basketball Edit

Penn State men's basketball blows out Minnesota behind Pickett's 20

Penn State started its first win streak since Jan. 5 on Thursday in dominating fashion after downing Minnesota at home, 67-46.

The Nittany Lions controlled the game flow throughout the rematch with the Golden Gophers, continuing their momentum after upsetting No. 19 Michigan State on Tuesday.

Coach Micah Shrewsberry’s defense was suffocating all afternoon. Minnesota failed to score more than 19 points in the first half.

Penn State kept the Golden Gophers from scoring for the first 3:20 of the first half. The blue and white also forced a shot-clock violation, two blocks and a turnover in just the first 10 minutes of play.

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Minnesota suffered another four-minute scoring drought after just getting going in the first half, too.

Minnesota’s Eric Curry burned the Nittany Lions for 22 points in their previous matchup, but Penn State made a point to shut down his mid-range jumper this time around.

With Penn State in solid control of the entire half, Shrewsberry was able to get veterans John Harrar and Seth Lundy more rest after they played heavy minutes against Michigan State.

Jevonnie Scott and Caleb Dorsey played solid minutes in their place, especially defensively. Scott put a stamp on his night with a nice drive to the rim, capped off with a dunk, in the first half.

Penn State went cold for a short stretch in the first half, but Caleb Dorsey and Jalen Pickett drilled back-to-back triples to force a Minnesota timeout.

The Golden Gophers came back with a 6-0, forcing Shrewsberry’s hand to put Harrar and Lundy back on the floor. The rest of the half was pretty much all Nittany Lions.

While the Penn State offense wasn’t blistering, it did enough to stretch a lead thanks to Minnesota scoring just one time — on a Luke Loewe 3-pointer — in the final five and a half minutes of the first half. The Nittany Lions went into the break with a 27-19 lead.

It was once again all Penn State in the second half. More specifically, it was all Pickett.

Pickett scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half alone. Twelve of those points came in the paint, as he put on a clinic nearly every time down the floor.

Minnesota got hot from behind the arc in the early stages of the half, but it simply wasn’t enough to keep up with Penn State, who shot 65.4% from the floor with just six turnovers in the second half.

The Nittany Lions cruised all the way into the finish line, extending the lead to 26 points before Shrewsberry got all four of his walk-ons in the game for the last three minutes and change.

Pickett led all scorers with his 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Myles Dread and John Harrar both found 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Minnesota’s leading scorer, Jamison Battle, improved greatly on his eight points from the last matchup to pour in 16. He was the only Golden Gopher in double figures.

Penn State shot 54% on the day and 50% from beyond the arc. The Nittany Lions still turned it over 10 times, but holding Minnesota to just 32% from the floor helped cover up any mistakes.

The blue and white hit the road on Monday to face Maryland at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

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