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Penn State Hoops Dispatches Wagner 74-54

Penn State men’s basketball (5-4, 0-1 Big Ten) took care of Wagner (3-2) 74-54 Wednesday night at the BJC to pick up a much-needed bounce-back win.

The Nittany Lions were able to gon on an impressive run in the second half to extend their lead and put away the Seahawks. Jalen Pickett and Sam Sessoms both led the way with 16 points while Sessoms and Myles Dread each cashed in three treys.

How It Happened

Wagner struck first at the BJC with a slick jumper from Alex Morales, but Myles Dread struck back with a three-ball to give Penn State a quick one-point edge. Neither team could get things going early, but John Harrar added three points of his own to make it a 6-4 game at the first media timeout.

Caleb Dorsey checked in for some surprising run early in the game, but couldn’t find the net. Penn State was shooting less than 38% from the field near the 14-minute mark, which allowed Wagner to equalize things at eight. But, two consecutive treys from Sam Sessoms — including a really sick step-back — gave Penn State a 14-10 lead at the U12.

Turnovers started to become an issue for Penn State again as the Seahawks brought the heat with a full-court press. Two consecutive bad passes let Wagner back in the game, as it reduced its deficit to two. Harrar worked his way up to a team-high eight points by the next media timeout to stabilize the Nittany Lions’ lead at 18-14.

Jalen Pickett finally got on the board near the seven-minute mark, cashing in a trey and extending Penn State’s lead to seven points. But, a stunning 7-0 Wagner run knotted things up at 21 before another Pickett bucket gave the Nittany Lions the lead back.

Jalanni White cashed in a pair of free throws coming out of the U4 to give Penn State a two-point lead. Dread added a three and Lundy made two from the charity stripe before the buzzer to give Penn State a 32-27 lead at the half.

Pickett opened the second half with a decisive lay to extend his points total to a team-high nine. The Seahawks got some offense of their own going early in the second half to keep Penn State’s lead to an honest 40-33 by the first media timeout.

A stellar alley-oop connection between White and Sam Sessoms extended Penn State’s lead to 10 near the 14-minute mark. Harrar added a point from the charity stripe and Lundy cashed in his first triple of the night shortly thereafter to make it 49-35. The lead was up to 15 by the U12.

Dread added his third three of the night near the 10-minute mark to extend Penn State’s lead to 20 points. A Lundy and-one conversion capped off an 11-0 run for Penn State heading into the penultimate media timeout.

Things went back and forth down the stretch, but Penn State maintained its large lead heading into the final buzzer. When things were said and down, the Nittany Lions walked away with a 74-54 victory.

Takeaways

  • Penn State still can’t beat the press. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over nine times in the first half, compared to Wagner’s seven. This has been an issue since the UMass game, and Shrewsberry’s crew is yet to find an answer. However, Ohio State didn’t bring the same type of full-court heat, so it’s hard to say if this problem will carry over into Big Ten play.
  • Jalen Pickett is a workhorse. He played 32 of Penn State’s first 33 minutes and finished with 16 points. After he played all 40 minutes against Ohio State, Pickett’s ability to come back out a few days later and do it again is very impressive.
  • No matter the opponent, a win is a win for this Penn State win. And since the Nittany Lions could walk away with a big margin of victory, their confidence could be boosted heading into the heart of the season. Wagner made the NCAA Tournament last year, so it’s not like they were an automatic W for Penn State.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State for its second Big Ten game of the year. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a senior business and journalism major from "Philadelphia" and is Onward State's social media manager. He writes about a lot of things, including football and hoops. If you want to gain absolutely nothing, you can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9. Say hi via email at [email protected]

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