Penn State Hoops Earns Tough Win Over Cornell 85-74

Penn State men’s basketball (3-1) won a tight battle against Cornell (4-1) 85-74 at the Bryce Jordan Center Monday night.

The Nittany Lions tied the school record for made threes in a game with 15. They were led by Seth Lundy, who scored 23 points and brought down seven boards in the win.

Sam Sessoms also had a big game, scoring 20 points and tallying six rebounds and four assists. Jalen Pickett had 15 points and led the way with six assists, while John Harrar led the way with a game-high 12 rebounds.

How It Happened

Pickett got the scoring started with a pull-up jumper that also led to a free throw, though he missed the freebie. Cornell tried to get into its offense, but it only led to two points and a turnover over the first three minutes, which led to a quick Lundy layup.

Lundy then kept the scoring going with a midrange jumper, but the Big Red responded with a tough basket in the paint. Right after the media timeout, Lundy hit a big three and Jalanni White got his first bucket with a tough shot in the paint.

Cornell was able to draw a foul and knock down both free throws, however Jaheam Cornwall responded with a wide-open three. The Big Red got back however, and they hit a three of their own.

Coming out of a timeout, Cornwall was able to force a turnover that led to a Dallion Johnson three pointer. He tried to make another one on the next possession, but it rattled in and out. Cornell was able to make a three-pointer of its own to cut the lead to one. It then made another one to take the lead for the first time in the game.

The Big Red got hot and scored 12 unanswered points in less than two minutes. They finally got into their groove and sped up the tempo of the game. They went on a 19-3 run to not just surge back into the game, but make the Nittany Lions very uncomfortable.

Harrar was finally able to break Cornell’s big run by getting to the basket and making a tough shot, while drawing the foul. He made the free throw to top it off. On the next possession, he got two offensive rebounds and made a basket and drew a foul again. He would miss that free throw, however.

Myles Dread had a handful of really good defensive plays, however the Nittany Lions could not capitalize on them. They were finally able to when Lundy was able to drive into the paint and hit a tough two. On the next possession, he hit a wide open three.

Sessoms got his first basket of the game off of a wide open three. However, Cornell consistently has gotten to the free throw line, which has helped it maintain the lead. A couple possessions later, Sessoms hit another three, though the Big Red responded with a three of their own. Sessoms was on fire though, and he hit another three.

Did someone say a made three0point basket? Sessoms hit a FOURTH straight three to score the last 12 points for the Nittany Lions. He was absolutely electric!. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry called a timeout, and drew up a play that saw Pickett get to the basket and draw a foul. He made both free throws, and Penn State went into halftime up 41-38.

The first points of the second half belonged to Harrar, and then he created a big defensive stop that led to a Lundy three. Cornell responded with two made baskets in the paint, and then a big three point shot. The Big Red then hit another three to take the lead off of a careless turnover by Pickett. They went on a 10-0 run, causing Shrewsberry to call a timeout to refocus his team.

Penn State finally broke the scoring drought when Sessoms found White for a massive ally-oop slam. White then got to the basket again on an inbounds play, which led to a foul. He sunk the free throw to cut the Big Red’s lead to one. On the other end, White had a big block, though Cornell was still able to score.

On the next possession, Lundy hit a wide-open three. The Big Red answered with a three of their own, but Lundy scored again on a close layup. He then hit another three to cut the lead to two, though Cornell responded with a second chance basket to keep growing that lead.

Sessoms was able to get to the basket and draw a foul on the next possession. He made both free throws, and the Big Red’s lead was cut down to two again. Turnovers continued to plague the Nittany Lions, however, and Cornell was able to maintain its lead.

After the media timeout, Pickett was able to drive to the basket and sink the shot, while also drawing a foul. He made the free throw to make it a one point game. The Nittany Lions got back to the free throw line two more times after that, but they were unable to make any of them.

Pickett then made a huge three point basket to tie the game up. On the next possession, Sessoms made a huge three to retake the lead. Cornell hit a midrange shot as a response, but Sessoms didn’t care and hit another three.

On the next possession, Pickett drove to the basket and found a wide open Dread to sink the three. Defensively, Harrar drew a charge and suddenly the momentum shifted to the Nittany Lions.

After the final media timeout, Pickett had huge block, and then drew a foul. He was able to sink both free throws to extend Penn State’s lead. On the next offensive possession, he drew another foul. He made both free throws again. Cornell tried to rush its way down the court, but Harrar stopped it with a big time block.

Pickett once again got to free throw line after getting a rebound on the other side of the floor. He knocked down one-of-two free throws. A good defensive stop by Lundy led to Sessoms drawing a foul, where he knocked down both free throws.

In the end, Cornell could not mount a big enough comeback, and Penn State won 85-74.


  • Watching this team is like going on a roller coaster. At one point, they are comfortably ahead. But then you blink and the Nittany Lions are victims of a 19-3 run and have absolutely no momentum. But then, just when you think all is lost, Sam Sessoms just demolishes Cornell with four straight three pointers. Penn State absolutely needs to get more consistent, but the Nittany Lions are still very entertaining.
  • Fans may be a little disappointed by Jalen Pickett’s sluggish start offensively for the season. But, his contributions to the team are still vitally important, even if the ball isn’t going into the basket. He is the primary playmaker, meaning he will find the open teammate and rack up assists. The scoring will hopefully continue to develop as the season goes on, but he is still a valuable contributor on the court.
  • If Penn State is going to win, it has to learn how t0 control the ball. The team was careless down the stretch, and that really hurt its chances for winning. There were too many missed opportunities that could have turned into points, and if they are going to have a chance to win games this season, they will need to capitalize on almost all of those opportunities.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions travel to Florida to play LSU as part of the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday, November 26. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will air on CBS Sports Network.

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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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