Going into the game against Rutgers, Penn State (9-6, 1-1) struggled with illness, as a few of the players and staff had a stomach bug.
“We had a tough four days, really difficult,” Head Coach Patrick Chambers said in the post-game presser. “A lot of illness, sickness, and we still practiced anyway….we could have easily had every excuse in the book to mail it in and pack it in, ‘Well I was sick, he was sick’ – we didn’t do that. We went out and competed. It was a really good road win for us.”
Despite the odds, Penn State was able to earn the win with junior forward Payton Banks scoring 20 points while Freshman Tony Carr pitched in with 15.
From the opening whistle, the team went 0 for 10 from the field, but Carr was able to convert a three-pointer and team was able to overcome their deficit and headed into halftime leading 27-23.
In the second half, Penn State looked comfortable against Rutgers (11-4, 02) and were able to stretch out their lead to a high of 18 points with less than 12 minutes left to play. The home crowd was very audible during the game, cheering on Rutgers player Mike Williams who scored 16 points, but their efforts were not enough as Penn State was able to finish out the game with a 60 - 47 lead.
With the win, the team proved that their bench players could step up when needed. “We just keep saying attitude. Believe in your attitude, control the controllables, which is your energy, your effort, your attitude,” Chambers said after the game. “That’s all we were saying in the huddle, is ‘we’re fine, shots will fall, be patient.’ I think because there was no panic in Tony Carr and Payton Banks, we settled in a little bit and we saw the ball go through the basket.”
The Nittany Lions get a few days to rest and continue their conference play on Wednesday night against the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m.