Men’s Basketball Doomed by Nittany Lions’ Hot Start in Gavitt Games Matchup

November 15, 2019

Photo by John Picker/The Georgetown Voice

The Penn State men’s basketball team (3-0, Big Ten) defeated the Georgetown Hoyas (2-1, Big East) 81-66 Thursday night at Capital One Arena, with the Hoyas digging a big hole early and never getting back into the game. Penn State started the game on a 25-7 run, and while the Hoyas closed the lead to eight by halftime, turnovers and sloppy play were deciding factors in the loss. 

Junior center Omer Yurtseven led the Hoyas with 16 points and 10 rebounds, including two monster dunks in the second half. For Penn State, the scoring was led by sophomore guard Myreon Jones with 21. His four early threes paced a hot start for the Nittany Lions. 

The Hoyas were able to respond to the Nittany Lions’ hot start, going on a 9-0 run with key buckets from sophomore guard James Akinjo and Yurtseven, but they only pulled it to within nine. Georgetown cut the lead to as little as six at the end of the first half, but Penn State was in control for much of the game due to 13 Hoya turnovers in the first half. 

Penn State Head Coach Pat Chambers was impressed with the Nittany Lions’ defense. 

“I thought our defense and our rebounding were timely,” Chambers said. “They would go on a run. They would make a big shot, a big play, maybe steal the momentum just for a little bit, and then we were able to get a big shot or a big stop or a big rebound. I thought that was critical.”

Photo by John Picker/The Georgetown VoiceThe Hoyas came out of the half with a lot of energy, and three quick steals coupled with Yurtseven’s two dunks brought the Hoyas to within six again. However, this would be as close as the Hoyas would get for the rest of the night. 

“They beat us at everything. We turned the ball over 21 times. Gave them 22 points off turnovers,” Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing said of the team’s overall performance. “They made their threes. They were 13 for 29 from three. We couldn’t stop them in the paint. We gave them 28 points in the paint.”

Ewing was hopeful that the Hoyas’ up tempo offense would give them an edge over the slower Nittany Lions. “They wanted to play slow. We wanted to play fast.” He said. “And that’s how I thought that we were going to be able to get an advantage. Unfortunately it didn’t work because we gave them too many wide open shots.”

Defensively, the Hoyas looked out of sorts for most of the game, struggling to rotate over on shooters and giving up easy layups in the paint. On top of that, Penn State was able to capitalize on Georgetown’s mistakes, scoring 22 points off 21 Hoya turnovers. 

“It starts individually. You have to be able to stop your guy–at least make him work. And sometimes we’re not getting that done,” Ewing said. “Four guys may do it and one may not. Three may do it and one may not. So we have to do a much better job guarding our man and then if we get beat the help has to be there. And right now we’re not getting that done.”

The Hoyas look to rebound from this dismal performance on Sunday, November 17, against a Georgia State team (1-1, 0-0 Su

Photo by John Picker/The Georgetown Voice

n Belt) that will be coming off a game at Duke. This game will be part of the 2K Empire Classic. This offseason the Panthers parted ways with former head coach Ron Hunter, famous for falling off of a stool in the 2015 NCAA tournament when his son hit a game-winning shot against Baylor. Georgia State no longer has their top four scorers from last year, but they still pose a threat if the Hoyas continue to struggle on both ends of the floor.

Tip-off at Capital One Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 with radio coverage on The Team 980. For continued coverage of the men’s basketball team, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Josh Klein
Josh is a junior designer and sports writer for the Voice.

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