Penn State Men’s Basketball Tops Rutgers In Defensive Battle

Story posted January 11, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Austin Groft

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –  Sam Sessoms scored a team-high 17 points to give Penn State the bounce back victory over Rutgers in a defensive battle.

After only playing limited minutes against Purdue, Sessoms led the offense creating opportunities for his teammates dishing out six assists. Penn State had three other players score in double figures alongside Sessoms.

Head coach Micah Shrewsberry said that Sessoms knew that they needed him to step up and play better in tonight’s game.

“I didn’t really say anything to him. Playing him only 9 minutes was the message,” said Shrewsberry.

Jalen Pickett is playing like an All-Big Ten caliber player, scoring double figures in his past seven games. He also held Rutgers’ second leading scorer to only seven points.

“We are really hard to guard when [Sessoms] and Pickett are both playing like that at the same time,” said Shrewsberry.

Defense continues to be the point of success for the Nittany Lions holding Rutgers to 19 points in the first half. The Scarlet Knights finished the game shooting 37% from the field.

Shrewsberry and the Penn State coaching staff spread their arms out throughout the game to remind the players to stay long on defense. This has been a key reason for their success to get consistent stops.

“It looks like I’m covering more ground. It looks like I am in two places at once,” said Shrewsberry about the impact of having your arms out of defense.

Seth Lundy was tasked to guard the opponents leading scorer yet again in this matchup. He held Ron Harper Jr. to seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.

“Seth Lundy is guarding the best player or one of the best players on every single team,” said Shrewsberry. “I told Seth, if I’m not paying attention and Ron Harper goes into the game, get up and check yourself back into the game.”

Penn State’s 22-day break resulted in some positives, such as giving the team more time to recover and grow as a team. There have been some new faces making an impact on the court in the past few games.

Greg Lee is one of those guys who has started the past three games after coming back from injury. Typically, John Harrar is the leading glass cleaner for Penn State, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Lee brought in a season-high 12 rebounds.

“He’s a DAWG,” Harrar said. “He will get you 12 rebounds every night cause that’s the type of dude he is.”

Another new face was junior-college transfer Jevonnie Scott, who played in his first ever Penn State game tonight. Scott scored a layup in the second half and played a total of five minutes throughout the game.

“He’s been competing in practice. That’s why he got out there. He has so much upside and I think Penn State basketball fans are really going to like Jevonnie Scott in the years to come,” said Harrar.

Penn State will travel on the road in its next matchup seeking revenge against Ohio State this coming Sunday.

Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email