The Penn State men’s basketball team showed what it’s capable of when everything’s clicking in a 92-76 win over St. John’s on Sunday.
The Nittany Lions (7-5) are looking to put together a repeat performance when they take on Morgan State (3-7) in their final nonconference game at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“We need to do it one more time and then really kind of look at the nonconference and kind of digest it,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “I think it’s really, really going to help us headed into the Big Ten play.”
During the game-changing run against the Red Storm, the Nittany Lions caught fire offensively and consistently got stops on the defensive end.
Chambers thought the defensive effort set the tone — St. John’s failed to hit one shot in the final 9:47 of the first half and shot 31 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
With each stop, Penn State looked to run. The Nittany Lions generated open shots on the offensive end and finished with 23 assists in the win.
“That 20 minutes was the 20 minutes that I think we’ve all been waiting for,” Chambers said. “We’ve all been hoping and expecting it to come through, and it still may not be there on a daily basis but at least we saw what it looks like and man, it’s a lot of fun.
“It’s a lot of fun to get stops, it’s a lot of fun to get rebounds, a lot of fun to push the ball and be able to share it the way we did so we just got to build off of it.”
Penn State’s Shep Garner said the team simply focused on getting better after back-to-back losses to George Mason and Pittsburgh.
The Nittany Lions broke through in their win over St. John’s, revealing their potential to play at a high level.
“We have a lot more in us,” Penn State guard Josh Reaves said. “We have a lot more energy, a lot more confidence, a lot more desire seeing how we were. The bench was crazy. The energy on the court was crazy. We were doing everything we needed to do.
“It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a big step.”
Notes: Morgan State lost to Wagner 68-66 in its last game on Dec. 10. The Bears have wins over Wilmington University, Campbell and Manhattan. ... Tiwian Kendley leads Morgan State in scoring with 22.9 points per game. Phillip Carr is averaging 17.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. ... Penn State opens Big Ten play at home against Northwestern on Dec. 27.
Morgan State at Penn State
When: 5 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
Radio: WQWK 1450