Nittany Lions Defeat Georgia Tech, Earn Third Straight ACC-B1G Challenge Victory

Nittany Lions Defeat Georgia Tech, Earn Third Straight ACC-B1G Challenge Victory

Penn State men’s basketball was back in action Tuesday night as the team faced Georgia Tech as part of the yearly ACC - Big Ten Challenge. For the third straight year, the Nittany Lions earned a victory during the challenge, beating the Yellow Jackets 67-60.

Junior guard Shep Garner led the game with 17 points on the night, and redshirt freshman Mike Watkins chipped in with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Throughout the game, the Nittany Lions (5-3) struggled to get the ball through the net, making just four out of their 15 three-point attempts. In the first half, the team combined for only 30 points, and shot 33% from the field. Georgia Tech (4-2) had similar woes throughout the game, and the two teams were tied seven times during the first half. Georgia Tech’s Quinton Stephens led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Josh Okogie pitched in with 13 points.

In the second half, all eyes were on sophomore Josh Reaves, who missed the first five games of the season due to a leg injury. While Head Coach Pat Chambers said after the game that Reaves was still only at about 80%, his first 3-pointer of the year late in the second half was a difference maker for the Lions to defeat the Yellow Jackets.

''He picked a huge spot in the game to get his first 3,'' Garner said. ''We're proud of him. My teammates put the ultimate confidence in me and I put the ultimate confidence in my teammates.''

Following the game, Chambers said that although the game was not pretty, his team still found a way to win.

“Hard fought, major Big Ten game.I’m really proud of our guys, we did not shoot the ball particularly well and we still found a way,” Chambers said. “That’s really encouraging. If Payton is only scoring four and Tony finally struggled and he hasn’t struggled all season, we were looking for some answers and we found them.”

If anything, the win tonight shows that the team is finally finding their groove on the court and with each other. “We’re starting to get our identity now,” Chambers said. “We didn’t make shots but we found a way and that’s the sign of a team maturing and growing up.”

Up next, the Nittany Lions host Wright State this Saturday at 5 p.m. on Big Ten Network+. The game was originally set for 6 p.m, but the time was changed to accommodate Penn State football’s Big Ten Championship game later that evening.