Jalen Pickett Dominates in Big Road Win for Nittany Lions

Story posted February 24, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Jonathan Draeger

COLUMBUS, Oh. – Heading into the locker room at halftime, Penn State was tied with Ohio State 37-37, with Big Ten Player of the Week Jalen Pickett having only two points in nine minutes on the court.

The second half had the opposite. Scoring the final 14 points for the Nittany Lions, Pickett helped Penn State take down the Buckeyes 75-71 in Value City Arena Thursday night.

The preseason all-Big Ten player had 23 points, with 21 of those coming in the second half alone. This comes after a week of averaging 36.5 points over the past two games, scoring 41 points against Illinois and 32 points at Minnesota.

“I didn’t think he was good in the first half before he got his fouls,” coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “He can get it going in any moment.”

Pickett ended up playing all 20 minutes of the second half, regardless of grabbing his third foul early in the second frame. With only nine minutes played in the first half, fresh legs were a factor in his motor to score.

“I don’t know if the dude gets tired,” Shrewsberry said. “29 minutes for him is like a vacation, like the dude plays so much.”

The head coach knows it all stems from the work in the training facility with staff. He mentioned how he never has seen him tired in his two seasons at Penn State.

“Part of that is the work he does on his body after games,” Shrewsberry said. “He’s in the training room with Justin [], he’s in the weight room with Greg [] preparing himself to play physical that many minutes in both ends of the court.”

Earlier in the week, Shrewsberry compared Pickett to Batman, saying “Robin feels good when Batman walks in.” The Robins in question were guard Cam Wynter and forward Seth Lundy.

In the first half, whenever Pickett was dealing with two fouls early in the first half, Lundy and Wynter held their own on the offensive side. Lundy entered the locker room with a team-high 14 points, followed by Wynter’s 11 points.

The two would end up adding to their first-half totals, with 19 and 18 points respectively. “They’re capable,” Shrewsberry said.

With Wynter’s help, Penn State had room to breathe without Pickett’s presence. The second-year head coach knows what he gets from the Drexel transfer.

“That dude is a 1,600-point scorer in his four years, he can get buckets,” Shrewsberry said. “He hadn’t done it consistently for us because he’s not playing the same way. But he had to slide over into that role, and he carried us.”

With the win, Penn State broke the program record for single-season 3-pointers made, only needing two to break the record tonight. As for Pickett’s assist record, his four dishes for buckets will have to wait until Sunday, when the Nittany Lions host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Bryce Jordan Center at 6:30 p.m.

Jonathan Draeger is a third-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email jrd6052@psu.edu or jonathan.r.draeger43@gmail.com.