Led by dynamic guard Jalen Pickett, Penn State is emerging as a potential contender in the Big Ten. The surging Nittany Lions aim for their sixth straight victory on Wednesday when they visit Michigan in Big Ten action at Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Nittany Lions (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) began their winning streak by defeating then-No. 17 Illinois by 15 points, and most recently knocked off Iowa 83-79 on Sunday. They also have earned wins this season over Butler and Colorado State and nearly knocked off Virginia Tech (61-59) and Clemson (101-94 in double overtime).
Pickett is the do-it-all star for Penn State, as he once again proved against the Hawkeyes. The senior guard notched 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting in addition to registering seven rebounds and six assists.
The Nittany Lions led by 18 points at halftime before holding on for the four-point victory, to the relief of coach Micah Shrewsberry.
“I’m proud of our guys and how we played. I thought we were really locked in defensively in the first half,” Shrewsberry said. “Knowing their tendencies, what they wanted to do, how they were trying to attack us. I thought we let our foot off the gas in the second half. But they had a lot to do with that as well.”
Michigan (8-5, 2-0) had lost four of six but rebounded with a crisp 81-46 romp over Maryland on New Year’s Day. The Wolverines held a players-only meeting leading up to the game against the Terrapins.
“It’s deeper than basketball. We had to figure out stuff within ourselves,” freshman guard Dug McDaniel said. “We just got everything off our chests and we just let everybody know where our heads (are) at and how we feel. And I feel like that was very important. It got everyone on the same track.”
Hunter Dickinson shot 13 of 16 from the field for 32 points against Maryland, adding 12 rebounds and two blocks. He leads the Wolverines in all three categories (18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks per game).
Dickinson posted 19 points and 15 rebounds in last season’s matchup, as Michigan won 58-57 at Penn State.
–Field Level Media