Penn State Hoops Struggles To Score, Falls To UMass 81-56

Penn State men’s basketball (1-1) struggled against UMass (2-1) in an 81-56 defeat Monday night in Amherst. Seth Lundy led the way for the Nittany Lions with 14 points and four rebounds.

Sam Sessoms played well again, scoring 12 points. John Harrar brought down 12 rebounds and Jalen Pickett dished out seven assists, though those were the only bright spots for the game.

Former Penn State forward Trent Buttrick was the real star of the game, as he led the Minutemen with 19 points to earn the victory. He proved that he could be a star player when given the chance to do so as he and his new squad rolled to victory.

How It Happened

Lundy got the scoring started with a fade away three, but UMass quickly evened it up with a three of its own. The Minutemen went on a run, scoring five more points to get out to a quick lead. Sessoms was able to score on a second chance layup to break the run.

Coming out of a timeout, Jalanni White was able to get a big slam dunk off an inbounds pass from Sessoms. It ended an almost three-minute scoring drought. After a couple really strong defensive possessions, Lundy was able to drive into the paint and drew a foul. He made both of his free throws.

Sessoms hit a big three to finally retake the lead, but UMass tied it up on the next possession. Prior to that bucket, however, the Nittany Lions were on a 7-0 run.

Coming out of the media timeout, the Minutemen stole the ball from Harrar and scored on a transition basket. Harrar got revenge, though, and scored a layup the following possession. Pickett was then able to hit a long range two, but the Minutemen were not going anywhere and responded with a three from the corner.

On the other side of the court, White stepped up in a big way. He was able to secure an offensive rebound, and then he threw down a huge one handed slam. After a defensive stop, Harrar was able to get to the paint and draw a foul. He made one-of-two from the line.

Lundy and Sessoms were able to get to the free throw line for the Nittany Lions, Lundy making both of his and Sessoms only making one. However, UMass hit a second chance three that gave it the lead again. Sessoms got to there free throw line again immediately after, and he was able to knock both of them down.

The Minutemen went on a run and extended the lead to five points. Jaheam Cornwall got his first points of the game off of a second chance opportunity, and Pickett followed up with a fadeaway to cut the lead to one. The second chance opportunities were a huge story in the first half, with the Nittany Lions bringing down seven offensive rebounds.

Coming out of a timeout, it was all UMass. It hit back-to-back threes, and then scored a breakaway layup. It even caused two turnovers in consecutive possessions. That was enough for Micah Shrewsberry to call a timeout to try and settle the team down.

Pickett was able to get to the free throw line out of the timeout, and he made all three free throws. The defense was able to slow the momentum down, and Sessoms was able to knock down a floater. The Nittany Lions were able to hold the ball for the last shot, but they couldn’t make it and went into halftime down 37-33.

Penn State could not buy a bucket coming out of the half, and UMass took advantage of that. Harrar was finally able to end the scoring drought, but the Minutemen responded by scoring two straight three pointers.

Lundy was able to get to the basket to score, but UMass answered yet again, stopping any momentum the Nittany Lions could build. In fact, it felt like Penn State was defeated with 13 minutes left in the game. There was no energy or really any effort. It was all Minutemen.

One of the few bright spots was Lundy, who had a massive slam dunk that should have rejuvenated the team and given them some confidence. Harrar followed up with a nice put back layup, causing UMass to call a timeout.

The Minutemen hit a three coming out of the timeout, but Lundy answered with a three pointer of his own. But UMass was in control from then on. Penn State was unable to score at all.

The drought finally ended on a Sessoms layup, but it was nowhere near enough. Myles Dread made his first three point shot of the season towards the end of the half. After another period of no scoring, Harrar was able to get to the free throw line, where he made one-of-two free throws.

Cornwall was able to draw a foul and get to the free throw line, where he knocked down both. Dallion Johnson was able to create some space and knock down a midrange shot, but UMass made yet another three to stifle any possible momentum the Nittany Lions could build.

Penn State could not add any more points, and it lost 81-56.


  • Maybe it was because it was the second game of the season, or because UMass was controlling the tempo of the game, but Penn State looked gassed and out-of-shape. There were times on defense that it just looked tired. If it weren’t for the gritty play in the paint on the offensive side of the ball and the many second-chance opportunities, the Nittany Lions would have been down by a lot more at the half.
  • Sam Sessoms is continuing to play really great basketball. His performance from the second half against Youngstown State continued to the first half in this game, and without him, the Nittany Lions would have been down by a lot more than four points. If he can be this consistent all season long, he will be someone who keeps Penn State in games.
  • Let’s give it up to Trent Buttrick. He really is a star for UMass, and is playing lights-out basketball. He finished with a career-high 19 points, and added nine rebounds and six assists as well.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions return home to play St. Francis Brooklyn as a campus game for the Emerald Coast Classic on Thursday, November 18. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on BTN+.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed 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 school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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