Penn State Dominates Youngstown State in Micah Shrewsberry’s 1st Game as Head Coach
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State got its first win of the season as it defeated the Youngstown State Penguins 75-59 at the Bryce Jordan Center, marking the first win in the Micah Shrewsberry era in program history.
The Nittany Lions were led by forward Seth Lundy with 23 points on 60% shooting from the floor, adding six rebounds and two assists to the stat sheet. Not far behind was guard Sam Sessoms with 17 points and eight assists and forward John Harrar with 16 points of his own and a perfect 7-7 from the field.
Looking at the team statistics, the team shot 51% overall and committed 10 turnovers, which Shrewsberry sees as a win.
“We want to be boss with the ball, not turn it over, and take great shots. And when you look at that, I felt like we did,” Shrewsberry said.
Over the course of the game, Penn State went on streaks of hot and cold runs, and the 3-point shot aided in that structure of their game. The blue and white finished with a 30% clip from behind the arc, when compared to Youngstown State’s 42% mark.
“We didn’t make 3’s,” Shrewsberry said. “I think part of that was us being tired and first game jitters.”
Lundy found himself going aggressive to the rack and pulling up to shoot the rock. His teammates rallied behind him to make those plays to boost the team.
“Sam talked to me the whole game. He kept saying ‘You are so good of a scorer that the defense is going to keen in on you.’” Lundy said.
Sessoms took form in the second half by dropping 14 of his 17 points. He went 7-9 from the court and took over for a stretch of time.
Sessoms credits the new head coach for his role as the facilitator.
“I’m kind of the guy they look for,” Sessoms said. “He draws something up for me.”
Myles Dread found himself empty in the points category, going 0-3 from the field, all of them from the perimeter. As for the supporting cast, Jalen Pickett contributed nine points, along with Jalanni White’s four points and Jaheam Cornwall’s three points.
Shrewsberry saw the fatigue of his team due to his intense strategy, causing some to tense up.
“Guys were cramping up,” Shrewsberry said. “The guys played a lot of minutes.”
Penn State went three-deep on their bench today, as the starters, except for John Harrar, logged more than 30 minutes on the court. Harrar managed to get 26 minutes, which Shrewsberry saw as a right fit for the starting big man to keep him fresh down the stretch of the game.
“You could see we were wearing down. We were tired,” Shrewsberry said. “That’s where I think we need to get better.”
Regardless of fatigue, the team wanted to step back onto the court and play for the name on its chests.
“They were excited to play,” Shrewsberry said. “I kept saying ‘We want to make Penn State proud’, and I hope they did that tonight with their effort.”
These two teams met in preseason scrimmages, and the different defenses made Shrewsberry anxious.
“I knew they wanted to come in here and play really well,” Shrewsberry said.
Shrewsberry felt appreciated after the win, but the players enjoyed it more.
Penn State travels to Amherst where they take on the UMass Minutemen on Nov. 15, the first time Shrewsberry heads to Massachusetts as a coach since his days in the Boston Celtics organization.
“We celebrated his first win as a head coach,” Lundy said. “We all threw water on him.”
Jonathan Draeger is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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