Penn State Men’s Basketball Bounces Back versus Michigan
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Newton’s third law of gravity states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
That was the case today for the Penn State Nittany Lions, as the team took care of business at the Bryce Jordan Center. The blue and white defeated the Michigan Wolverines 83-61 Sunday afternoon.
Leading the charge was a pride of Lions between guards Jalen Pickett and Andrew Funk, and forward Seth Lundy. Pickett had 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds and eight assists, in addition to Funk’s 19 points on 4-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc and Lundy’s 22 points on 50% shooting and seven rebounds.
Penn State was coming off Tuesday night’s 65-45 loss to Rutgers where the Nittany Lions showed a lack of scoring from the 3-point line, going 15.4% from downtown. Today at home, Penn State looked like a completely different team after coach Micah Shrewsberry called upon his team to step up.
“That’s what families do,” Shrewsberry said. “They get on each other. They challenge each other. They fight. They do what they need to do. But, they’re still family.”
The Nittany Lions found their shot early and ended with a 54.4% clip from the field and 43.3% from 3-point land. Towards the end of the first half, the team went on an 18-2 run heading into the locker rooms. Coming out of the break, they never looked back.
“We just felt we had to clean up some early mistakes we were making on defense,” Pickett said. “We felt like once we started getting on a route, we were connected and we were moving on defense, talking and communicating. So, that was allowing us to get out on offense.”
A big component did come from the defense and how they managed to contain center Hunter Dickinson, who finished with just six points on 3-for-9 shooting and two rebounds. Pickett understands that it took the village to limit Dickinson.
“Two bigs trying to make it tough on him where his body can only go no matter where you go,” Pickett said. “Credit to Mikey [Henn], Caleb [Dorsey], Myles [Dread], Kebba [Njie], whoever came in, they really made it tough for him.”
Michigan coach Juwan Howard knew a double team was coming from Penn State. However, he wants his big man to play more for his team rather than himself.
“Every team in the league is going to throw a double team, and our perimeter players are going to make sure that we find ways to get him in sweet spots where he can catch it,” Juwan Howard said. “But he also understands too that there will be times where you have to be unselfish and pass the ball on time and on target without turning it over.”
A big storyline was whether Michigan guard Jett Howard would play or not. He started the game and started hot in the first half, posting 18 points on 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown.
Juwan Howard risked starting one of his star players, and the guard made the most of it, even if the head coach did not want to play him. “If it was left to me, he wouldn’t have played this game,” Juwan Howard said. “He was not going to allow me to let him sit another ballgame.”
Shrewsberry understands how big of a win this was, and knows that the season is slowly approaching postseason play. He kept his starters in for the majority of garbage time, and it’s for the idea of the long game in March.
“We have got to continue to play the right way no matter what the score is,” Shrewsberry said. “I don’t care what the score is, let’s execute the right way and let’s guard the right way because we’re going to be in close games or have to do this.”
Penn State improved to 14-7 and went back to .500 in Big Ten Play. The team heads to West Lafayette Wednesday to take on No. 1 Purdue in Mackey Arena.
Jonathan Draeger is a third-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him., email email@example.com.