While Nittany Nation began to process the crushing loss on the gridiron in Minneapolis, the men's basketball team took to the court for their second game of the newborn season. The Wagner Seahawks came to town as 25-point underdogs, but Bashir Mason's team put up a fight through the first 20 minutes. They took advantage of a sluggish Penn State team that shot a measly 13-34 in the first half. Despite missed opportunities, the Lions still managed to hold a 37-30 halftime lead.
A 13-1 burst over the first five minutes of the second half gave the home team a comfortable 50-31 lead that was never seriously threatened again. Penn State got balanced contributions up and down the rotation, as eight players finished with at least seven points. Depth has been a frequent talking point in the preseason, and they backed it up today after posting 91 points with the leading scorer (Myreon Jones) finishing with only 14.
It's near-impossible to get a meaningful read about the season from some of these early games against the dregs of Division I (Wagner is ranked 339th in KenPom), but here are a couple takeaways from the Lions' second victory.
1. Secondary Contributors Step Up
No one will argue that Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins and Myles Dread aren't the Lions' best three players. All three had lackluster showings by their standards today, yet Penn State was still able to win with ease. The "big three" only accounted for 9 of the Lions' 54 second half points when the game was decided. Myreon Jones (14 points), Izaiah Brockington (12 points), Jamari Wheeler (10 points), Seth Lundy (12 points), and Curtis Jones (8 points) picked up the slack.
2. Seth Lundy Impresses
It was hard to predict how the freshman from Philadelphia would be integrated into the rotation this season. The next man up from PSU's growing Roman Catholic lineage, Lundy's potential is obvious. But the Lions' rotation already figured to run at least eight-deep, so Lundy could be brought along slowly at his own pace rather than being thrown into the fire like most talented PSU freshman.
But if Lundy keeps playing like he did Saturday, Pat Chambers will have no choice but to move him up in the rotation. He was a factor on both ends of the floor, playing stout defense while posting insane efficiency on offense. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor to finish with 12 points and 7 rebounds in just 15 minutes. His efforts earned him his first KenPom game MVP.
3. Having to Pay for Big Ten Plus is a Crime
If you tried to watch this game on Big Ten Plus, you know my pain.
If you're too young to remember what Internet video was like when they first "figured it out" in the late 1990s, may I recommend BTN+ to you. @PennStateOnBTN— Independent Site: PennStateHoops.com (@PennStateHoops) November 9, 2019