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Penn State Hoops Dominates Canisius 97-67

Penn State men’s basketball (8-3, 1-1 Big Ten) easily handled Canisius (2-8, 0-2 MAAC) 97-67. Jalen Pickett led the way with 16 points and nine assists, while Andrew Funk added 15 points in the second half. Seth Lundy had 10 points before exiting the game as a result of an injury.

Kebba Njie had his best game of the season, scoring eight points and bringing down eight rebounds. All of the freshmen saw a lot of court time and seriously impressed. Kanye Clary lead the way for the first years with 10 points.

How It Happened

Canisius got the scoring starting with a quick three, but Seth Lundy immediately responded with a layup. The Nittany Lions were held scoreless for nearly two minutes before Caleb Dorsey made a layup and drew a foul. He also sunk the free throw from the and-one opportunity.

The Golden Griffins were beating the Nittany Lions at their own game. They made three three-pointers in the first five minutes, while Penn State couldn’t buy a basket from behind the arc.

Lundy was really the only source of offense for a while before Jalen Pickett started to heat up. Pickett scored four-straight points before the under-12 media timeout. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry was trying to find any answer he could to Canisius, but the Golden Griffins handled anything the Nittany Lions threw at them.

The offense began to heat up, however, when Penn State made six-straight field goals. Those baskets included a Pickett three, a Michael Henn layup, and a Camren Wynter layup. Pickett then tied the game with eight minutes left in the first half with a fadeaway jumper.

The Nittany Lions went on a 22-10 run as the first half came to a close. Pickett and Lundy led the way, but the role players shined during this run, too. Henn played great through some important minutes off the bench, Dallion Johnson and Myles Dread have found the bottom of the net from behind the arc, and the freshmen made key plays that extended the lead.

There was a scary moment as the first half came to a close. Lundy awkwardly landed on his right ankle and seemingly rolled it. He was helped to the locker room and didn’t put any weight on his right side. Despite this loss, Penn State finished the half with strength and headed into the break leading 42-36.

Kebba Njie got the scoring started in the second half with a massive slam dunk, and then Wynter scored immediately after on a layup. Andrew Funk hit a transition three, and Canisius had to burn an early timeout in the second half.

The first five minutes of the half was the Njie and Funk show. Njie had another slam dunk, and Funk hit two more threes. Evan Mahaffey even joined the scoring party, though he got into some foul trouble as well. Overall, Penn State went on a 22-2 run to begin the second half.

Ultimately, Funk took over the game. The transfer didn’t miss a single shot he took, sinking five threes in the first 10 minutes of the half. Pickett continued playing well, and he found most of his success in the paint and at the free-throw line.

The freshmen were brought into the game to get some playing time, with Demetrius Lilley, Kanye Clary, and Jameel Brown each getting consistent minutes off the bench. Lilley scored his first career collegiate basket, and Clary followed up with a slick layup.

Penn State never looked back once the second half began and easily took care of Canisius 97-67.

Takeaways:

  • Andrew Funk has to be more consistent moving forward. He only took one shot in the entire first half, yet finished the game with 15 points. It’s one thing for the opposing team to guard him well, but it’s another just to go completely invisible. If Seth Lundy is out for a long period of time, Funk will be needed more than ever to be the scorer we saw in the second half.
  • Seth Lundy’s injury is definitely concerning for the Nittany Lions. He is so important to this team and its progress. It was good to see how the team bounced back and dominated the second half without him, but a lack of Lundy’s defensive ability and consistent scoring would be noticeable when Penn State plays Big Ten opponents.
  • Kebba Njie had a great performance that he can hopefully build on as the season continues. His eight points, eight rebounds performance should give the freshman some confidence for future outings. If Njie can continue to put up similar performances, it will add a new dimension to what this team can do.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will continue their homestand with a visit from Quinnipiac on Thursday, December 29. The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.

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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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