Hey! That was fun! The Nittany Lions continued their hot start to the 2019 season with a dominating 76-54 defeat of Wake Forest. With this latest win in the books, Penn State moves to 7-1 on the young season. Pat Chambers had his team ready to play its usual tenacious defense and got offensive contributions across the board as 11 different players got into the score column in this one.
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Myreon Jones led all scorers with 22 points on 8-13 shooting, including 3-7 from beyond the arc. Mike Watkins led the way on the glass with 16 boards, and the team's suffocating defense was highlighted by Watkins (5 blocks) and Lamar Stevens (4 steals).
Penn State started hot in this one, forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets in transition left and right including just a MONSTER slam from Stevens.
It wasn't all roses in the first 20 minutes, though. Wake Forest fought back and had the margin down to just 4 points midway through the first half. The Lions went just cold enough from the field and left just enough men open on the defensive end that Pat Chambers had to emphatically and angrily call a timeout to get his team back in line. Though things were still shaky for a few minutes after the break, it didn't take too long for Penn State to get its stroke back on the offensive end and its tenacity back defensively.
After a strong finish to the half, even with Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens a lot of time on the bench, the Lions were able to extend their lead to 41-23 thanks to some outstanding play from the aforementioned Jones, John Harrar, and Curtis Jones. The Penn State defense held Wake Forest off the scoreboard for the final 4:55 of the opening half.
Then the hammer dropped.
The second half was much of the same for the Lions to start. Wake hit a few shots, but the Lion defense continued to force turnovers and flummox the Demon Deacon offense. Penn State was the more energetic, the more focused, and more determined team throughout the half and it showed as they continued to pull further and further away on the scoreboard.
Before anyone could even blink, Penn State had opened up a lead that reached as high as 30 points. Simply put, it was a complete performance and one in which the Lions, save for a short stretch in the first half, were in complete control for the entirety of the night.
The win caps what was about as good a first eight games of the season Chambers could have asked for. They let the Ole Miss game escape them, but they've rebounded by completely dismantling two traditional hoops powers in Syracuse and Wake Forest. There are no guarantees in conference play, but these Lions look primed to make noise.
Next up, Penn State travels to the dangerous No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 7 to open up their Big Ten schedule. The game will tip-off at noon PM ET from Columbus, Ohio.