Penn State is building some momentum at the best possible time with the Big Ten tournament right around the corner.
The Nittany Lions take aim at their fourth straight victory Sunday when they welcome Rutgers to University Park, Pa.
Penn State (17-11, 8-9 Big Ten) opened February with a four-game losing streak, including a 20-point defeat against then-No. 1 Purdue. However, the Nittany Lions have since knocked off Illinois at home and then went on the road to defeat Minnesota and Ohio State.
Jalen Pickett continued his terrific season with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting against the Buckeyes. He scored the team’s final 14 points and raised his season average to 18.8 points per game on 52.9 percent shooting.
“He’s trying to will us every single game to something,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “And he’s doing it. When you’ve got a guy like that, you just ride him as long as you can.”
Seth Lundy (19 points) and Camren Wynter (18 points) chipped in with solid contributions against Ohio State, giving Rutgers plenty of players to worry about as the Scarlet Knights try to avoid a fifth loss in six games.
Rutgers (17-11, 9-8) is coming off a 58-45 defeat against Michigan when it jumped out to a 13-3 lead before scuffling the rest of the way.
“This is a really good league, and we’re not the only team that’s going through (a tough stretch),” Scarlet Knights coach Steve Pikiell said after his team shot 38.3 percent from the field, was 4 of 13 from 3-point range and 5 of 16 from the free-throw line against the Wolverines.
Rutgers now must find a way to knock off a Penn State team that it trounced 65-45 back on Jan. 24.
“We’ve got to go on the road and beat a really good Penn State team,” Pikiell said. “It’s just like any other game in this league that’s competitive, challenging and has good coaches. You have to play well.”
Clifford Omoruyi led the Scarlet Knights with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the previous meeting with the Nittany Lions.
–Field Level Media