After perhaps its best defensive effort of the young season, Penn State looks to author a similar performance on Friday when Lafayette visits University Park, Pa.
The Nittany Lions (5-1) set a season low for points allowed in Sunday’s 68-56 triumph over Colorado State. In the team’s third straight tournament game in Charleston, S.C., Penn State held the Rams to 32.8 percent shooting, including 6 of 30 from 3-point range.
“I thought we played really hard,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “I thought our defense made strides. I like where we are right now, but even though I like where we are, we still got a long way to go. But we’re working towards it.”
Seth Lundy (17 points) and Jalen Pickett (16) did the heavy lifting on offense for the Nittany Lions, who finished with just seven assists on 23 baskets. Pickett had a season-low three assists after averaging 9.3 assists over his previous four games.
One of those games was a 68-62 win over Butler in which Pickett posted just the second triple-double in school history. He had 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Pickett leads the team in points (14.7), rebounds (6.7), assists (7.5), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.7). He will be a point of focus for the Leopards (1-5), who are coming off a 74-68 loss to Penn in overtime on Tuesday.
Leo O’Boyle had a team-high 16 points in defeat, while CJ Fulton supplied 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. O’Boyle leads Lafayette in scoring (13.5), while Fulton is a do-it-all player, pitching in 11.2 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals.
“Our guys played hard,” said Lafayette first-year coach Mike Jordan. “I think they’re learning how hard it is to win. It’s very hard to win. Winning is not easy. If it was, everybody would be undefeated.”
It has been more than a decade since the teams last met. The Leopards upended the Nittany Lions 61-57 on Dec. 7, 2011, snapping a five-game skid in the series.
–Field Level Media