Dread Hits Buzzer Beater, Nittany Lions Defeat VCU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State junior Myles Dread’s only points Wednesday night meant everything for the Nittany Lions when his high-arching dagger at the buzzer gave them the 72-69 victory against the VCU Rams in a tight, back-and-forth contest that saw Penn State improve to 2-0 under interim coach Jim Ferry.
While there were no Penn State faithful to see Dread’s game-winner on a nine-second possession like they witnessed last year against Rutgers, a certain energy ran through the Bryce Jordan Center that has been missing for too long.
A crowd would’ve also enjoyed sophomore Seth Lundy’s impressive performance, as he put up a career-high 32 points and five 3-pointers on 11-of-19 shooting. It’s the first 30-burger for the Nittany Lions since Lamar Stevens’s 33 against Minnesota last February.
While Penn State had never faced VCU before, Ferry was used to the Rams’ black and gold as the longtime coach at Duquesne. It’s his first win against them in six tries.
But he wasn’t focused on himself after the game. He was proud of his squad’s chemistry and connections, crediting senior Jamari Wheeler on passing up his own shot during the last possession to find Dread wide open on the right wing.
“It showed who we are as a team,” Ferry said. “It shows how much these guys trust each other and how much these guys love each other.”
Lundy showed off alongside newcomer Sam Sessoms, who finished second in scoring with 17. Despite four turnovers late, the junior transfer has fit in well wearing blue and white, scoring double digits and displaying his craftiness around the rim in both contests so far.
What concerns some is that the double-figure scorers and Dread had to play hero ball. Izaiah Brockington was third in scoring with just seven points, as shooting woes still bug Penn State, which shot just 9-of-26 from deep.
Ferry also executed questionable clock management. Mike Rhoades’ Rams came back from an eight-point deficit with 4:24 to go thanks to two back-down layups from sophomore Hason Ward and an athletic finish at the rim by freshman guard Jamir Watkins with just 9.5 seconds left.
The Lions’ offense held the ball down to five seconds on the shot clock every possession while scoring just three points during that stretch. Staying aggressive and going faster could’ve made for a much different final possession.
But Lundy isn’t too worried about his team. He liked how well they played collectively, grabbing 12 offensive boards and recording nine steals. They also limited double-digit-averaging junior Vince Williams Jr. to just five points.
Lundy didn’t want to talk too much about himself, saying his squad is a committee. He loved that Wheeler passed up a good shot for a better one to end the game and give Dread his third game-winning shot in college.
“We’ve had confidence in [Dread],” Lundy said. “He’s been the guy throughout his career here.”
The Nittany Lions will look to take their excitement into their next contest against Seton Hall on Sunday at 8 p.m. in Happy Valley. With a Big Ten Conference that is 19-0 among its six AP Top 25 teams, Penn State has good competition up ahead.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.