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Penn State Hoops Unable To Complete Comeback Against No. 16 Ohio State In 61-56 Loss

Penn State men’s basketball (8-7, 3-4 Big Ten) couldn’t keep up late with No. 16 Ohio State (11-4, 5-2 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon, losing 61-56 in the conference battle.

The Nittany Lions were without Seth Lundy, who did not make the trip to Columbus.

Sam Sessoms led the way with 15 points, Jalen Pickett added 11 points and five assists, and Greg Lee contributed nine points and seven rebounds. It was not a pretty offensive game, but first-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry’s defense was on point throughout most of the game, which made the matchup close in the end.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got off to a really fast start. Sam Sessoms got the scoring started with a layup, John Harrar found his way to the free throw line, and Greg Lee was able to knock down an open three to open the game with a 6-0 lead. The Buckeyes settled down and started scoring, but that didn’t stop the Nittany Lions’ momentum. Lee and Sessoms were both able to score again to extend the lead before the first media timeout.

After the break, Ohio State regained all of the momentum. It went on an 8-0 run, and the defense would not let Penn State get any open looks. The run ended when Harrar got to the free throw line for the second time in the half, where he made one-of-two.

The Buckeyes were still rolling, though. Lee was able to chip away at their momentum by scoring a put-back layup, and Pickett was able to get to the free throw line as well. He would only make one-of-two. He would then follow that up with a layup, and Sessoms joined in on the fun with a three of his own.

Ohio State remained in control, however, and it kept extending its lead toward the end of the first half. Penn State wouldn’t stop battling back, and it went into halftime down 27-22.

It was not a good start to the second half for Penn State. The Buckeyes came out firing and went on a 5-0 run before Micah Shrewsberry had to call a timeout to settle his team down. It was a good timeout, as Jalanni White was able to score on easy dunk out of the break. On the next possession, Sessoms breezed through the lane to score, and suddenly the Nittany Lions had a little momentum.

Sessoms got to the paint again, and Penn State got some more momentum. Jevonnie Scott then got his first couple baskets of the game with two dunks. Ohio State wasn’t going to let that linger, however, and they went on a 6-1 run. Shrewsberry called another timeout and drew up another good play out of the break, which ended with a Dallion Johnson score. But, the Buckeyes were still rolling.

Pickett followed up Johnson’s three with his trademark, last-second three, which kept the Nittany Lions close to the Buckeyes at the under eight minutes timeout. The two teams kept trading baskets, but a Dread three pointer was what caused Ohio State to call a timeout to settle the team down.

Ohio State got back in control, and despite a late comeback attempt by Penn State, it was able to hold on to the win 61-56.


  • The absence of Seth Lundy was felt throughout this game, especially when the Nittany Lions were cold from the field. Lundy’s offensive abilities are a huge part of how they want to play their game, and not having him really hurt their chances.
  • Greg Lee has shown that he is a key piece in Micah Shrewsberry’s system. He had one of his best shooting performances of the season, and he made key plays to extend offensive possessions. On the defensive side, he gives John Harrar some much-needed help when it comes to rebounding and defending the paint. It has been a huge addition to have Lee out there.
  • Foul trouble was a huge issue later in the game. If Penn State is going to compete against ranked opponents, it needs to be more patient and learn when to be more aggressive. It will not be able to win games if players like Jalen Pickett are on the bench with four fouls, especially without Lundy. That won’t get wins in the Big Ten.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will return home to play Minnesota on Wednesday, January 19. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Social Justice in Education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys 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 schoolwork. If you would like to talk about sports or Survivor, the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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