After dispatching Canisius without too much trouble, the Nittany Lions faced their second game of a three-game stretch of “buy” non-conference games. The word “buy” is used in quotes, because if you’ve paid any attention to college hoops lately, there have been some power conference teams falling victim to an upset in these types of games. With Seth Lundy sitting out this game as he continues to heal from an injury suffered in the previous game against Canisius, the Shrews Crew was hoping to avoid a similar upset fate.
The first half saw both teams struggle to shoot the ball, with Penn State starting out an abysmal 1-for-15 from three-point shooting range. The Lions were able to have a little more luck in the paint and their defense more than made up for the lack of longer range shooting, as Quinnipiac was stuck in the low 20’s for field goal percentage and would finish the first half shooting 19% overall. With the game tied at 20 late in the first half, PSU finished the half on a 13-3 run, which was topped off with Myles Dread nailing PSU’s second trey of the game to put the Lions up by ten at the half.
The second half saw the Lions continue to heat up a little from downtown, as Andrew Funk and Mikey Henn picked up the scoring slack that Jalen Pickett and Cam Wynter continued to roll with. The lead fluctuated between 11 and 18 points most of the half, as the only real drama was whether Pickett could reach his second triple-double of the season. Unfortunately, he came up one assist shy of doing so, and Quinnipiac caught fire from three-point range later in the second half to make the final score look a tad closer than the game truly was.
Players of the Game
Jalen Pickett - 21 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists
Cam Wynter - 12 points, 9 rebounds
Mikey Henn - 11 points
Pickett was one assist shy of hitting a triple-double, while Wynter flirted with a double-double. Gotta give Henn a shoutout for being a fundamentally sound presence on the court and hitting some shots to provide an offensive boost off the bench. Hopefully, he can be a key sub off the bench going forward into Big Ten play.
No Guarantees - As we saw yesterday with Iowa’s improbable loss to an abysmal Eastern Illinois squad, these “buy” games are never a guaranteed win. You still have to show up, take your opponent seriously, and take care of business. PSU is two for two thus far, and should hopefully make it three for three next week against Delaware State.
Gotta Get Better on the Boards - Giving up 17 offensive rebounds to a Purdue or Wisconsin is one thing. Giving up 17 offensive rebounds to Quinnipiac is unacceptable. Thankfully, the Golden Eagles struggled to make much of their second-chance opportunities, shooting 31 percent overall from the floor.
The Threes Were Falling...But not for the team you’d think. Quinnipiac finished shooting 12-for-31 (38 percent) from downtown, while PSU only hit on six of their 29 attempts (21 percent). Thankfully for the Nittany Lions, they were able to dominate scoring-wise in the paint. If they were going to have an off night shooting the three-ball, this was a game to do so.
Penn State will enjoy a little Christmas Vacation before getting back at it with a home tilt against Delaware State next Thursday (Dec. 29th). Tipoff will be at 2:00 PM EST on B1G+