In a near-empty arena and after an odd starting time, Jalen Pickett kickstarted sluggish Penn State with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 77-68 win over Quinnipiac on Thursday in State College, Pa.
Pickett came up one assist short of his second career triple-double and did not commit a turnover in a game whose start was moved up by four hours because of an incoming snowstorm.
Andrew Funk scored all 16 of his points in the second half and Michael Henn added nine of his 11 of his points after the break as the Nittany Lions (9-3) won their third straight.
Camren Wynter contributed 12 points and nine rebounds as Penn State finished with just three turnovers.
Penn State was without Seth Lundy, a defensive standout and the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, who was in uniform but sat out with a sore ankle.
In the first-ever meeting of the teams, Quinnipiac (9-4) was paced by Tyrese Williams’ 16 points. Ike Nweke and Tymu Chenery added 12 points apiece.
The Bobcats’ top scorer, Matt Balanc, missed his first seven shots but recovered to finish with eight points and seven rebounds.
Penn State entered the game fourth in the nation in 3-pointers made, averaging 11.8 per game. But the Nittany Lions made just one of their first 14 tries from beyond the arc, allowing the Bobcats to keep it close.
It was a tie game, 20-20, before Penn State outscored Quinnipiac 13-3 in the final 5:15 of the first half.
Wynter made two baskets and Myles Dread ended the Nittany Lions’ cold spell from deep with a 3-pointer to give Penn State a 33-23 lead at the break.
Penn State pulled away early in the second half as Funk scored 12 of his points in a span of less than six minutes. His floater in the lane gave the Nittany Lions a 61-46 lead with 10:49 left.
Pickett added 10 points in a span of less than five minutes as the Nittany Lions remained comfortably in charge.
–Field Level Media