Penn State Basketball

Mike Watkins’ big night leads Penn State men’s basketball over George Washington

Mike Watkins finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks to lead the Penn State men’s basketball team to a 74-68 win over George Washington on Saturday.

Lamar Stevens had 18 points, Tony Carr added 12 and Shep Garner finished with 10 for the Nittany Lions (4-3), who opened the second half on a 15-2 run, erasing a nine-point halftime deficit and building a lead they would maintain the rest of the way.

“We’re a little bit on the roller-coaster ride, but I felt like they were prepared and ready to play tonight,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “I haven’t been real happy with the way they’ve been playing, but their focus was different and their approach was different and we really saw that in the second half.”

Tyler Cavanaugh led George Washington with 15 points.

The Colonials were without second-leading scorer Yuta Watanabe due to a leg injury.

“I don’t think it’s anything long-term, hopefully, but we can’t use that as an excuse and use that as a crutch,” George Washington interim coach Maurice Joseph said.

After the Nittany Lions took the lead in the second half, they held off the Colonials for the win.

The Colonials pulled within 54-53 on a 3-pointer by Jaren Sina with less than seven minutes left.

Stevens hit a pair of free throws and after George Washington cut the deficit to one point again, Garner drilled a 3-pointer.

The Colonials pulled within three points two more times, but couldn’t get any closer.

“We picked it up the last 20 minutes, which was great to see,” Chambers said. “We saw glimpses of who we can be.”

Penn State hosts Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.