The Penn State Basketball team downs Quinnipiac 77-68 on a rare Thursday mid-afternoon home game
The Penn State Basketball Nittany Lions handled the visiting Quinnipiac Bobcats 77-68 in front of an empty Bryce Jordan Center.
Hey, I don’t blame anyone. Earlier in the day the State College area received several inches of snow, and the weather wasn’t going to be great as the evening progressed.
Not having the students there was also an issue. But enough about the attendance and why home basketball games should really be played in Rec Hall.
“What did you say about Rec Hall, Chris?”
Nothing. Now onto the game.
The Nittany Lions went with the starting five of Myles Dread, Andrew Funk, Camren Wynter, Jalen Pickett, and Kebba Njie. Seth Lundy was not available for the game as he was out with an ankle injury.
For much of the opening minutes the play was back and forth with both teams bricking their fair share of shots. In the midst of a Penn State 9-0 run, Pickett hit Njie with a gorgeous alley-oop and Kebba knocked down the free throw for the and-one. The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 11-6 just prior to the under-16 timeout of the half.
Quinnipiac and Penn State traded buckets for the next handful of possessions, however the Nittany Lions hit a bit of a cold streak and the Bobcats pulled within one (15-14) with just over nine minutes left in the half. Pickett then checked back in and promptly hit a free throw line jumper after he got his defender in the air. During the shot, Jalen smartly initiated contact with his man and the official called a foul. Following Pickett’s make at the charity stripe, Penn State lead the game 18-14.
The Bobcats then knocked down two free throws and a long two-point jumper to knot the score at 18-18. On Penn State’s next possession Michael Henn got the ball at the top of the key and fed a perfect pass to a cutting Pickett in the lane to give the Nittany Lions the lead again 20-18.
On a side note, raise your hand if you knew Michael Henn was 25 years old. Yeah, me neither.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Myles Dread knocked down a triple to extend the Nittany Lion lead to double digits.
A Wynter three clanked the iron on the next possession and the horn blew to end the half. Penn State went into the locker room up 33-23. I’ll say this, thank goodness Quinnipiac can’t shoot a lick. They ended the first half 7-31 from the floor (22.6%) and 3-13 from deep (23.1%). Penn State wasn’t much better with them going 10-33 (30.3%) and a paltry 2-16 from three (12.5%).
Coming out of the break, the Bobcats knocked down a three and Wynter drained a jumper for the Nittany Lions to make the score 35-26.
Several minutes later, Funk finally hit his first three of the night and two possessions later Old Man Henn popped a triple of his own. Going into the under-16 timeout Penn State extended their lead to 45-32.
Apparently making one three pointer wasn’t good enough for Andrew Funk, because he knocked down another one right out of the TV timeout. Henn then chipped in a pair of layups following fantastic feeds and Funk knocked down two free throws and another jumper. With less than 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Nittany Lions maintained their lead 56-42.
But Quinnipiac wasn’t about to give up without a fight. The Bobcats hit back-to-back threes to narrow Penn State’s lead to 61-49 and they were only a possession away from bringing the deficit to under double digits.
There’s also another official “Jalen Pickett Triple Double Alert” as Pickett currently has 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. Can he get two more assists in the final eight minutes of the game? I’ll let you know later.
Pickett then leaned on his offense by splashing a three and hitting a jumper on the next possession to make the score 68-54 in favor of the Nittany Lions. Following a Njie free throw and another Henn layup, Penn State appeared to have the game completely wrapped up.
With the end of the half a mere two minutes away, Pickett hit a cutting Funk however Andrew was unable to convert to give Jalen his 10th assist of the afternoon. The Bobcats then came down and dropped a three to cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to 73-62. A triple double is obviously pretty awesome to have. Especially having multiple ones in the same season. But first and foremost Penn State needs to focus and win the game.
With 30 seconds left in the game Pickett drove and threw a perfect dime to Myles Dread in the corner. With no one within 15 feet of him, Dread proceeded to clank the three and Pickett’s chances of a triple double vanished.
Pickett dribbled the ball out and the game ended with a Penn State win 77-68.
Player of the game
Jalen Pickett – 21 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal
What more can be said about Jalen Pickett? Seriously? He is clearly the best player on the Penn State squad and it’s very possible he’s one of the top players in all of the Big Ten.
Andrew Funk – 14 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound
Camren Wynter – 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists
Michael Henn – 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Next up for the Nittany Lions is a home game against Delaware State next Thursday, December 29th, at 2:00 PM in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be streamed on B1G+ and available on the radio through the Penn State Sports Network.