Penn State strings together consecutive wins after taking down Minnesota

Story posted February 19, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Grant Sheets

For the first time in the 2022-2023 campaign, the Nittany Lions are in the win column in consecutive Big Ten contests after defeating Minnesota 76-69 on Saturday night.

Penn State followed up a masterful offensive display against Illinois with another strong showing, winning its second road game of the season to advance to 7-9 in the conference.

On the other hand, the Golden Gophers’ dry spell continues, losing each of their last nine games, falling to 1-13 in the Big Ten.

Despite the loss, Minnesota gave the Nittany Lions a run for their money, remaining in the game from tipoff to the final buzzer.

The Golden Gophers came out blazing hot, knotting the score up at 10 points apiece right before the first media timeout on the back of freshman forward Joshua Ola-Joseph’s eight points.

Meanwhile, senior guard Jalen Pickett’s hot hand carried over from his career night against Illinois in which he scored 41 points, knocking down five of his first six shots for a game-high 13 points in the first 10 minutes.

Pickett’s electric start was just the beginning of yet another offensive explosion, putting up a game-high 32 points while flirting with a triple-double.

Despite being victims of a Pickett takeover, Minnesota’s sophomore forward Dawson Garcia and Ola-Joseph kept their troops in the game, scoring 25 of the team’s first 35 points.

Penn State entered the locker room with a 45-35 lead, leaving the court after Pickett’s seventh field goal to increase the lead to double digits.

The beginning of the second half, however, was a different story for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State came out of the intermission lifeless, scoring just one point in the first five minutes and allowing the Golden Gophers to creep back into striking distance.

One basket followed another — and seemingly out of nowhere — a 17-5 run gave Minnesota the lead deep into the second half.

It wasn’t long before an emphatic slam by senior forward Seth Lundy turned the tides with just under 10 minutes to play and ignited a 9-0 Penn State run to regain a seven-point lead.

With a three-point lead and just under four minutes on the clock, Penn State’s brightest star shifted into his crunchtime gear.

Pickett knocked down a pair of clutch buckets and set up senior guard Andrew Funk for his game-sealing three-pointer, silencing the crowd at the Williams Arena once and for all.

To go along with his 32 points, Pickett’s nine rebounds and eight assists also stood as game-highs for both teams, putting the Nittany Lions on his back after dropping their last seven road games.

Penn State also got solid outings from Funk and senior guard Camren Winter, scoring 11 and 14 points respectively.

On the other side of the floor, the Golden Gophers were paced by Garcia’s 23 points, followed by 18 points from freshman forward Pharrel Payne.

The Nittany Lions have gathered some momentum heading into the most critical stretch of games this season with March Madness hopes still hanging by a thread.

Thursday marks the next trip out to the court for the blue and white, remaining on the road to take on the struggling Ohio State Buckeyes at 3-12 in the conference.

Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Value City Arena, live on Fox Sports 1.

Grant Sheets is a sophomore majoring in public relations. To contact him, please email