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Penn State Hoops Opens Season With 75-59 Victory Over Youngstown State

Penn State men’s basketball (1-0) won its first game of the season Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions took down Youngstown State (0-1) 75-59 in the first-career win for head coach Micah Shrewsberry.

Seth Lundy led the way with 23 points and six rebounds. John Harrar had a double-double, scoring 16 points and bringing in 14 boards. Sam Sessoms also contributed 17 points and eight assists.

How It Happened

Penn State won the tip, and instantly got the scoring with a Seth Lundy three. After a shut down possession on defense, John Harrar got an offensive rebound and a basket in the paint. Youngstown State quickly responded with five points of its own to tie the game, but Harrar scored a quick two to get the lead back.

The Penguins went on a run to take the lead, but Lundy got a steal, scored, and drew a foul to tie it back up. He made the free throw to take back the lead.

On the next possession, despite two missed shots, Jalanni White got two offensive rebounds and the put back basket. Then, sophomore Dallion Johnson hit an open three to extend the lead. The Penguins weren’t going away, though, and they were able to take back the lead.

While White showed his grittiness by getting another offensive rebound and put-back basket, Penn State was not doing anything defensively. It felt like Youngstown State could just walk into the paint and score.

After a timeout, the Penguins were able to hit an immediate three to extend their lead. The Nittany Lions responded with back-to-back baskets from Harrar and Lundy. Sam Sessoms then drew a hard foul, but he only made one-of-two free throws.

Penn State went on a 10-0 run before Youngstown State scored another basket. Jaheam Cornwall quickly responded with a three pointer to stop the momentum.

The Nittany Lions controlled the last three minutes of the half, and their defense got a lot better. They got the last possession of the half, and Harrar was able to draw a foul. He missed both free throws, and Penn State led 35-26 going into halftime.

Lundy got the second half started like he did in the first half, with a made three. Youngstown State responded with a three of its own, but Jalen Pickett rescinded with a three if his own. Pickett and Sessoms made some easy buckets and forced the Penguins to call a timeout.

Nothing immediately happened after the timeout, but Lundy hit another wide open three to grow Penn State’s lead. Youngstown State scored seven points after that, but Harrar got to the paint and broke the scoring drought.

The Penguins were able to hit a three, but Lundy took over and drew a foul on a made lay-up. He made the free throw. Youngstown State quickly responded with a three pointer, however, and wouldn’t go away.

Johnson entered the game and shot an open three, but missed it. Luckily, Sessoms was right there for the put-back layup. The Nittany Lions needed that because the Penguins were getting hot and were crawling back into the game.

Youngstown State kept nailing threes, while Sessoms kept driving and scoring in the paint. The Penguins had all the momentum going into the under-eight-minute media timeout, and the Nittany Lions were scrambling for answers.

Sessoms and Lundy were not going to let Penn State go down without a fight. They scored back-to-back baskets, and Pickett joined in on the party with a bucket of his own. Harrar then joined with a massive slam dunk, and Sessoms followed that up with a beautiful layup. Youngstown State was left with no choice but to call a timeout to stop Penn State’s momentum.

Lundy had a big time fadeaway, and then Sessoms had a beautiful pass to Harrar for a layup to extend the lead even further. The problem was, Penn State looked gassed by the end of the game. Everyone was tired and making mistakes that they would not normally make. But luckily it did not effect the outcome of the game.

Penn State held onto the win, beating Youngstown State 75-59.

Takeaways

  • You could definitely tell there were some first0game jitters from the Nittany Lions. There was some suspect defense at the beginning of the game, but it got much better as the game went along. Some players, like Jalen Pickett, took awhile to get going. All of that is to be expected for the first game of the season, so it will be interesting to note if these trends continue.
  • The absence of Greg Lee and Jevonnie Scott was very noticeable. The Nittany Lions played a lot of small ball when John Harrar and Jalanni White got into foul trouble, and that lineup may not be able to work against bigger, Big Ten opponents. Obviously, there is nothing anyone can do with Lee’s injury and Scott’s transfer issues. But the sooner they get back on the court, the better this Penn State team will be.
  • We’ve seen this story from Seth Lundy before, but man we would be lying if we didn’t say how fun it was to watch him play. The key is consistency. If he can play this way in big games, Penn State has a big star on its hands.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to Massachusetts to play old friend Trent Buttrick and UMass on Monday, November 15. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and the game will air on the CBS Sports Network.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Social Justice in Education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the tv show Survivor, and yes mom, actually doing schoolwork. If you would like to talk about sports or Survivor, the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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