Penn State Men’s Basketball Game Grades: Winthrop

posted November 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Grant Sheets

With college basketball making a return to courts across the country on Monday, it was all smiles in Happy Valley during Penn State’s 93-68 thrashing of Winthrop.

For a sixth-consecutive season, the Nittany Lions have begun the year in the win column, moving to 7-0 all-time against Big South programs.

Let’s take a look at how each position group fared during the electric home opener at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Offense: A

It’s not often that teams can etch their names in the record book this early in the season, but that’s exactly what the Nittany Lions did Monday night. Penn State shot an astounding 18-for-38 from beyond the arc, a school record for most three pointers made in a single game.

With that being said, it’s inevitable that this squad will live and die by the long ball this season.

When the sharpshooters were hot, the rim appeared to be as wide as a hula hoop for the blue and white. However, when the high volume of downtown shots weren’t falling, Winthrop was gifted with several opportunities to crawl back into the game.

This is the risk that comes with a team that can shoot the lights out, especially given the explosive upside that Andrew Funk, Myles Dread and Jalen Pickett present. The trio of guards accounted for a total of nine threes, nailing such shots at an efficient 41% clip.

As long as the strokes stay hot - and three is greater than two – the Nittany Lion offense could gain national recognition in the near future.

Defense: B+

Head coach Micah Shrewsberry alluded to the Nittany Lion offense being ahead of the defense in terms of development throughout the offseason. That statement proved to be true on Monday, but this unit’s performance is nothing to snuff at.

Starting with a few positives, Penn State effectively slowed down Winthrop’s top scoring duo of Sin’Cere McMahon and Cory Hightower, as they combined for an 8-for-24 mark from the field. With close attention paid to the Eagles’ primary scoring options, Winthrop was unable to find any sort of rhythm for a majority of the night.

Also worth noting is the fact that the Eagles were limited to just three offensive rebounds. While Penn State can’t expect to physically tower over all of its opponents this season, the Nittany Lions imposed their physicality on the glass early and often in this contest.

While communication and perimeter defense could certainly be improved upon, this early-season effort is well deserving of praise from the coaching staff.

Coaching: A-

What a fantastic start for year two of the Shrewsberry show in Happy Valley.

The veteran coach put out an intriguing starting five, opting to start graduate transfers Andrew Funk and Camren Wynter over a handful of returning players. All in all, the high energy and chemistry of those he rolled with was evident from the tipoff.

While instilling a hard-nosed attitude to this squad, Shrewsberry has also allowed his players to discover their own individual playstyles. The Nittany Lions have many more battles and tests coming their way in the next few weeks, but Shrewsberry and his team took a step in the right direction toward forming an identity.

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