4 Alex Morales - 6'6" - Jr.
Mike Watkins - 6'9" - Sr. 5 Patrick Szpir - 6'9" - Sr.

Scouting report

As mentioned at the top, Wagner returns basically none of the production from the 2018-19 team. And even then, that team went 13-17 (8-10 in conference). It's not a pretty picture to paint. The Seahawks were able to give Seton Hall at least somewhat of a fight early, trailing by 15 points at the half. Though, they would go on to lose by 34.

Alex Morales will be the key for Wagner. The junior guard had a strong opener with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Chase Freeman shot .343 beyond the arc a year ago and will need to be corralled despite only scoring two points in the opener.

Keys to the game

The key to the game for Penn State should be very simple–don't make too many mistakes. For as unreliable as the Nittany Lions have been throughout the years, even they shouldn't be able to mess this one up. Wagner is just not good. Penn State was easily able to handle Maryland Eastern Shore, who ranks No. 349 in KenPom, and Wagner sits just barely above them at No. 336. If Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, Myles Dread, and company can just do what they do, this should be over by halftime.

Prediction

Don't overthink this. Myreon Jones has his first huge performance of the season with a 24-point night, while Stevens and Watkins combine for 36 more. Penn State gets the whole roster into the game during this one en route to rolling to 84-48 win.

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