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Penn State Hoops Shines In 68-56 Win Over Colorado State

Penn State men’s basketball (5-1) took care of business against Colorado State (4-2) in the third-place game of the Charleston Classic, winning 68-56. Seth Lundy led the way, scoring 17 points and bringing down eight rebounds. Jalen Pickett finished the game with a double-double, scoring 16 points and hauling in 11 rebounds.

The freshmen also got a lot of experience in this game, with Kebba Njie scoring eight points and bringing in three rebounds in his first career start. Kanye Clary scored five points and a steal, while Mahaffey scored a basket and got a big-time block as well.

How It Happened

Lundy buried a three to kick off the scoring for both teams. Pickett followed that with a tough fadeaway jumper. It was important that both players got off to a good start in this game after poor performances against Virginia Tech.

Njie, who made his first career start, sunk a three, and then Andrew Funk followed that with a tough layup in the paint. While the Nittany Lions were taking care of business on the offensive side, they were even better defensively. They held the Rams scoreless for seven minutes to begin the game.

When Colorado State broke its scoring drought, it went on a 6-0 run to climb back into the game. It wasn’t until Camren Wynter made a midrange jumper that Penn State’s own scoring drought was broken.

Lundy found his groove offensively, sinking a layup and a wide-open three. Pickett and Funk also found the bottom of the net, yet the Rams kept it close for most of the first half. The Nittany Lions were able to pull away a little bit toward the end thanks to Lundy, going into the half up 33-21.

The second half began with Njie bullying his way into the paint, sinking a layup and drawing a foul. Pickett then took over, and the Nittany Lions were rolling. While it doesn’t show up in the box score, Evan Mahaffey had two big-time hustle plays that showed why he is so valuable to this team. He jumped over his own bench to save the ball from going out-of-bounds and he put his body on the line to draw a foul. Those kinds of plays won’t go unnoticed to get more playing time as the season goes on.

Kanye Clary got a lot more playing time than normal, and he made the most of it, scoring five points, including a tough layup that also led to a foul. After sinking the free throw, Funk knocked down a transition three that forced the Rams to call a timeout.

Colorado State went on another huge scoring drought, which really emphasizes how Penn State has defended throughout the game. The problem was, it couldn’t sink a shot from the field either. It was getting points from the free-throw line, with Njie, Wynter, Pickett, and Lundy all sinking free throws.

Pickett took control in the final seconds of the game, and the Nittany Lions clinched the win over the Rams, winning 68-56.

Takeaways

  • This was a big bounce-back performance for Penn State. Losing a heartbreaker like the game against Virginia Tech could have lingered. However, head coach Micah Shrewsberry made the necessary adjustments, like starting Kebba Njie, that got his team off to a better start. The Nittany Lions went on a 13-0 run to begin the game, so they definitely weren’t thinking about the Hokies at all.
  • Everyone knows how good Jalen Pickett is, and yet he still somehow is underrated. He finished with a double-double and was seven assists away from his second triple-double of the season. His performance throughout the tournament was recognized, as he was named the All-Tournament Team for the Charleston Classic. He should be talked about in the same breath as Hunter Dickinson, Zach Edey, and Trayce Jackson-Davis, and be considered a threat to win Big Ten Player of the Year.
  • The Nittany Lions finished 2-1 throughout the Charleston Classic, and they played teams that will probably still be playing basketball in March. The trio of Furman, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State is a strong slate of non-conference opponents, and having a winning record against the three teams bodes well for how they can perform in conference play.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions return home on Friday, November 25, to take on Lafayette. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on BIG+.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a senior 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 school work. 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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