Penn State coach Patrick Chambers wasn’t happy with his team’s performance in the final 10 minutes of the first half against Wright State.
The Nittany Lions started strong, building a 12-point lead, only to see Wright State pull even and remain within three points at halftime. Penn State helped the Raiders stay in the game as it committed seven turnovers in the final eight minutes of the half.
“Live-ball turnovers are a killer right now,” Chambers said.
The Nittany Lions (6-3) are focused on cleaning up those mistakes heading into their game against George Mason (6-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
In Penn State’s 72-50 win over Wright State, Chambers saw a lot of positives.
The Nittany Lions had four players score in double figures. Mike Watkins had eight blocks to go with eight points and nine rebounds. Point guard Tony Carr led the team with 12 rebounds.
But it wasn’t a complete performance.
The Nittany Lions finished with 16 turnovers.
Chambers thinks his players are guilty of trying to get “too cute” with their passes at times.
“It doesn’t have to be the highlight-reel (play),” Chambers said. “It can be simple, it can be effective, it can be efficient. That’s still a great play and that leads to two points or it leads to a foul and we get to the free-throw line.”
Penn State dominated the second half against Wright State, but the Nittany Lions didn’t always look to make the simple, efficient play.
With Penn State ahead by 21 in the second half, Shep Garner came up with a steal and pushed the ball down the court.
His attempt to drop a pass off for Payton Banks, who was trailing him in transition, resulted in another turnover.
Carr has heard his coach say the team is trying to be “too cute” or “too flashy.”
“If we focus on the details and the small things like coach Pat says, we’ll cut all that out,” Carr said.
The point guard added that some turnovers are a product of the team’s playing style.
Chambers wants the Nittany Lions playing at a faster tempo this season.
The coach said they’ve slowed down a little bit, partly to limit turnovers.
But now he wants to see them pick up the pace again and to look to make the simple play.
“Once they figure that out, like just the simple extra pass, maybe a bounce pass here, the game really becomes simple and becomes really effective,” Chambers said.
George Mason at Penn State
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
Radio: WQWK 1450
Otis Livingston II