Hoops Preview: Lions Look for Big Early Season Road Win

By Craig Fritz on November 14, 2019 at 11:45 am
Penn State Guards Myles Dread and Jamari Wheeler with Head Coach Patrick Chambers
RLR Staff
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Georgetown Hoyas
2-0 (0-0 Big East)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
6:30 p.m. ET – Thursday, Nov. 14
Capital One Arena
Washington, DC
Watch Info: FS1 | GAMETRACKER
KenPom Rank: 63
Read: Penn State Game Two Win Recap

Penn State (2-0, 0-0) will take its modest winning streak on the road on Thursday as it heads to Washington D.C. to face the Georgetown Hoyas (2-0, 0-0). It will be a huge step up in competition for both squads whose KenPom strength of schedules are currently in the 300s. 

Patrick Chambers leaned on his depth in a 91-64 pummeling of Wagner at the Bryce Jordan Center last Saturday, with 82 points coming from players other than Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, and Myles Dread. He'll need more from all three against the Hoyas if Penn State is to get out of the District with a victory.

Projected Starters
Penn State   Georgetown
Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Jr. 1 James Akinjo - 6'1" - So.
Myles Dread - 6'4" - So. 2 Mac McClung - 6'2" - So.
Myreon Jones - 6'3" - So. 3 Jagan Mosely - 6'3" - Sr.
Lamar Stevens - 6'8" - Sr. 4 Jamorko Pickett - 6'8" - Jr.
Mike Watkins - 6'9" - Sr. 5 Omer Yurtseven - 7' - Sr.

Scouting report

It's hard to know what to make of Georgetown through two games. They haven't exactly been as dominant as you would expect against Mount St. Mary's (KenPom 245) and Central Arkansas (KenPom 263), with 13-point and 11-point victories, respectively. 

The Hoyas feature senior transfer and seven-footer Omer Yurtseven, who will be a problem for Penn State in the paint. Yurtseven is averaging a double-double on the young season with 18.5 points/game and 13.5 rebounds/game. He's been tough to defend, hitting 73% of his shots from the floor to go along with 81% from the FT line. Overall, Georgetown is an excellent free-throw shooting team at 78%.

keys to the game

  • Penn State will need a big game from Stevens for their first nationally televised contest of the year. Expect Stevens to be active early and often on both ends of the floor. 
  • Limiting foul trouble for Watkins will also be critical. No one else on the Nittany Lion bench will be able to reliably check Yurtseven, so Watkins needs to stay on the floor.
  • Look for Chambers to use his size advantage at guard to grind on the Hoyas. Dread and Izaiah Brockington should be able to create mismatches. It would be the perfect homecoming opportunity for Dread to go off. He attended Gonzaga College High School, which sits just a mile from Capital One Arena, and he is sure to have family in attendance. His younger brother Malcolm is a 2021 shooting guard for the Eagles.

Prediction

Does scoring travel? The Nittany Lions and their fans will find out pretty quickly if the offense is for real or just put up big numbers against terrible teams. Penn State needs to avoid the scoring droughts that have plagued it in so many marquee games in the past. I think they have the scoring depth to do that, and I think they'll flex their defensive muscles against the Hoyas. Chambers gets a solid road victory against a name-brand team in this one: Penn State 65 - Georgetown 61

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