What: Men’s basketball (6-2) at Penn State (9-1)
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pa.
When: Sunday, Dec. 14 at noon
The Colonials will begin their longest road stretch of the regular season when they visit Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions on Sunday.
GW has found some rhythm lately and will search for its fourth consecutive win against the No. 42 team in RPI. GW is ranked No. 44.
That consistency has come largely through finding lanes and dominating inside, exactly what the Nittany Lions will try to take away from the Colonials, who will look to stay the course against a defensive team that’s stronger than the ones they’ve played recently.
The case for the Nittany Lions:
Penn State is 9-1 largely on the prolific scoring of D.J. Newbill, who is scoring 22.1 points per game to rank seventh in the nation. He’s played nearly every minute of each game so far, averaging over 38 minutes per game.
Penn State doesn’t force a lot of turnovers or block many shots, but the team forces opponents into bad shooting spots. Opponents are averaging 38 percent shooting against the Nittany Lions.
Penn State’s matchups are also attempting more than 20 threes per game and making about a third of them. The Nittany Lions will likely try to push the Colonials into spots where they have no choice but to shoot the three ball, which is falling just over 32 percent of the time.
They’ll have the home crowd, and in the sports hysteria of Happy Valley, that could pack an extra punch on Sunday. Penn State is averaging 7,321 visitors to games at the Bryce Jordan Center through five home games this season, though that’s only about half capacity.
The case for GW:
The Colonials have a transitive edge over the Nittany Lions through their one shared opponent, Charlotte. GW beat the 49ers 78-70 in the BB&T Classic, while Penn State fell in double overtime to them on Nov. 20 in the team’s only loss of the season.
Newbill will also be coming off his worst game of the season, the only game in which he hasn’t at least tied for a team lead in scoring, in a 64-62 win over Duquesne. He could bounce back, but if he’s slumping, Penn State will quickly become one-dimensional.
If the Colonials can keep finding ways inside, with Kevin Larsen continuing to box out opponents and Patricio Garino keeping his scoring streak going, the Nittany Lions’ seven-game win streak could come to an end Sunday.