Tony Carr, Mike Watkins help Penn State rout George Washington
(AP) Mike Watkins has worn a weighted vest in practice and it’s helped Penn State’s power forward when he finds himself wearing multiple defenders on game days.
Penn State’s 6-foot-9 forward scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to spark the Nittany Lions’ 74-54 win over George Washington on Saturday.
“He’s been dominating in practice, dominating in the games,” Penn State guard Shep Garner said. “He’s making our life that much easier.”
Tony Carr scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half, Garner chipped in 12 points and Josh Reaves added 11 for the Nittany Lions (8-3, 1-1 Big Ten) who never trailed and led 48-19 at halftime thanks to dominant play inside.
“Our identity needs to be defending and rebounding,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “When we defend and rebound and play tough and physical basketball, we’re a really good basketball team.”
That’s how it played out inside the Bryce Jordan Center where Penn State outrebounded the Colonials 42-25 and outscored them in the paint 44-20.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions scored 23 points off 16 turnovers and held the Colonials to just 19-for-52 shooting including a 5-for-23 stretch in the first half.
“We’ve got to make a decision about what kind of team we want to be moving forward,” George Washington coach Maurice Joseph said. “We dug ourselves a monster hole.”
Yuta Watanabe scored 18 points and Jair Bolden added 12 for the Colonials (5-5), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Reaves gave Penn State its biggest lead of the game when he stole a pass and finished with a layup on the other end to put his team up 43-14 with 2:25 to play in the first.
Garner drilled his third of four 3-pointers with a buzzer-beater to reestablish the 29-point lead at halftime.
George Washington scored the first seven points of the second half and Watanabe came alive with eight points in a three-minute span early in the second.
George Washington: The Colonials’ recent winning streak was fueled by consistent shooting but, playing for the fourth time in 10 days, they ran out of gas in Happy Valley. The Colonials had made at least 50 percent of their shots and were 21 for 52 from 3-point range over the last three games but couldn’t create many clean looks against the quicker Nittany Lions and attempted just 23 field goals in the first half.
Penn State: Carr, the Big Ten’s leading scorer coming in with 20.1 per game, bounced back from a 10-for-37 shooting stretch against Iowa and Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions will close out their nonconference slate with four games over the next 21 days before Carr can test his stroke against the Big Ten again.
Penn State guard Nazeer Bostick will return to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game due to an unspecified violation of team rules, Chambers said.
Bostick, who’s playing 16.2 minutes per game, has averaged 5.9 points per game so far this season.
Garner surpassed 1,300 points and pulled to No. 16 on Penn State’s career scoring list with 1,301 points.
By halftime, Watkins had more rebounds (9) than the entire George Washington lineup (7).
George Washington hosts No. 10 Miami (8-0) on Saturday.
Penn State visits George Mason on Dec. 17.