Top Moments From Penn State Hoops’ 2020-21 Season

After failing to qualify for the NIT Tournament, Penn State men’s basketball’s season has likely come to a close.

The Nittany Lions could still technically qualify for the CBI Tournament, but that bracket won’t be selected until this Tuesday evening. Plus, the last time Penn State was invited to the third-tier tourney in 2015, the Nittany Lions declined to play.

Assuming the season is in fact over, interim head coach Jim Ferry’s team finishes with an 11-14 overall record and a push to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. While there were plenty of highs and lows in a fairly inconsistent, sometimes strange season, we thought we’d take a look back at some of our favorite moments from the 2020-21 campaign.

With that, here are our picks for the best moments of the Nittany Lions’ season:

Myles Dread’s Game-Winner Against VCU

In just their second game of the season, the Nittany Lions were in a tight battle with VCU down the stretch at the BJC. Ferry’s group developed a lead down the stretch, but the Rams simply wouldn’t go away.

VCU tied the game with 10 seconds left, and Penn State had one final possession in regulation. That was junior guard Myles Dread’s cue:

Dread had already hit clutch shots throughout his Nittany Lion career entering this season, including a game-winner over Rutgers, and clearly picked up right where he left off to start his junior year.

The clutch shot even ended up ranked No. 7 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays the following day. More importantly, however, was that Dread’s clutch gene helped Penn State improve to 2-0 out of the gates after an offseason of serious uncertainty.

Dominant Upset Over No. 15 Virginia Tech

The Nittany Lions followed the electric win over VCU with an ugly loss to Seton Hall, but they bounced back against then-No. 15 Virginia Tech on the road.

In the famed pink and black alternate jerseys, Penn State absolutely rolled against the Hokies. Ferry’s team bursted out of the gates with a 17-0 scoring run early and never relinquished the lead. Izaiah Brockington led the way with 24 points and eight boards, while Jamari Wheeler added six assists.

The electric 75-55 win over Virginia Tech was the Hokies’ first non-conference loss at home in 35 games, and truly showcases how much talent this Penn State team had. Virginia Tech went on to finish its regular season with a 15-6 record, and will face Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed.

John Harrar Develops Into A Force Inside

The Nittany Lions obviously fell on some hard times after the exciting Virginia Tech win, dropping their first five Big Ten games and even hitting a lengthy COVID-19 pause. Through it all, however, John Harrar proved he was a valued option as a big man for the Nittany Lions.

Harrar put up several standout performances in wins and losses for Penn State, including 14 points and 14 rebounds against Purdue. The King of Delco finished his senior campaign with five double-doubles and was a big reason the Nittany Lions pulled off key wins over strong Big Ten opponents.

The big man even added a career-high 17 points in a key upset over Wisconsin, and collected 14 boards in Penn State’s win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament first round.

One of Harrar’s biggest double-doubles came on his senior night, as the Nittany Lions rolled by Minnesota 84-65.

Nittany Lions Topple No. 14 Wisconsin

After dropping a close battle to No. 13 Ohio State just three days earlier, Penn State faced another huge test at home in No. 14 Wisconsin.

The Nittany Lions answered, as they took down a tough Badgers squad 81-71 at the BJC. In Penn State’s first win over Wisconsin since 2011, Myreon Jones, Izaiah Brockington, and John Harrar, all had big nights, with 20, 18, and 17 points respectively.

Penn State got big defensive stops throughout the night and hit key buckets when it needed them most, including this massive slam in traffic for Brockington.

Along with that, the King of Delco hit a pretty and-one to help Penn State pull away from the Badgers down the stretch.

Izaiah Brockington Throws Down On Everyone In The Big Ten

Along with that dunk against Wisconsin, Izaiah Brockington had some absurd jams throughout the 2020-21 season. In fact, there were so many it was too hard to pick just one.

The first play we’d like to consider came in Penn State’s 81-78 win over Northwestern. Brockington flew down the floor and took off to put Northwestern’s Robbie Beran on a poster.

While this other play came during a losing streak for the Nittany Lions, Izaiah Brockington’s rim-rocking jam is impossible to skip.

Once again, the junior guard put an unsuspecting defender on an absolute poster. Penn State lost an ugly game to Nebraska, but this dunk put Brockington at No. 6 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.

Last but certainly not least, Brockington also managed to finish on an alley-oop this season. While this also came in a loss to Ohio State, Brockington was clearly on the same page with Jamari Wheeler as he flew to the hoop for an easy slam.

Seniors Honored In Dominant Win Over Minnesota

Penn State couldn’t have done this year’s senior night much better than with an 84-65 win over Minnesota. Jamari Wheeler, John Harrar, Trent Buttrick, Kyle McCloskey, and Taylor Nussbaum all got to start and finish the game on the floor, as the Nittany Lions controlled the contest from the tip.

Harrar put up yet another double-double, while Buttrick put up a career-high 13 points in an energetic performance.

As tough as this season may’ve been at times, a key group of seniors was properly honored during their last game at the BJC.

Seth Lundy Carries Comeback Over Maryland

After that senior night win, Penn State stayed hot to close out the regular season.

In a key win over Maryland, sophomore Seth Lundy led a much-needed comeback on the offensive end. The forward exploded for 31 points and paced Penn State throughout the night, serving as the only source of offense for several extended periods.

Lundy’s biggest points of the night came in the game’s final moments, as his finish in the lane gave the Nittany Lions their first lead with just over a minute remaining.

After that, the Philadelphia native splashed home a three that served as the dagger for the Terps.

Nittany Lions Put Up Exciting Comeback In Final Win Of Season

Penn State’s late-game heroics from the Maryland win carried over to the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

After trailing 37-23 at halftime, Ferry’s team exploded in the final 20 minutes for a 72-66 win over Nebraska to stay alive in the conference tourney.

Myreon Jones’ scoring sparked the late-game scoring run for the Nittany Lions, as he and Izaiah Brockington added 14 points in the second half. That pair, along with Jamari Wheeler, started to feel it shooting from just about anywhere, and suddenly Penn State managed to pull away.

Along with that run, Wheeler paced the Nittany Lions in what could go down as his last win with Penn State. The guard from Florida led the way with a career-high 19 points, along with six boards and three assists.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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