Penn State Basketball Cruises to Opening-Night Win over Winthrop, 93-68

Penn State Basketball
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Myles Dread (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State Basketball was led by Jalen Pickett as the Lions cruised to a 93-68 victory. 

In a truly stunning moment, the Nittany Lions announced obvious starters of Seth Lundy and Jalen Pickett but were joined by Cam Wynter, Andrew Funk and Caleb Dorsey?!

Dorsey could barely crack the rotation in a completely depleted frontcourt a year ago.

Penn State Basketball came out pretty cold, looking a lot like last year going 1-5 from three to start the game. However, a RARE fast break layup from Wynter gave the Lions a 7-5 lead at the first media timeout. 

Some hot shooting from beyond from Pickett and Funk and another fastbreak (and-1 from Mahaffey) pushed the Penn State lead to a game high 10 with 7:03 left. Continued good ball movement in the open court and perhaps more importantly strong halfcourt defense gave the Lions a 44-32 halftime lead over a clearly overmatched Winthrop team. 

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An acrobatic and-1 layup from Cam Wynter gave the Nittany Lions their first 20-point lead as Penn State Basketball made it clear there would be no Winthrop comeback tonight. 

The Eagles never cut the lead to single digits the entire half. 

Kanye Clary saw some second half action but heralded recruit Jameel Brown didn’t see the floor until the 2:46 mark (Demetrius Lilley did not play at all). Kebba Njie showed some nice touch offensively but committed his fourth foul early in the second half, forcing him to the bench. 

Three factors to victory:

– Three point shooting: Penn State Basketball made a ton of Three pointers Monday night (led by Funk’s five three pointers). The Nittany Lions attempted 20 first half threes, a clear sign of how Shrewsberry wants to win this year. Their 18 made three pointers is a school record (finished 18 for 38).

– Gritty (and pretty) defense: the Winthrop Eagles struggled all game to create off the dribble and outside of some early first half shooting from beyond the arc, the Penn State Basketball was stifling all game.

– Up Tempo Offense: It’s amazing how many good looks you get when you can move the ball up and down the floor. Beyond just the easy fast break layups, Penn State Basketball was able to get a ton of open looks on the secondary break. 

The Nittany Lions return to the Bryce Jordan Center to take on Loyola (MD) on Thursday at 7:00 pm.