Penn State Falls in Overtime To LSU in 1st Game of Emerald Coast Classic
Penn State lost in an overtime thriller in its first matchup of the Emerald Coast Classic against LSU by a final score of 68-63.
This was coach Micah Shrewsberry’s first true test being matched up against his first power five conference opponent this season. The Nittany Lions held their own and were in the lead 25 minutes of the game. In the end, though, the Tigers were able to hit their shots in the overtime period.
“I told our guys that there’s no moral victories out here. We need to play that way every single time to give us a chance. If you defend like that you give yourself a chance,” Shrewsberry said.
Starting off, Penn State was locked in defensively. It forced LSU to shoot 28% from the field, only allowing 26 first half points, the Tiger’s lowest all season.
Penn State had a team total 16 turnovers and allowed 17 offensive rebounds, yet it was still able to hold LSU to 68 points. Coming into this matchup, the Tigers were averaging 85.4 points per game.
“Our guys really followed the game plan to a tee. We knew it’d be a challenge on the glass, they are going to rebound like this tomorrow and when the SEC starts. This is who they are,” Shrewsberry said.
Season-leading scorers Seth Lundy and Sam Sessoms had a combined three points in the first half. Coming into this game they averaged just over 50% of Penn State’s total scoring.
Due to Lundy and Sessoms’ scoring drought, other Nittany Lions stepped up and provided a spark offensively.
Gardner-Webb Transfer Jaheam Cornwall had a pair of 3-pointers off the bench ending the game with a Penn State career high nine points. Myles Dread also scored his season high with 11 points, looking more confident from beyond the arc than in his previous games.
The second half featured a dog fight with the biggest lead being five points. Penn State led 35-30 with 17:38 to go and LSU led 54-49 with 3:19 to go.
Despite Sessoms’ slow start, he came up clutch down the stretch. He scored his first bucket with 10 minutes to go. He scored all of Penn State’s points in the final five minutes of regulation except for Lundy’s buzzer beater that would send it to overtime.
LSU pressured the ball the entire game, especially down the stretch and this forced Penn State to scramble at the last second trying to find its offense late in the shot clock.
LSU dominated in overtime led by Missouri transfer Xavier Pinson and Cincinnati transfer Tari Eason. Both scored all 10 of the Tigers’ points in overtime, eight of which came from the free throw line.
Sessoms finished with a rare double-double with 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Jalen Pickett led the team in scoring with 14 and now is into back-to-back games with double figures.
“We’ve come in with a defensive mindset that we’re going to win and we’re not satisfied with this,” Shrewsberry said. “I don’t care about anybody telling me where we are going to finish in the Big Ten. We control our own destiny.”
Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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