Balanced Penn State pulls away for 41-point win over Morgan State

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Balanced Penn State pulls away for 41-point win over Morgan State


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Tony Carr looked toward the basket, took a step inside and bounced a pass into the hands of Shep Garner, who dropped it neatly in the hoop.

Garner pointed in Carr's direction and offered a respectful nod as they headed back down the court where they'd soon be back on the attack again and again during Penn State's 96-55 win over Morgan State on Wednesday.

It was the pace and trust Penn State coach Patrick Chambers envisioned his team playing with before the season started. Then, he knew he'd have veterans like Garner to lean on. He also knew Penn State would need to draw plenty from rookies like Carr.

"This is what I envisioned for sure," Chambers said. "I think they're getting really smart where we're not jacking 3s in those situations where we may have missed a few in the row. Now we've got to put pressure on the paint. Now we've got to get ourselves to the free-throw line. Now we've got to go attack the rim really strong."

The Nittany Lions (8-5) did so in waves.

Lamar Stevens scored 20 points, Carr and Payton Banks added 11 apiece and Mike Watkins, Shep Garner and Julian Moore scored 10 each for Penn State, which has won two straight.

Penn State used a 23-10 run to take a 49-29 halftime lead and never led by less than 18 in the second half. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions outrebounded the Bears 49-32, outscored them in the paint 52-12 and dropped 27 fast-break points.

Phillip Carr led Morgan State (3-8) with 19 points and Kyle Thomas added 14.

It was the sixth loss in the last seven games for the Bears, who played their second straight without leading scorer Tiwian Kendley.

Sharing the ball
Tony Carr, who finished with 10 rebounds, just missed out on what would've been his first career triple-double. He finished with eight assists, many of them slick like his inside feed to Garner in the first half. Overall, it was an unselfish night for the Nittany Lions who combined for 23 assists.

A handful of them were made by Stevens as he had to decide when and where to drive to the hoop as Morgan State defenders rushed to the top of the arc to guard him.

They had little success. Stevens began the second with six of his team's first 10 points, including two on a vicious dunk set up by another nice inside dish by Carr.

"The juice that he brings off his dunks, he is fearless when he's going to the basket and he also will jump up and make an extra pass," Chambers said. "He is becoming a really good basketball player and the feel that he has right now, for a freshman, he's a little bit beyond his years."

No Kendley, little offense
The Bears had trouble scoring without top shooter Kendley, who's led them in points in five of nine games he's played. The junior transfer from Lamar Community College missed his second straight game with a stress fracture in his right foot. Despite suffering the injury in an earlier game, Kendley scored 40 in a two-overtime game against Manhattan on Dec. 6 before the injury flared up and forced him to sit out.

Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said he expects Kendley back "at some point" this season.

"I knew it was going to be tough missing his points and assists and rebounds and his toughness," Bozeman said. "He's the grittiest guy we got."

The big picture
Morgan State: The Bears haven't had a winning season since 2012-13 and although they don't appear headed for one this year, they'll have chances in the MEAC. Only North Coastal Central (7-5) has a winning record and the other 12 teams combined for a 35-116 record heading into Wednesday.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions dominated in every facet and looked more like the up-tempo team that started the season averaging 85 points over its first four. Coach Pat Chambers hoped a starting lineup that includes three freshmen would continue to rely on physical defense to dictate a fast offensive pace. Chambers has to be pleased as his team played its best defensive game of the season with the Big Ten opener up next.

Up next
Morgan State plays at Loyola Marymount (6-3) on Monday.

Penn State hosts Northwestern (10-2) in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Tuesday.

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

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Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

Forget about Chip Kelly for a second: When you think of the University of Oregon, you probably think of their uniforms.

Each season, the Ducks push jersey and helmet designs to new heights, and their trailblazing influence has trickled down throughout college athletics. It all started in the 1990s, when Oregon decided to get crazy - and it worked.

In the second episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast series, NBC Sports Northwest takes a deep dive into how Oregon sparked a fashion transformation across college football with a mascot change, and with unique Nike uniforms that helped push the program into the national college football coversation.

The episode features in-depth interviews with former Oregon football head coach Mike Bellotti, former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, and more.

The episode releases Thursday, June 11. You can listen to this episode and the entire "Sports Uncovered" series by subscribing for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

To catch every episode, be sure to subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" and have every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is available on the MyTeams app and on every major podcasting platform: Apple, Google Podcast, iHeart, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn

Listen and subscribe to the "Sports Uncovered" podcast:

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

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Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

It's been 12 days since Villanova's season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus crisis. Jay Wright held a video conference on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics. 

Here are the major takeaways from Wright's session with the media.  

This March is different

Villanova missed out on opportunities to win a fourth straight Big East Tournament and participate in the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Wildcats won eight of their final nine games to clinch a share of the Big East regular season title. Not having a chance to shine in the postseason stings. 

"Missing the NCAA Tournament is obviously tough for our guys," Wright said. "We felt like we were playing great basketball, coming on strong. I always say we want to play our best basketball at the end of the year, and I think we were doing that. It is what it is, our guys get it. 

"It's a great example of our mantra 'attitude'. We try to teach our guys that you don't have control over what happens in life. What you do have control of is your response to what happens to you. 

"I don't know if there's even been a March where I wasn't either in (the NCAA Tournament), watching it or recruiting during it. I'm testing myself on what else is there in me? Being a better father, being a better husband. Spending more time with the kids, watching more movies, reading more, trying to be more worldly. I'm not very good at it but I'm trying."

Will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA? 

Arguably the biggest question concerning Wright's team heading into the offseason is will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA or will he return for his junior season at Villanova? Wright mentioned that Bey was especially disappointed when this season was cut short. He realizes that he has a big decision to make on his future. Wright discussed Bey's future plans as well as freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is also considered an NBA prospect. 

"The NBA is still on hold," Wright said. "They don't have a plan yet for what they're going to do with the pre-draft process or the draft yet. Saddiq and Jeremiah probably both will go through that process when we find out what it is. They're waiting on us for information, should they start working out? We're trying to get them as much information as possible. 

"If we were in a normal timeline, they would both go through the process. As we learn what the NBA is going to do there are so many possibilities. Just to take it to an extreme, there's a possibility they might not have a pre-draft process and just have the draft with no workouts, using the evaluations they had during the season. 

"We're communicating with both of them daily. Saddiq is having a tough time trying to find a place to work out in [his hometown] Washington D.C. He just got a gym to get into so he can shoot, he can't find a gym to get into to lift. Jeremiah is trying to find a place around here to get into to shoot."

2020 Summer Olympics postponed

Wright was supposed to spend a portion of his summer as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo. But with this week's announcement that the Olympics are postponed, his plans have changed. 

"It's the right decision," Wright said. "I feel bad for all of those athletes that it's once in a lifetime experience. I really feel bad for them. For basketball guys it's not as difficult. I talked with [U.S. head coach Greg Popovich] yesterday. It's postponed, obviously not cancelled, postponed until some time next spring or summer. There's a lot of questions there. They could do it late spring, when you might not have NBA players. If they did it in the summer maybe you do have NBA players. We have to wait for the IOC to make those decisions. 

"For us personally (at Villanova), it's kind of crazy because we thought we came up with this great plan. I was going to have to leave our offseason program for the Olympics. We had a plan to work around that, and now it doesn't matter. We'll be here in June and July. Now we don't even know if the players will be here. We worked so hard to put this plan in place for me being away and now it doesn't even matter."

Phillies season on hold

A Bucks County native, Wright is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. He had Phillies season tickets as a kid and is a regular at Citizens Bank Park during the summer months. Like all Phillies fans, he's disappointed the baseball season isn't starting this week.

"The end of the basketball season was always sobering," Wright said. "But what always saved us was the start of the Phillies. Opening Day and the start of baseball season in our family is a big deal. 

"We watch the spring training games, we'll even joke, 'Who do the Phillies play tonight?' It's really surreal. Spring time without baseball, especially the Phillies, is bizarre. It's really the way myself and my family get ourselves out of basketball mode. We go to Opening Day, we go to the Phillies games, we love 'Bark in the Park', we always bring the dogs. We're really going to miss it."

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