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Penn State Handles Bahamas Pirates in First Exhibition of 2023-24 Season

KINGSTON, RI - FEBRUARY 15: VCU Rams head coach Mike Rhoades looks on during a college basketball game between the VCU Rams and the Rhode Island Rams on February 15, 2023, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, RI. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State overcame a shaky start shooting the ball to produce five players in double figures. PSU beat the Bahamas Pirates 113-65 in the team’s first game of its week-long international tour to the island territory.

The Nittany Lions turned in a positive result for head coach Mike Rhoades’ first game at the helm, finishing 56 percent shooting from the floor in the second half after posting a 33 percent mark during the first 20 minutes, which included an abysmal 3-for-21 tally from three-point range.

Penn State did show flashes of potential and early signs of key development after returning just three players from last season’s roster. The Nittany Lions made up for their 13 offensive turnovers by recording 14 steals and holding the Pirates to 31.8 percent shooting as a team.

Sophomore forward Demetrius Lilly also played extended minutes due to Penn State’s pair of 6-foot-11 big men Qudus Wahab and Favour Aire not making the trip. Lilly, who stands at 6-foot-10, was the tallest player on the court and made his presence known defensively after appearing in just five games last year.

A strong performance by Nick Kern paced the Nittany Lions offensively, finishing with 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and pulling down seven rebounds. North Carolina transfer D’Marco Dunn posted 16 points, while Kanye Clary, Jameel Brown and Puff Johnson each added 13 to round out Penn State’s players in double figures.

Six early points by Kern helped Penn State jump out to an 18-4 lead five minutes into the game. The Nittany Lions then led 26-10 at the 11:53 mark, as their 16-point lead remained steady for the remainder of the first half before going in front 47-31 at the half.

Penn State began to pull away out of the break, building its lead to 26 at the midpoint of the second half before coasting to the finish.

This was Penn State’s first of two exhibition games this week. The Nittany Lions will take on the University of Victoria (Canada) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday inside the Baha Mar Convention Center in Nassau.

NCAA teams can participate in an international tour once every four years. Penn State last played internationally in 2017, also in the Bahamas.
Penn State also debuted a new white jersey that the team will use as a uniform option for the coming season.

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