Penn State Basketball entered Thursday off to a solid 3-0 start that featured a solid home win over Butler, and Micah Shrewsberry’s remained undefeated with a tight 73-68 win over Furman.
Despite their first three wins, the Nittany Lions entered this Charleston Classic with their toughest task to date according to betting lines as just a 2-point favorite.
How it Happened:
Penn State Basketball got down quickly out of the gate as Furman opened the matchup with a 5-0 start.
The Nittany Lions then went on a 12-4 run that included a 9-0 run into the first TV timeout with 14:08 to go in the 1st half. The defense looked to be tightening as Penn State was able to force a shot clock violation going into the break.
The teams traded a few baskets before Myles Dread connected on 3 consecutive three-pointers and Pickett hit a deep 2 and Furman was forced to take a timeout down 27-17 at the 10:33 mark.
The Nittany Lions took a 46-29 lead into halftime that saw them shoot 54.8% from the field and 46.2% from beyond the arc. The Penn State defense was also stifling holding Furman to 35.1% shooting and just 20% from three despite the 15 attempts.
Furman came out firing out of the half from 3 and were able to get the deficit to 11 at a 57-46 score with 13:27 to play.
Penn State Basketball continued to shoot poorly from the field and found themselves in a 63-54 game with 7:48 to go.
The Paladins went on a 10-0 run while Penn State was on a 5-minute scoring drought to cut the lead to 4 before Andrew Funk hit a 3 as the shot clock was expiring with 4:19 to go. Funk had previously shot 0-7 (0-6) from the field and hadn’t been able to see anything go down.
After a Pickett miss on the front end of a one and one Furman cut the lead to 3 when Tyrese Hughey grabbed a rebound and put it back up. Andrew Funk returned the favor with his 2nd three getting the Nittany Lions back up 69-63 but not before Jalen Slawson drove down the lane for a dunk. Penn State found itself up 69-65 with 2:15 to go and all the momentum on the side of the Paladins.
After a Seth Lundy miss Furman answered with a 3-pointer and the lead was cut to just one.
Lundy answered his miss with a tough step back to push the lead back to three and Furman took a timeout with 1:02 to play. After a Penn State miss Furman had two good looks from three and both rattled off the rim multiple times before bouncing out. Lundy grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 6 seconds to play.
Despite hitting 60 percent from the line on the year, Lundy hit both free throws to push the lead to 5 and put the game away for the Nittany Lions.
This game went from exciting and comfortable to frustrating and nerve-racking in the 2nd half for Nittany Lion fans.
Penn State Basketball will certainly take the win but will need to clean some things up if they hope to continue advancing. Furman is a solid team and was a buzzer beater shot away from making the tournament last season. While frustrating, past teams may have lost this game when shots weren’t falling in the 2nd half. This team is showing flashes of that 2019-20 team with the way they have been getting out to big leads before making things interesting late in the game.
Penn State will play the winner of Virginia Tech and Old Dominion tomorrow at Noon on ESPN 2.