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Penn State Hoops Overwhelmed 76-63 By No. 1 Purdue At The Palestra

Penn State men’s basketball (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) dropped its second-straight game to No. 1 Purdue (15-1, 4-1 Big Ten) by a final score of 76-63 on Sunday evening at the Palestra.

Despite entering the first half with a six-point lead over the nation’s highest-ranked team, Purdue demonstrated why it was the best team in the country as it outscored the Nittany Lions 45-26 in the second half to come out with a win.

Zach Edey led all scorers with 30 points to go along with 13 rebounds for the Boilermakers. Jalen Pickett continued his dominance and nearly notched his second triple-double of the season with 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith also reached double digits with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Seth Lundy also continued his double-digit scoring streak with 14 points on the night.

How It Happened

Head coach Micah Shrewsberry opted to start Myles Dread over Camren Wynter ahead of his contest against the Boilermakers.

Freshman Kebba Njie won the tip, but it was Zach Edey who scored first with a floater inside the paint. Jalen Pickett responded immediately with a wide-open three-pointer on the next possession. The Boilermakers quickly went on a 7-0 run which included a deep three from Braden Smith and an easy slam from Caleb Furst.

After two buckets from Edey and Lundy, Kebba Njie secured his first bucket of the game coming off an assist from Pickett. On the Nittany Lions’ next possession, Lundy swished home a three that brought the game within one. After nearly two minutes of scoreless basketball, Fletcher Loyer splashed a three-ball that kept Purdue up by two possessions until the midway point of the first half.

After the Loyer score, Penn State’s offense turned it up. It jumped out to a 16-7 lead which was spearheaded by Pickett who accounted for nine points, two assists, and an and-one three as the game approached five minutes left in the first half.

Following the run, Edey and Smith fought back for the Boilermakers, but five-straight points for Lundy kept Penn State up by two with just under two minutes left of action.

Pickett ended the half scoring the last six points for the Nittany Lions including a beautiful up-and-under move on Edey as the final buzzer sounded off. The super-senior eclipsed 18 points, five boards, and four assists while shooting three-for-three from deep just in the first half. Edey led all Boilermakers with 14 points and eight boards for the half. Penn State kept its lead over the Boilermakers 37-31 after the first 20 minutes of play.

Purdue came out of the locker room hot and quickly jumped out to a 12-0 run After four minutes without a bucket, Pickett found a wide-open Njie for a breakaway dunk that helped stop the bleeding for the Nittany Lions. Edey responded with a layup of his own for his 20th point of the night.

Wynter sank his first triple of the night, but that was matched with another Edey layup and Loyer three-pointer. In just the first six minutes of the second half, the Boilermakers held an eight-point lead.

Pickett then got into the mix with a stepback jumper for his first points of the second half. However, that was answered by back-to-back buckets in the paint for Edey as Purdue held its first double-digit lead of the game midway through the second half.

Purdue kept up the intensity as the game approached the final five minutes. A few buckets from Lundy, Pickett, and Mahaffey sparked the crowd, but experienced answers from Edey and Loyer kept the Boilermakers up by 15 with just five minutes left of ball left.

Dread drilled a three-pointer at the two-and-a-half minute mark, bringing the game within ten, but Purdue answered with a quick Furst layup. After a Boilermaker turnover, Pickett went coast-to-coast with his own layup over Edey. Smith responded with a three which put away the Nittany Lions.

As the final buzzer sounded, Purdue escaped with a 76-63 win over Penn State.

Takeaways:

  • Despite the loss, Jalen Pickett is still him. After posting 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists against the number-one team in the country, he continues to prove why he is one of the best players not only in the Big Ten but also in the country. Buy stock now, folks.
  • Well, Penn State has one glaring problem. It cannot guard the opponent’s big man. We saw it against Hunter Dickinson last game against Michigan and tonight against Zach Edey. Kebba Njie, Evan Mahaffey, and even Myles Dread are not the answer defensively. If Shrewsberry can’t solve this problem, then it’s just blood in the water against other teams for the rest of the season.
  • With the previous point, one of Penn State’s strengths is shooting the ball efficiently from deep. When the Nittany Lions were down, Shrewsberry opted for the small ball lineup to hopefully get those points back. However, their strength quickly turned into a massive liability as they shot 2-for-10 from deep in the second half, while Edey and company dominated the paint and glass by scoring 45 points and 16 rebounds in the second half.

What’s Next?

Penn State will return home to the Bryce Jordan Center as it hosts No. 15 Indiana on Wednesday, January 11. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a senior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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