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News & Notes Ahead Of Penn State Hoops’ Road Contest Against No. 1 Purdue

Andrew Funk and Seth Lundy joined head coach Micah Shrewsberry for Penn State men’s basketball’s weekly media availability at the Bryce Jordan Center Monday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions will travel to the Mackey Arena for a rematch against No. 1 Purdue after a dominant win over Michigan this past Sunday. With only 10 games left in the season, every game from here on out is crucial for the team’s aspirations of playing deep into March.

Monday’s topics included shooting splits between home and away games, the team’s approach to guarding Purdue star Zach Edey, and being an underdog.

On Finding Balance

Shrewsberry, who is known for his fiery attitude, was asked about how he balances his intense spirit while also making sure his players are having fun.

“You can’t take yourself too serious,” he said. “We try to enjoy being around each other. We try to laugh at each other and just keep it as light as possible. College is the greatest four years, five years, six years, and sometimes seven years of your life.”

On Fan Support

The Bryce Jordan Center has hosted back-to-back home games with record attendance after Shrewsberry pleaded with fans to show up early in the season. Shrewsberry tipped his cap to the fans for their recent support and acknowledged they played a large role in Penn State’s victory over Michigan.

“All of these [home games] are going to be big games for us,” Shrewsberry said. “And now, if we can get those little moments, if we can get that little bit of magic, that might be the difference between us getting an NCAA Tournament or not.”

On Home vs. Away Shooting

Penn State has struggled to find a middle ground between its hot home shooting splits and cold away splits this season. Penn State is shooting 48% from the field at the Bryce Jordan Center this season, including an impressive 42% from beyond the arc. The Nittany Lions look much different away from the BJC, shooting 42% from the field and 33% on three-pointers.

Shrewsberry emphasized that he wants his team to play “loose” and to “have the mentality that the next shot is going in.”

“You have to trust yourself,” he said. “You have to trust the work that you put in [and] you have to stay confident in those moments.”

Andrew Funk added that it’s important for both himself and the team to keep the same routine and create good shots. He also mentioned that it is the seniors’ job to step up and make the big plays when “things go sideways.”

On Zach Edey Matchup

Zach Edey proved to be a nightmare for Penn State when he dropped 30 points against the Nittany Lions earlier this season. Shrewsberry joked about a unique tactic he thought of trying to guard Purdue’s big man.

“I guess I could go home and get on my kid’s video games and create a dude that’s that big,” he said. “And then, play a game against him, and simulate a game and see how they guard him.”

Shrewsberry mentioned that the biggest thing is to “not let him take your spirit,” and to “fight” against him on every possession.

Seth Lundy stated that playing the same team twice in one season is a blessing because of the opportunity to see past mistakes and fix them in the future. Lundy gave credit to Edey as a player but feels confident that they can adjust to his style similar to how they approached Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson.

“Zach [Edey] is a tremendous player,” he said. “But coach [has] got something to slow him down a little bit and try to get other guys active.”

On Being An Underdog

Lundy and Funk were asked about their feelings ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup against the top team in the nation and how most experts predict the Nittany Lions to lose. Funk acknowledged the challenge ahead but also stated that nothing is impossible with confidence.

“They’re a really good team, well-coached,” Funk said. “But at the same time, we need to keep that same confidence in ourselves, the same confidence we played with [on Sunday], and bring that momentum going forward.”

Lundy said that Penn State’s small-ball style of play will be equally as challenging for Purdue. Regardless, Lundy said whenever this squad steps on the court, they have a chance.

“We go into every game believing we can win,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence going into this game, honestly. To upset a team like [Purdue] is definitely huge and definitely big for us to go into the tournament.”

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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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