College Basketball News

Jalen Pickett goes for 41, Penn State rolls Illinois


Jalen Pickett poured in a Big Ten season-high 41 points and handed out eight assists that led to 21 more points as hot-shooting Penn State drilled Illinois 93-81 on Tuesday night in University Park, Pa.

Pickett canned 15 of 20 shots from the field as he produced the second-highest scoring output of his five-year career — trailing only his 46-point outburst as a Siena freshman against Quinnipiac on Feb. 17, 2019.

Seth Lundy added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Nittany Lions (15-11, 6-9) as they converted 10 of 18 3-pointers in the first half and shot 57.9 percent from the field for the game to sweep the season series from Illinois. The Nittany Lions claimed a 74-59 win on Dec. 10 in Champaign, Ill.

Terrence Shannon Jr. paced Illinois (17-8, 8-6) with 20 points before fouling out. Jayden Epps and Coleman Hawkins added 12 points apiece, but the Illini shot just 26 percent from 3-point range (7-for-27).

Penn State broke to a 22-13 lead as Pickett scored nine points and the Nittany Lions hit nine of their first 13 shots. Pickett went to the bench for a rest and Illinois promptly scored six points in a row, so Pickett returned to the fray and set up Lundy for a 3-pointer before scoring eight straight points to rebuild a 33-24 lead with 8:46 to go.

When Pickett swished a 3-pointer from the wing to give Penn State a 47-33 lead with 2:51 left in the first half, he reached 20 points for the night and 2,001 points for his five-year career.

When the officials ruled Coleman Hawkins goaltended Pickett’s scoop at the halftime buzzer, he had 24 points and Penn State owned a 53-40 lead at the break.

Illinois scored seven points in the first two minutes of the second half to pull within 54-47, but Penn State kept blazing away. Pickett cashed a step-back jumper and a driving layup on back-to-back possessions to give the Nittany Lions a 68-55 lead with 14:22 to play.

Illinois never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media

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