That was fun! The Nittany Lions became just the third team to beat Purdue on its home court this season on Tuesday, soaring to an 88-76 victory. With the result, Penn State pushed its current winning streak to seven games.
The win marks Penn State's first win over Purdue since 2014, just its third win in Mackey Arena, and the first since 2006. It's also just the eighth loss the Boilermakers have suffered at home in the last seven years. Purdue had been red hot at home all season, with big wins against Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin in the last month.
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Mike Watkins and Seth Lundy led the way for Penn State with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Watkins led all scorers in the game, and also led all players on the glass with 10 rebounds. Jamari Wheeler and Lamar Stevens led the team with five assists each, as the Lions as a team had and impressive 21 assists on 28 made shots.
This one was largely decided about two minutes into the game. Pat Chambers' team unleashed a barrage of three-point shots that buried Purdue from the get-go, led by Seth Lundy's four first-half three's. All told, Penn State hit 10 three pointers in the first half, while, Purdue did not convert a single one in the first 20 minutes.
There were nine more of these in the opening 20 minutes.pic.twitter.com/tUbTTCgGfr— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) February 12, 2020
When all was said and done at halftime, Penn State had a 12-point advantage heading into the locker room. Unfortunately for Purdue, it would only get worse from there.
Penn State wasn't able to keep up its torrid streak from behind the arc in the second frame, but it more than made up for it with an improved effort in the paint. The presence of Lamar Stevens, who barely played in the first 20 minutes due to foul trouble, opened things up for Watkins and Harrar to get more involved, as Stevens filled his box score with assist after assist.
Despite brief showings of life from Purdue in the second half, Penn State was never seriously threatened. Still, some iffy ball-handling and poor decisions to foul in the final three minutes will give Chambers some coaching points ahead of the team's next game.
Purdue may be as inconsistent a team as there is in the country this year, but this is still an incredibly impressive win for a Penn State team that was down its second-leading scorer in Myreon Jones. This team is imposing its will on every opponent that stands in its way right now and is now just half a game back of first place in the conference.
Up next for the Nittany Lions will be a home tilt against Northwestern. Stevens, Watkins, and company will return to the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center for a noon tip against the Wildcats, as they look to slide straight into their eighth-straight win.
John Harrar sliding into your DMs pic.twitter.com/DTT5g8aIV0— Sam Cooper (@SamDCooper) February 12, 2020