Here’s a look at 3 key takeaways from Penn State Basketball’s tight win over the Bulldogs:
1. Defense and Poor Butler Shooting
This was the first game this season where Penn State was tested by a team with somewhat compatible talent.
Butler struggled all night to shoot the ball, and this was something that had worried their fans coming into the season. The Bulldogs shot 34.3% from the field and 21.7% from three. Part of this was because of the great defense that the Nittany Lions were playing but a lot of it was simply this Butler team doesn’t have great shooters.
Nonetheless, it is still impressive that Penn State could hold this team to under 35% and the solid defensive performance will be something that will need to continue in the future when the competition heightens.
2. Bad Turnovers
The Nittany Lions jumped out early in this game before the Bulldogs battled back and the lead was 7 at the half.
What turned out to be a very competitive game for most of the 2nd half saw Penn State Basketball go on a big run that gave them a 62-46 lead with 4:55 to go.
What happened in that last 5 minutes was extremely concerning. Penn State Basketball turned the ball over on multiple possessions in a row and Butler was able to battle back to cut the lead to 4 with under a minute to play. While the Nittany Lions did pull out the win, it felt like Butler just ran out of time.
Everyone from Seth Lundy to Andrew Funk had atrocious turnovers in the offensive end and it allowed for a down and out Bulldogs team to battle back. Penn State finished with 11 turnovers to Butler’s 5 and a better shooting team will certainly take advantage of this in the future and it will certainly come back to bite Shrewsberry’s squad.
3. Jalen Pickett Triple Double
I am not sure what was more shocking, that this was only the second Triple double in school history or that Pickett was the player to do it.
Pickett seemed to be struggling shooting in the game early. He would do his traditional backing down of a smaller guard into the paint but was missing his 5 to 10 footers he would normally make.
However, when the game was on the line the senior point guard was able to make shots and that was ultimately what helped Penn State win the game.
Pickett only finished shooting 6-18 and 1-5 from three for 15 points but he also tallied 10 rebounds and 11 assists. The key to this performance was that while the shots weren’t falling, Pickett was still able to find his teammates.
This game proved once again that this team will go as far as he can take them whether that is through scoring or facilitating the ball. If Pickett can be this productive when the shots aren’t falling as well as normal, this team will be difficult to beat.
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