Carr helps PSU overcome Campbell

UNIVERSITY PARK — Campbell stuck around during Penn State’s season opener in the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, maintaining an unnerving tether and battling back from a series of deficits.

But Tony Carr took control of the second half to ensure an 86-75 victory for the Lions.

“He made big buckets,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “He was disappointed that they had made a run on us and he wasn’t going to let us lose this game.”

Carr kicked off his promising sophomore campaign, recording a career-best 33 points to go along with seven assists and nine rebounds. He also commanded the team’s huddles.

“We had a really hard time guarding Carr,” Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said. “He’s terrific.”

Junior Josh Reaves coupled a predictably energetic defensive performance with 15 points and rebounds to complement Carr.

Penn State’s offense had a sluggish start, but limited Campbell to a similar level of productivity. Five minutes into the contest, both teams were a combined 3 for 15 from the field.

The Lions’ defense knew there was one player on the Camels roster they needed to stop. Guard Chris Clemons, who was voted the Big South preseason player of the year, earned the attention.

“I knew all about Clemons,” Chambers said. “He reminds me of Allen Iverson. I knew he would keep his team in it.”

Just before halftime, the Lions began to gain traction and jumped to a 36-28 lead. Clemons accounted for more than half of the Fighting Camels’ 28 points. The junior finished with a game-high 39 points.

“Guys like that are going to score regardless,” Carr said. “You just have to make it tough on them.”

Freshman Jamari Wheeler was the first freshman to get significant playing time. During the preseason, players noted how well Wheeler was fitting into the program.

His speed was a welcomed addition to the Nittany Lions slow start.

“He’s so competitive. I thought he played fearless,” Chambers said. “He’s going to really bring pace that we need.”

“He doesn’t look like a freshman out there to me,” Carr said. “It was a big help to me.”

Wheeler’s intensity fouled him out of the contest in the game’s final minutes. Sophomore Lamar Stevens, who recorded eight points and six rebounds, also fouled out late in the second half.

As expected, forward Mike Watkins was benched due to unspecified off-court issues. Chambers said he will start at home against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday.

In Watkins’ place was Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce. Julian Moore led the big man unit with eight points, half of which came from the free-throw line.

“He was disruptive,” Chambers said. “There was a lot of positives out there. With a kid like Clemons, I just didn’t like the ball-screen matchup against Satchel as much as I did with Julian.”

With six minutes left, Campbell crawled back from a 17 point deficit to cut the lead to six. McGeehan credited a change in defensive scheme for the comeback.

“It allows you to keep a team a little of balance,” said McGeehan of the switch from zone to man-to-man defense down the stretch.

McGeehan also put a forward on Carr to account for the guard’s length.

However, Carr wouldn’t be stopped. He connected on a series of shots and drew a number of fouls to regain a respectable lead and secure the win.

“I just try to make the best plays for my team,” Carr said. “At that point it was just to score.”

CAMPBELL (0-1): S.Whitfield 2-2 3-4 7, Eudy 5-10 0-0 11, Clemons 12-29 13-15 39, Burk 0-6 0-0 0, Gensler 1-6 0-0 2, Cluxton 0-0 0-0 0, Oliver 3-5 0-0 9, Lado 2-4 3-4 7, J.Whitfield 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-62 19-23 75.

PENN ST. (1-0): Stevens 2-7 3-4 8, Moore 2-5 4-6 8, Garner 2-9 2-2 8, Carr 9-23 13-15 33, Reaves 4-11 7-8 15, Pierce 0-0 4-6 4, Zemgulis 1-1 0-0 2, Harrar 0-0 0-0 0, Bostick 2-6 0-0 4, Wheeler 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 24-65 33-41 86.

Halftime–Penn St. 36-28. 3-Point Goals–Campbell 6-23 (Oliver 3-5, Clemons 2-10, Eudy 1-1, Gensler 0-3, Burk 0-4), Penn St. 5-19 (Carr 2-5, Garner 2-8, Stevens 1-2, Wheeler 0-1, Reaves 0-3). Fouled Out–Wheeler, Stevens, Burk, S.Whitfield. Rebounds–Campbell 36 (Eudy 9), Penn St. 39 (Carr 9). Assists–Campbell 8 (Clemons 4), Penn St. 11 (Carr 7). Total Fouls–Campbell 27, Penn St. 24. Technicals–Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan.