Written By Francis Mizner
Jalen Pickett achieves the second triple-double in program history
STATE COLLEGE – After starting the first half 2-10 and not having much impact, Jalen Pickett heated up in the second half, finishing with a triple-double; just the second time in program history this feat has been accomplished.
Pickett, a fifth-year senior, is only one of three active players among all Division 1 basketball with over 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists. He continues to cement his legacy as one of Penn State’s greats as he finished with 15PTS-11 AST-10 REB and is this year’s leading scorer.
Jalen Pickett led the team in all statistical categories. With 11 points coming in the second half, Pickett struck in all corners of the game both offensively and defensively. He helped facilitate the offense on fast breaks and found the open guys as he aggressively attacked the paint. Picketts’ defense can’t go overlooked; he had ten defensive rebounds and was not easily scored on. Jalen Pickett answered the call in a tight game that called for leadership.
Penn State halts attempted scoring runs by Butler
Penn State held Butler to only 62 points, a team that had 89 just a week prior. Penn State’s defense once again impressed by locking down Butler and holding star-player Manny Bates, who came into the game averaging 25, to only 16 points.
Penn State’s interior defense shined as they closed down lanes and outrebounded Butler defensively, 36-29. The perimeter defense was once again a strength, forcing Butler to shoot 23 times from behind the arc while converting only five times.
Butler began the second half on an 8-2 run that brought them within one. Penn State’s defense appeared to be compromised. Leading scorer Manny Bates started getting hot, but a vocal Micah Shcrewsberry forced the Nittany Lions to tighten its interior defense. Penn State stopped Butler’s runs by forcing guys to shoot and crashing the boards.
Andrew Funk and company lights a second half spark
Before Jalen Pickett got going, it was a group effort by guys like Camren Wynter, Seth Lundy, and Andrew Funk, who shot a combined 12-23 from the field with six three-pointers.
Wynter played a considerable role in the first half with seven points, forcing a pair of turnovers. Seth Lundy added five points in the mix to keep Penn State at arms-length. The two stepped up while Pickett and others were lackluster from the field and proved to be valuable assets to what Coach Shrewsberry is trying to build.
Andrew Funk was once again a guy who hyped up the team and the crowd. His back-to-back threes got the Nittany Lions going after the slow start, along with a nice mid-range to add to Penn State’s hot streak. The Bryce Jordan Center crowd was fueled by Funk’s threes and played a huge role in Penn State’s second-half scoring run. Andrew Funk’s ability to hit the three-point shot with volume and efficiency has been vital in Penn State’s success so far this season and likely will be what separates Penn State from other teams.