Penn State made it look easy, and there’s something to be said for that.
It’s probably the most telling showcase of how far Penn State basketball has come that the Nittany Lions could get 30 points from two freshmen in an efficient 9-of-15 shooting night and it all seemed normal.
The game itself was forgettable, a fairly routine season opening contest that had all the usual trappings of Game 1. North Florida hung around in the first half, before politely lagging behind in the second as Penn State eased its way to an eventual 18-point lead and a 87-72 final. The most points in a season debut under Pat Chambers ever.
Lamar Stevens was himself, scoring with ease on a night where he could have dropped as many points as he wanted but settled for 22 while pulling down 10-rebounds for his third career double-double.
Josh Reaves was as manic as ever, three first-half steals in just under 30 seconds accounting for seven points, his own 19 points displaying a deft scoring touch to match his elite defensive skill set.
There were the freshmen, headline by Myles Dread who went 4-for-8 from beyond the arc for a confident 17 points as Rasir Bolton rolled in 13 of his own to go with six assists. Myreon Jones was the only Nittany Lion really off on Friday night going 1-for-8 from the field but not for a lack of confidence.
John Harrar continued his own efficient play in place of Mike Watkins with seven points and seven rebounds. In total the Nittany Lions hauled in 39 boards, dishing out 17 assists while turning the ball over a modest 15 times. Penn State shot 47-percent from the field and 38-percent from beyond the arc.
All in all the nature of Penn State’s victory -one that never looked in doubt, nor difficult obtain- is something not to be overlooked as the Nittany Lions played like a team comfortable in its own skins and confident in its own abilities.
There will be plenty to fix in the coming weeks on both ends of the floor, but as first impressions go, the Nittany Lions did plenty to prove that the 2017-18 season was not a fluke. Perhaps more importantly, that the run isn’t over yet, and goals and objectives that have longed alluded Pat Chambers and his program, may not be that far off.