CHICAGO – The Penn State men’s basketball team punched its ticket to Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament Championship game Saturday as the tenth-seeded Nittany Lions took down third-seeded Indiana 77-73 in the semifinals at the United Center in Chicago. Penn State advances to its second Big Ten Tournament Championship game in program history and will take on top-seeded Purdue for the tournament trophy Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
Penn State shrugged off a slow start against the Hoosiers and led the game for over 32 minutes. With the score tied at 47 at the 10:23 mark of the second half, 14 points from Jalen Pickett helped the Nittany Lions put together a 25-10 run over the next 7:51 to pull ahead 72-57 with just over two minutes to play. Indiana made it interesting down the stretch, but the Nittany Lions held on to secure their spot in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game for the first time since 2011.
All-American Pickett put together yet another masterful performance, leading Penn State with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Seth Lundy added 16 points and six boards. Freshman Kebba Njie came up big with a team-best nine rebounds to go along with six points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Hoosiers got out to a 12-6 lead four minutes into the game.
- A 22-4 run over 9:32 from the Nittany Lions gave them a 28-16 advantage with 6:32 left in the opening half. Threes from Andrew Funk, Myles Dread, Jalen Pickett, and Lundy fueled the spurt.
- Indiana strung together a quick 8-2 stretch and climbed back to within six, but the Nittany Lions forced a momentum-shifting shot clock violation and scored four of the final six points in the half to take a 34-26 lead into the locker room. Pickett led the way with 13 in the half, followed by Lundy with 11.
- Kebba Njie knocked down a pair of free throws out of the half to get the Nittany Lions going out of the break, but the Hoosiers came back with a 15-6 run to get within one, at 42-41, with 13:40 left to go in the game.
- Lundy converted an and-one bucket to put the Nittany Lions up by four but four in a row from Indiana All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis tied the game at 47 with 10:23 left.
- Seven-straight by the Nittany Lions, including a huge triple from Funk, had the Nittany Lions rolling again as the clock ticked under 8:00 in regulation.
- Following an Indiana bucket, Penn State ripped off a 14-4 spurt to go up 68-53 with just under three minutes left to play.
- The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 15 at the 2:05 mark but a 16-2 run by the Hoosiers cut the Penn State lead to just one with 0:33 to play.
- Clutch free throws from Lundy and Camren Wynter all but sealed the deal, as the Nittany Lions emerged victorious, 77-73.
- The Nittany Lions advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship for the first time since the 2011 season and will take on top-seeded Purdue for the conference title. It will be Penn State’s second-ever trip to the Big Ten Tournament Championship game.
- Penn State now owns eight Quad 1 wins, six of which have come in the last 17 days.
- The Nittany Lions have defeated the Hoosiers twice this season, with their first victory coming on Jan. 11 by a final score of 85-66.
- With his first bucket in the first half, Jalen Pickett scored his 1,000th point in a Penn State uniform in just his 65th game as a Nittany Lion.
- Pickett’s 28-point performance is the second-highest scoring outing for a Nittany Lion in the Big Ten Tournament. Only Shep Garner’s 33 (vs. Purdue, 3/3/18) ranks higher on the list.
- With two triples tonight, Seth Lundy moved into a tie for third place in Penn State history (Titus Ivory, Shep Garner) in 3-pointers made in the Big Ten Tournament with 13.
- Lundy also climbed into the fourth spot in rebounds in a single Big Ten Tournament for a Penn State player. He passed John Harrar (21) and Geary Claxton (22) and currently has 23 in this year’s tournament.
- Penn State held the Hoosiers to just a 2-for-14 effort from 3-point range. The Nittany Lions did not allow an Indiana 3-pointer through the entire first half, with its first made three coming with 16:42 left in the final frame.
- Kebba Njie tied his career high with nine rebounds in the game.
- Njie also hauled in four offensive rebounds, contributing to the Nittany Lions’ 12 second-chance points. Defensively, the Nittany Lions held Indiana to just six second-chance points all game.
FROM THE SOURCE
Head Coach Micah Shrewsberry, Seth Lundy, Kebba Njie and Jalen Pickett
- Penn State advances to Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament Championship game and will face Purdue at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
- The Nittany Lions then await their postseason fate. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is set for Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS.
The 2022-23 Penn State men’s basketball season is presented by Highmark Health.