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Penn State Hoops Outlasts Furman 73-68 In Charleston Classic Opening Round

Penn State men’s basketball (4-0) handled Furman (2-1) 73-68 in first-round action of the Charleston Classic in Charleston, South Carolina.

After falling victim to a slow start highlighted by a five-point deficit, the Nittany Lions caught fire throughout an effortless 14-2 run jumpstarted by Jalen Pickett. Penn State shot 54.8% from the field to round out the first half, leading to a convincing 46-29 advantage.

The Nittany Lions maintained a double-digit lead to begin the second half, but a 10-0 Furman run with just over 10 minutes to go in regulation put the Paladins back in striking distance. With 1:48 remaining, Penn State hung onto a measly one-point advantage, but late-game heroics from Seth Lundy carried Shewsberry’s squad to a 73-68 victory.

How It Happened

Furman controlled the opening tip-off and began the contest in explosive fashion. Seconds into the matchup, opposing point guard Garrett Hien delivered a crafty feed to a cutting Jalen Slawson, who finished the possession off with a powerful jam.

The Nittany Lions struggled to find their rhythm offensively, contributing to a measly 0-for-2 start and a turnover from Jalen Pickett, leading a quick 5-0 Furman lead. An isolated jumper from Seth Lundy put Penn State on the board, which also kicked off a potent run for Micah Shrewsberry’s crew.

Over the next three minutes, Penn State embarked on a 14-2 run going 6-for-6 from the field, highlighted by a five-point stretch from Pickett. At the 12-minute mark, the Nittany Lions transformed a lethargic start into a potent 19-11 lead.

Savvy penetration from Pickett and company quickly opened up clean looks from beyond the arc for the Nittany Lions. The eight-point lead continued to climb, courtesy of the sweet-shooting from fifth-year senior Myles Dread. The Detriot native nailed three consecutive attempts from downtown, extending the margin to a 27-17 mark.

On the other end, Furman continued to establish camp inside the paint, leading to quick two-pointers against the undersized Nittany Lions’ front court. However, the Paladins failed to hold pace with Penn State’s prowess from deep, as the Nittany Lions continued to splash in three-pointers, including a dagger from Dallion Johnson to raise the lead to 34-21.

Fast and furious runs continued to propel Penn State, which carried another 10-2 run into the under four-minute media timeout late in the first half. Stout defense held Furman to 1-for-9 shooting over the stretch, and Seth Lundy continued to work his isolation magic for 6 effortless points across the dominant period.

Furman picked up slack to end the half, concluding on a 6-2 run, which cut the deficit to a 46-29 mark entering the locker room. At halftime, Pickett led all scorers with 13 points, and several contributors helped the Nittany Lions maintain a double-digit advantage through 16 bench points.

Pickett and Furman guard Tyrese Hughey traded a pair of three-pointers to begin the second half for the first semblance of back-and-forth action all afternoon. The Paladins continued to cut into the lead through solid three-point shooting across a five-minute span, which reached an 11-point margin with nearly 12 minutes left in regulation.

Penn State marched back, however, thanks to the facilitation of Pickett at point guard. The Sienna transfer continued to back down a plethora of Furman guards into the low post, where he would find freshman center Kebba Njie for a pair of easy conversions, which increased the lead to a 59-46 mark.

The 13-point lead progressively shrunk with eight minutes remaining, as Furman embarked on a 5-0 run, started by a left-wing three-pointer from Slawson. After a timeout, the Paladins didn’t step off the gas, as they drained another conversion from deep, which cut the deficit to a 63-57 margin.

Defensive rebounding woes hurt the Nittany Lions down the stretch, as Furman garnered a pair of baskets stemming from second-chance opportunities in crunch time. Layups from Mike Bothwell and Slawson helped the Paladins cut the advantage to a 69-65 clip in favor of Penn State with two minutes left. Shortly after, Furman drained yet another three-pointer, cutting the advantage to just one point.

With 1:22 left in regulation, Lundy drained a game-saving jumper from the left corner, putting the Nittany Lions back up by three. Furman casted up two tries of its own from beyond the arc after a crucial offensive rebound from Hughey, but the Paladins ultimately sent Lundy to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. At the stripe, Lundy iced the victory, leading Penn State to a 73-68 win.

Takeaways

  • Last week, Micah Shrewsberry said he wasn’t worried about his squad’s mass volume of three-point attempts because “three is worth more than two.” Since then, his sentiment has proved to hold more than true. Penn State rattled in six conversions from beyond the arc in the first half and added another five field goals from deep after halftime to pace Furman with unparalleled consistency from downtown. The Nittany Lions currently rank first nationally with 14.7 three-point conversions per matchup.
  • During Monday night’s home bout with Butler, four Nittany Lions finished the matchup by scoring in double figures, with six players posting at least six points or more. Today, Shrewsberry’s crew continued to share the ball in volumes, with the Pickett and Lundy each contributing 20 points to the stat sheet. After Pickett’s historic triple-double outing against the Bulldogs, the veteran leader helped the Nittany Lions pull out a tight battle with a potent 8-for-11 shooting performance.
  • If the Nittany Lions are poised to make a run for a Charleston Classic title, Penn State will need more offensive consistency from Andrew Funk. The former Bucknell sharpshooter entered the matchup averaging 12 points per outing, but he began the contest with an 0-for-7 conversion rate from the field. Eventually, the senior rattled in two, clutch three-pointers with less than four minutes to go, but the bonafide starting guard concluded the matchup with only six points.

What’s Next

Penn State will play the winner of the Virginia Tech and Old Dominion matchup at 12 p.m. on Friday, November 18. Tip-off from TD Arena will air live on ESPN2.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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