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Penn State Hoops’ Scrappy Play Not Enough, Falls To LSU 68-63 In Emerald Coast Classic

Penn State men’s basketball (3-2) lost a tough game to LSU (6-0) 68-63 in overtime in the first game of the Emerald Coast Classic Friday night

Jalen Pickett led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Sam Sessoms had a big second half performance, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Myles Dread and Jaheam Cornwall had their best games of the season, scoring 11 and nine points respectively. But there wasn’t enough offense to lead the way for a big time win down in Florida.

How It Happened

Myles Dread got the scoring started with a three, and then Jalen Pickett followed up with a big three of his own. A couple of turnovers led to some early points for the Tigers, but Dread hit a long two to stop whatever momentum LSU could build.

The Tigers, however, got settled after the media timeout. Some poor defense led to easy baskets, and then they forced some turnovers to speed the game up. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry was livid on the sideline at the bad box-outs and defense.

Things can change, however, and they changed for the better for Penn State. Jaheam Cornwall and Dread hit a few big threes, and John Harrar scored his first basket of the game with two defenders on him. Suddenly, the Nittany Lions got the lead.

Pickett was able to continue building off a solid outing in the last game against Cornell, hitting another three point shot. The Tigers responded with a basket in the paint, but Seth Lundy got to the paint and knocked down a shot while drawing a foul. He would make the free throw. Jalanni White also got to the free throw line, but he only made one of the freebies.

Harrar showed his grittiness by getting to the basket again and drawing another foul. He made the free throw, extending the Nittany Lions’ lead. They would go into the half ahead, leading 29-26.

The second half got started with back-to-back three pointers from Pickett, with the Tigers hitting some midrange jumpers to keep the game close. Harrar got to the basket and the free throw line again, but couldn’t capitalize on making the free throw.

LSU was able to slowly inch closer to taking back the lead, and despite a Pickett midrange basket, the Tigers took the lead for the first time since around the nine minute mark in the first half.

The Nittany Lions were able to snatch the lead back, however, with a big three. Sam Sessoms got his first basket of the game on a left-handed layup, but then LSU scored six baskets in a row, including a big three. Cornwall responded with a three of his own, part of a breakout night for the transfer from Gardner-Webb.

The Tigers took the lead, though, and extended it to three points before Sessoms hit a huge step-back shot. They kept extending their lead, and Sessoms kept cutting into the lead to keep the Nittany Lions around.

Did we mention that Sessoms was keeping Penn State in the game? Because he single-handedly brought the Nittany Lions back in this game, and even got them the lead. But the Tigers hit a massive three to retake the lead with 36 seconds left in the game.

Sessoms drove down the court, but lost the ball out of bounds. The Nittany Lions got a huge break, though, with Pickett getting a huge steal. They had the final shot with four seconds left, and Seth Lundy somehow managed to tie the game by tipping it in.

The Tigers were in control for the beginning of overtime, and it felt like they were about to run away with it. But Lundy and Sessoms were not going to give up, and they were suddenly down by one.

LSU regained command of the game, and extended its lead. Unfortunately, the scrappy effort of the Nittany Lions’ could not get them the win, and they would fall 68-63.

Takeaways

  • Penn State was lucky to be ahead in this game. In the first half, LSU won the rebounding contest, out-rebounding the Nittany Lions 25-19. The Tigers were especially good on the offensive glass, with a 12-4 advantage. Most of those rebounds could, and should, have been brought in by Penn State. If it could have got two or three more of those rebounds, the lead could have been much larger.
  • With Lundy and Sessoms not having a great game, it was huge to have a Myles Dread break out game. He had eight points in the first half and finished with 11 points overall. If he can get more consistent and find his shot, he can be a huge weapon for the Nittany Lions.
  • Micah Shrewsberry should be very happy with how the Nittany Lions controlled the tempo of the game. LSU likes to be fast and score a lot, so to keep them under 60 points in regulation is a really good thing. Even though the game didn’t go their way, the team should be proud of how they forced the Tigers to play their game.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will play either Oregon State or Wake Forest in game two of the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday, November 27. The game will tip off at 4 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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