While the men at the other end of the floor sway from side to side trying to stay loose, Ed DeChellis sneaks a glance at his players. DeChellis is in his second season as Navy's coach after spending eight years leading the Nittany Lions. It's the way it's supposed to be for DeChellis' Midshipmen, a group of young men the former Penn State men's basketball coach is grooming for life beyond the Naval Academy.
But that was not lost on Chambers or Stevens. Here is our take on the game. Slow Rotations Give Bucknell credit for coming in with a solid offensive game plan.
Once a Bucknell shooter got his man in the air, he dribbled toward the bucket and usually made a quick pass. Penn State was sloooooow to rotate.
How slow? In the first half, the undersized Bison feasted in the paint, scoring 20 points there. They had 16 layup attempts, making nine.
Instead, PSU was even more effective when it was on offense, hitting 60 percent of its field goals. Even so, the lead was only at the break.
The Bison scored only 28 points in the final 20 minutes, making only 37 percent of their shots. We really flipped that script in the second half. Then he took matters into his own hands. He scored eight straight points for PSU to open the second half, including a baseline reverse dunk that made the crowd go crazy.
Just like that the lead was and you could tell the game was over. Bucknell did get back to within , but it was obvious Stevens could go off whenever he wanted. He finished with 27 points on of shooting. Stevens caught a piece of the short shot and the ball bounced high off the rim and … after what seemed like forever … straight through the net for two points.
After the play, Moore flexed, which is what players do these days when they score on power moves inside. Only this was less a power move than a lucky bounce. Yep, Bruce Moore. Never poke a sleeping bear — or Nittany Lion.
He entered this game having made 4-of triples, his Stevens did not attempt a 3-pointer vs. Bucknell, and he and Chambers were both asked about that. My take? Tuesday night, he made of shots and was scoring at will in the paint.
There is ZERO reason to go away from that if it is working.
PSU fans are well aware of the physical, mental and legal issues Watkins has overcome to get to his senior season. And he is making the most of the opportunity.
Tuesday, he scored eight points in the first seven minutes.
When the Bison adjusted, he did not force anything. He finished with 18 points on a ridiculous 9-of shooting. He also blocked four shots and committed only one foul. Fans were actually booing. Listen, I get it in the sense that followers of the program have had to endure a lot of brutal offensive basketball through the years.
But Chambers did the right thing there — and explained it well. I love his program, they're a winning program. They do things the right way, they're always fighting for a championship. And I don't want to do that. You know, we had a comfortable lead.
It's not the time to try to rub it in anybody's faces. You get the full context of all of the questions and answers. At halftime, it sure looked like anyone who took the Nittany Lions was going to be in trouble. But then they took care of business in the second half.
PSU has now covered the spread in all four games this season.
Penn State is now in over vs. The Lions have scored 81 or more points in all four games. The athletic department will be showing the Penn State-Ohio State football game on the big screen at the BJC for fans who arrive early enough to see it.
They have dropped back-to-back games at San Francisco in overtime and Oklahoma State Yale actually leads the all-time series , including back-to-back wins at the BJC in and in the last two games between the two programs.