UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a dominant 91-65
exhibition win against Lock Haven, Penn State men's basketball is primed to open
the 2016-17 season at home, welcoming Albany to the court Friday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Nittany Lion Patrick Chambers met with members of the media this afternoon to preview the opener.
Including the opener against Albany, it's going to be a quick turnaround for Penn State, hosting three games at home in span of five days, followed by back-to-back games on the road the following weekend.
In a perfect world, that's not an ideal combination for Chambers, but the Nittany Lions will look to grow and build momentum throughout challenges of a nonconference slate that also features five games on the road or at a neutral site.
"It's just so hard because of exams, and you're allowed 13 games in the nonconference and we want to make sure that we get 13 games because we believe that we need it," Chambers said. "We're going to need the preparation for the Big Ten."
Looking back at Lock Haven, Penn State saw nearly 60 percent of its scoring from freshmen or first year Nittany Lions, highlighted by rookie starters Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr. Stevens logged 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Carr posted 15 points.
Chambers was also pleased with the strength of a thriving bench that's packed with potential, specifically noting the chemistry between UConn transfer Terrence Samuel and redshirt freshman Mike Watkins, who both made their first career appearances on the court.
"We wanted to keep those guys, as often as we could, on the floor together," Chambers said. "Again, it gives us that fight, that hunger, that toughness that we wanted off the bench."
Penn State was without junior forward Payton Banks in the exhibition outing due to an injury. Banks, who finished second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 9.4 points per game, could potentially be back in the lineup soon.
"To have him back is going to create more space for our point guards and our guards to get downhill and make plays for others," Chambers said. "We're looking forward to having a healthy Payton and hopefully he can compete on Friday."A Closer Look at the Season Opener
from Samuel and Stevens below.