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Penn State Hoops Bounces Back With 74-59 Win Over St. Francis Brooklyn

Penn State men’s basketball (2-1) took care of St. Francis Brooklyn (0-3) 74-59 on Thursday evening.

The Nittany Lions were led once again by the offensive duo of Sam Sessoms and Seth Lundy. John Harrar and Jalanni White dominated on the glass, both grabbing more than seven rebounds.

How It Happened

Penn State took the court Thursday night against St. Francis Brooklyn trying to bounce back from its first loss of the season, in which the Nittany Lions suffered a blowout 81-56 loss in UMass.

The first basket of the game was scored by Terriers guard Rob Higgins off a turnover by Nittany Lions senior forward John Harrar. Senior+ forward Jalanni White and Harrar got the scoring started for Penn State, using their size to back down the smaller St. Francis Brooklyn front-court, scoring the first three field goals for the Nittany Lions.

Both teams struggled with their shot-making early on, as well as holding onto the ball. Through the first eight-plus minutes, both Penn State and St. Francis Brooklyn combined to shoot just 9-24 and just 2-9 from beyond the arc.

In addition to struggling to shoot the basketball, St. Francis Brooklyn found itself in foul trouble much earlier than it had hoped. The Terriers committed their fifth team foul of the first half only nine minutes in.

As the first half progressed, so did Penn State’s offense. After struggling with their shooting and ball movement coming out of the gate, the Nittany Lions found their stroke thanks to Lundy and Sessoms. Sessoms led all scorers at the half with 16 while Lundy entered the break with nine.

Entering halftime, Penn State had a healthy 40-27 lead over St. Francis Brookly. The Terriers’ leading scorer at the half was forward Patrick Emilien with six.

Despite struggling early on in the half, the Nittany Lions began to pull away from the Terriers thanks to strong play on the boards and transition offense led by Sessoms.

The second half opened much like the first half ended, with a tough bucket by leading scorer Sam Sessoms. Sessoms also drew a foul on the play and converted the free throw, completing the three-point play and putting the Nittany Lions up 16.

After John Harrar converted a three-point play of his own, it was the Terriers that went on a run to cut the Penn State lead down to ten five minutes into the second half. Before St. Francis Brooklyn could gain any momentum from its run, Penn State continued to dominate the glass and as a result, Jalanni White was sent to the line for the Nittany Lions’ third three-point play opportunity thus far in the second half.

As the second half advanced, both teams traded baskets but Penn State was slowly able to pull away thanks to the Nittany Lions’ lockdown defense and interior offense. Sessoms continued to put on an offensive display, getting to the basket with ease due to timely screens set by Harrar and White.

In an attempt to get themselves back in the game, the Terriers implemented a full-court press for the final seven minutes. Despite the attempt to cause more turnovers and throw the Nittany Lions off, St. Francis Brooklyn struggled to do so, giving Penn State many solid looks under the basket as a result of the press.

Much like the first half, the Terriers found themselves in foul trouble due to the size difference in the frontcourt.

The game ended with Penn State leading 74-59, putting the Nittany Lions back on track following a disappointing loss against UMass.

Sam Sessoms led all scorers with 26. Patrick Emilien led the Terriers with 16.

Takeaways

  • From start to finish, Penn State dominated on the glass, leading to multiple second chances, extra possessions, and even a few three-point plays, especially in the second half. Harrar led all players with 13 rebounds to go along with seven from Jalanni White. In the end, Penn State out-rebounded St. Francis Brooklyn, 37-25.
  • Sam Sessoms was the best player on the court in this one, leading all scorers with 26. Sessoms was aggressive right from the jump and the senior didn’t let up, getting to the basket and free throw line with ease all night long.
  • Penn State interior offense was big in this one. While not shooting well until the second half, the Nittany Lions found success pounding the glass and capitalizing on their vast size difference in the front court.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will host Cornell (3-0) on Monday, November 22 at 6:30 p.m.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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