×

Stevens heats up in very little time

UNIVERSITY PARK — Lamar Steven’s final season with Penn State started with a slam.

An early putback was the forward’s first field goal of the season, but he’ll likely remember the night for a high-flying ally-oop, early in the second half, in the middle of a 14-0 Penn State run.

“He shut the gym down,” Penn State guard Myles Dread said of the dunk.

The Nittany Lions, behind Stevens’ 17 points, throttled the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for a season-opening 84-46 win on Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Stevens’ night was done after just 20 minutes of action and with nearly 12 minutes still to go in the second half with Penn State ahead by 40.

“He’s a really good player — probably on a draft board somewhere,” Eagles coach Jason Crafton said of the preseason All-Big Ten Team member. “I thought we did the best we could.”

Five other Nittany Lions joined Stevens in double figures, including Dread, who was an efficient 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.

A Dread 3-pointer was also part of the early second half explosion from Penn State, which saw the Nittany Lions rebound from a poor shooting first half to truly put the game out of reach.

“I don’t think they were too happy with the way we finished the (first) half,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said of the Nittany Lions. Penn State shot just 42 percent in the opening half, despite leading by 20.

“They wanted to go out and develop good habits and really compete and win the next few possessions and go from there,” he added.

One of the habits Stevens tried to develop in the offseason was his 3-point shooting and it showed against the Eagles. He attempted five shots from outside the arc, one shy of his career-high, converting on two.

All 15 of Dread’s points came by way of the triple, which was also key place for improvement for him in the offseason.

“I was a good 3-point shooter last year,” Dread, who was a tick under 36 percent from three in 2018-19, said. “It felt good to show that work from the summer paid off.”

Mike Watkins got the start at center for Penn State after coming off the bench in eight of the final nine games last season. The senior rewarded his coach by notching a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

He dealt with an injury and legal issues which forced him to miss the start of 2018-19. He also announced last season was dealing with mental health issues.

“He’s in a good place right now,” Chambers said.

MD.-EASTERN SHORE (0-1): Gyamfi 1-2 1-2 3, Cheeseman 4-11 1-4 9, Frost 0-2 0-0 0, Green 0-1 0-0 0, Gibson 2-8 1-2 6, McIntosh 1-1 0-0 2, Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Prevost 0-3 0-0 0, Anderson 1-4 0-1 2, Phillip 3-8 0-0 8, Voyles 2-7 0-0 4, Bartley 2-3 0-0 5, Guy 2-3 3-4 7. Totals 18-54 6-13 46.

PENN ST. (1-0): Stevens 6-12 3-4 17, Watkins 5-6 2-3 12, Wheeler 0-2 0-0 0, M.Jones 3-4 2-3 10, Dread 5-7 0-0 15, Harrar 1-2 2-2 4, Lundy 0-1 3-5 3, Buttrick 1-6 0-0 2, Nussbaum 0-0 1-2 1, McCloskey 0-1 0-2 0, Brockington 4-8 1-3 10, C.Jones 4-9 0-0 10, Beattie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 14-24 84.

Halftime–Penn St. 37-17. 3-Point Goals–Md.-Eastern Shore 4-19 (Phillip 2-5, Bartley 1-1, Gibson 1-5, Gyamfi 0-1, Frost 0-1, Cheeseman 0-2, Voyles 0-4), Penn St. 12-31 (Dread 5-6, M.Jones 2-3, Stevens 2-5, C.Jones 2-6, Brockington 1-3, Wheeler 0-1, Harrar 0-1, Lundy 0-1, McCloskey 0-1, Buttrick 0-4). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Md.-Eastern Shore 26 (Anderson, Gyamfi 4), Penn St. 38 (Watkins 11). Assists–Md.-Eastern Shore 8 (Anderson 3), Penn St. 19 (M.Jones 6). Total Fouls–Md.-Eastern Shore 22, Penn St. 17. A–5,869 (15,261).

COMMENTS