For those that were worried about a potential hangover following the Seton Hall loss, worry no more. Penn State came out blistering hot in this one and completely dismantled No. 15 Virginia Tech on the road with a 75-55 win, moving to 3-1 on the young season.
The Lions were led on the offensive end by Izaiah Brockington with 24 points (10-14 from the floor). Myreon Jones and Myles Dread were also active on the offensive end, chipping in 14 and 11 points, respectively. The team as a whole shot over 50% from the floor and made guarding them borderline impossible even for a very good Virginia Tech team. Brockington also led the way on the glass with 8 rebounds, with John Harrar (6 rebounds) close behind him.
Penn State started about as hot as you can, going on a 17-0 run after the Hokies grabbed the first three points of the night. The Nittany Lion defense harassed their opponent into turnover after turnover while astoundingly not turning it over a single time themselves in the opening 20 minutes. Brockington led the way with 15 points in the first frame for his squad which could simply do no wrong.
|PSU||Izaiah Brockington (24)||Points|
|VT||Jalen Cone (11)|
|PSU||Izaiah Brockington (8)||Rebounds|
|VT||Keve Aluma (12)|
|PSU||Jamari Wheeler (6)||Assists|
|VT||Tyrece Radford (3)|
Most encouragingly, each time the Hokies started to show life and shrink the lead, Penn State responded and went into the break with a 19-point lead.
But it didn't stop there. A pair of early fouls to start the second half was worrisome, but then the Lions picked up where they left off in the first half, extending the lead to a luxurious 63-34 five minutes into the half. Myreon Jones started to find his touch, particularly from deep (4-7 from deep) to help pace the way and deliver the Lions to the finish line while keeping Virginia Tech at a very comfortable arm's length all the way to the end.
Oh, and did we mention that all of this happened despite the fact that leading scorer Seth Lundy didn't account for a single point on the night? Nothing was stopping these Lions on Tuesday night in Blacksburg.
- The turnover-margin and hot shooting were great to see, but perhaps the best part of this dominant performance from Penn State was that it came on the heels of a massively disappointing letdown loss to Seton Hall just a few days earlier. It was reminiscent of last year's huge win over Syracuse after the collapse against Ole Miss, but with the added fun of this one coming against the No. 15-ranked team in the country.
- Penn State's ball movement on the offensive end was a sight to behold. No matter who was on the floor, the team sent crisp passes inside and out and it did wonders to open up great looks. One of the criticisms of the team in the past has been its lack of a plan on the offensive end, and that doesn't seem to be the case with this year's team. Whether it's a focus of interim head coach Jim Ferry or simply the result of having three capable ball handlers in Myreon Jones, Jamari Wheeler, and Sam Sessoms, it's a lot of fun to watch.
- With Lundy, Brockington, Jones, Sessoms, and Dread, this Nittany Lion team has five different guys who are capable of eclipsing 15 points and threatening for 20 on any given night. The frontcourt still has notable depth issues, but those are a bit easier to swallow knowing you have so many players capable of scoring in bunches.
- Pat Chambers may be gone from the Penn State sideline, but his fingerprints are still all over this team. They're most apparent on the defensive end and on hustle plays. Defensively, the Lions are relentless in harassing opponents and the Hokies were visibly frustrated by the constant pressure. Then there were the numerous loose balls that Penn State won with pure hustle and force of will.
- Penn State is now 12-0 while wearing the pink and black uniforms. The magic is real.