November 18, 2017 / 2:39 AM / 9 months ago

Shorthanded Penn State cruises to win over Columbia

Shorthanded Penn State cruises to win over Columbia

Shep Garner scored 26 points, with 18 in the first half, to lead Penn State over Columbia 79-65 on Friday.

Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins also finished in double figures for Penn State (3-0), which played without starting guards Tony Carr and Josh Reaves.

Stevens scored 14 points and Watkins added 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Nittany Lions, who took control early, pulled away late and led for all but 4:52.

Mike Smith scored 18 points for Columbia (1-2) and Quinton Adlesh and Nate Hickman added 11 each.

Garner was 10-for-18 from the floor with five 3-pointers. Four of them came in the first half where Penn State took control with a 15-0 run that took just over 6:30 in the first.

Columbia was 0-for-5 from the floor in that span and just 2-for-15 over the first 12 minutes.

Garner was hot from the start, unlike Wednesday when he was 2-for-16 from the floor in his first two games before hitting critical back-to-back 3-pointers to lead Penn State over Montana.

He made his third 3-pointer to give Penn State a 25-11 lead with 7:49 to play in the first half as Carr (ankle) and Reaves (undisclosed) watched from the bench.

Despite facing its biggest deficit of the game, Columbia found some offense and went on a run of its own.

Adlesh did his best to equal Garner’s 3-point prowess early. Columbia’s sharpshooting guard fired the 3-pointer that broke up Penn State’s 15-0 run. He made two critical free throws late in the first half before Gabe Stefanini made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Penn State’s halftime lead to 38-35.

But Penn State put together a 13-5 run to start the second half and put the game out of reach. The Nittany Lions led by as many as 19 with 8:12 to play.

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