Tony Carr wasn’t fazed by his introduction to Big Ten basketball.
The freshman point guard said the game might have been a little faster and more physical after Penn State’s loss to Northwestern last week.
“But it’s just basketball at the end of the day,” Carr said.
Carr has been the team’s starting point guard in all 15 games this season, turning in his share of standout performances and enduring a shooting slump during nonconference play. He’s fourth on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game, third in rebounding with 5.4 per game and first with 3.9 assists.
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Carr recorded back-to-back 15-point, seven-rebound, three-assist games against Northwestern and Rutgers to open conference play. Now, Carr and the Nittany Lions (9-6, 1-1) will take on Michigan (10-4, 0-1) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on the road.
The freshman has impressed his teammates this season.
Carr can grab a rebound and push it down the floor for a layup. And he can find his teammates trailing him in transition for an open 3-pointer or running the lane for an easy dunk.
Penn State guard Josh Reaves said Carr has a knack for waiting for the right time to deliver a pass to his teammates.
“Tony has an ability to play at his own pace and he can play at whatever pace that is,” Reaves said. “It can be fast, it can be slow. He can do whatever.”
He can adjust as he leads Penn State offensively under coach Patrick Chambers.
“(Chambers) instills the ultimate confidence in me so he just lets me know what he wants done game in and game out, and I just try to quarterback the team as best as possible,” Carr said.
Carr has been a catalyst in the team’s first two conference games.
But he struggled at times earlier in the season, going 3 for 19 and averaging 3.3 points during a three-game stretch.
Even when his shot wasn’t falling, he wasn’t fazed.
In a game against Wright State during his slump, Carr pulled down 12 rebounds.
Chambers said his freshman showed leadership that day. He didn’t put his head down after a foul or a missed 3-pointer and continued to make plays.
“That’s pretty impressive for a freshman,” Chambers said. “Typically, freshmen fall prey to their energy level on making and missing shots and Tony’s way more mature than that, and he handled that today.”
Notes: Michigan is coming off an 86-83 overtime loss to Iowa in its Big Ten opener. D.J. Wilson led the Wolverines with 28 points and 14 rebounds in the loss. ... Michigan is limiting opponents to 62.6 points per game. ... Michigan (79.6 percent) and Penn State (77.6 percent) are ranked first and second in the league in free-throw shooting percentage. ... Going into Tuesday’s games, Payton Banks ranked third in the Big Ten with 2.8 3-pointers per game. Shep Garner was tied for fifth with Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. with 2.5 per game.
Penn State at Michigan
When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Radio: WQWK 1450
Derrick Walton Jr.