Incredible Perimeter Shooting Leads Penn State Hoops To Yet Another Impressive Road Win

Just when you thought this group couldn’t play any better, the No. 13 Penn State men’s basketball team reached a level that you didn’t even know existed.

The Nittany Lions (19-5, 9-4) beat Purdue (14-11, 7-7) 88-76 in the Mackey Arena on Tuesday night for their seventh straight Big Ten victory. It was the first win for Pat Chambers ever in West Lafayette — a place where Penn State hadn’t won since 2006 — and only the eighth home loss in the Boilermakers’ last 97 home games over the past six seasons. Penn State never trailed, picking up its third marquee road win in the past three weeks after defeating both Michigan and Michigan State away from the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center.

Two major reasons lie at the root of Penn State’s recent success: the Nittany Lions are jumping out to quick leads, and it’s because they’re draining three-pointers at alarming rates. Penn State has led at halftime in six of its last seven games, taking a 28-all tie into the locker room during its 15-point home win over Indiana. The Nittany Lions led by an average margin of 10 points after 20 minutes in the other six games.

Penn State’s three-point shooting has picked up a whole lot after being the main problem during the team’s three-game losing streak back in January. During those three losses, the Nittany Lions made just 17 of their 67 attempts from beyond the arc, good enough for just 25 percent.

Over the course of this seven-game winning streak, Penn State has been absolutely on fire from downtown. The Nittany Lions have drilled 61-146 (41.7 %) from three-point land since January 15, after making just 134-436 (30.7 %) in their first 17 games of the season. That 41.7 % mark over the last seven games would rank second nationally for the season, trailing behind only BYU (42.6).

That’s despite not having Myreon Jones, the second-best three-point shooter in the conference (41.3 %), available over the past two games as he deals with an illness. Jones made six three-pointers for Penn State the last time he played in the win over Michigan State, but former starter Myles Dread has stepped up in his place. With Dread back in the starting lineup, the sophomore has made six triples over the past two games, continuing to regain his confidence after a shooting slump earlier in the season.

Freshman Seth Lundy made just four of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc since his first start at Minnesota last month entering Tuesday night, but the Roman Catholic product stepped up for six made three-pointers against the Boilermakers. In comparison, Purdue’s entire team made just four triples.

Everyone on this team seems to have found their shooting stroke. Lamar Stevens is shooting 35 % in Big Ten play. Jamari Wheeler doesn’t take many shots, but he’s knocked down nine of his 21 attempts from beyond the arc this year. Curtis Jones Jr. made three triples in route to an 18-point showing off the bench in the win at Michigan.

Penn State now has seven quad one wins on its resume, more than all but three teams in the country. The Nittany Lions are the only team in the Big Ten with a winning road record as well, moving to 4-3 as a visiting team within the conference. They’ll be favored in six of their seven remaining Big Ten games leading into the conference tournament.

A win over lowly Northwestern (6-16, 1-11) this Saturday would push Penn State to 20 wins, and a likely top-10 ranking in the national polls. Hold onto your seats folks, the Nittany Lions are speeding towards a serious NCAA Tournament run if they can keep up this momentum.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his role with Onward State, Mitch talks about all the #sprots on Penn State's CommRadio. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him as he yells on Twitter about Penn State basketball @mitchystew.

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