Episode 68: Jalen Pickett Makes History With 41 Points in PSU Win Over Illinois

Jalen Pickett’s 41-point performance helped Penn State get back in the win column with a 93-81 victory over Illinois. Pickett is the first PSU men’s basketball player to score 40 points in more than 50 years. Join Vince and Maggie as they recap this historic Nittany Lion performance. WE ARE!

Transcript

Vince:

00:00:00.31 – 00:00:28.28 

 Welcome back to the Nittany Blues podcast after two long weeks of suffering and four consecutive losses Penn State is finally back in the win column with their best offensive performance of the season in Big 10 play with a 93 to 81 victory to sweep the fighting a line i of Illinois Uh Maggie What were your first thoughts and overall impressions of this game

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Maggie:

00:00:28.56 – 00:00:31.22 

 Well our predictions were way

Vince:

00:00:31.22 – 00:00:32.14 

 off way

Maggie:

00:00:32.14 – 00:00:33.4 

 off We

Vince:

00:00:33.4 – 00:00:37.59 

 we both predicted pretty high scoring games and

Vince:

00:00:38.2 – 00:00:44.79 

 there’s sometimes when we do these paws and we feel like oh we’re more often wrong than right But we were both

Maggie:

00:00:44.79 – 00:00:46.14 

 right tonight We

Vince:

00:00:46.14 – 00:01:01.96 

 Both thought it would be a really high scoring game from both teams and that it was Penn State having their highest score total of the season And Illinois you know much better offensive performance They only scored 59 points in the first match up against Penn State

Vince:

00:01:02.14 – 00:01:22.94 

 And they improved that margin by 22 points to 81 but not enough to overcome the prowess that his Jalen Pickett and tonight was a special night Uh not only did Jalen Pickett have a career high of 41 points eight rebounds on 15 of 20 shooting

Vince:

00:01:23.36 – 00:01:42.75 

 Uh he achieved a mark that not many college basketball players achieved while scoring 2000 points So amazing performance from him It was just one of those nights when you have a superstar player like Jalen Pickett uh he maybe will have

Vince:

00:01:42.96 – 00:01:56.88 

 one other game like that this year Uh you know to that capability And you know you see see that very few and far between and tonight was the night huge performance Uh what are your thoughts on Jalen Pickett performance

Maggie:

00:01:56.89 – 00:02:00.0 

 Yeah Just so amazing to see

Maggie:

00:02:01.03 – 00:02:20.68 

 him Just really light it up on the court tonight I mean he’s he’s been a a star all along and I think we we really have been consistent in recognizing his his star power and his consistency and just what you know everything that he brings to this team So

Maggie:

00:02:21.13 – 00:02:45.33 

 for him to hit all these big milestones today you know I’m sure that he would say that not no one point is necessarily like more important than the other but to just hit all of these big cumulative milestones in one night was pretty exciting And yeah it makes me see feel excited to see what he can do and his last couple weeks as a Nittany lion

Vince:

00:02:45.52 – 00:03:12.52 

 Yeah and it was really fun tonight It was just a pleasure to watch Really high scoring game entertaining both ways Uh Penn State’s defense I thought was overall really good tonight It was just Illinois made a lot of tough shots They made a lot of their three early in the game They kind of sputtered a little bit in the second half and how to get more points from inside the arc but you know overall really nice team performance from Penn State No one

Vince:

00:03:12.74 – 00:03:38.02 

 you can really point at and say I had a bad game So everyone took advantage of the scoring opportunities when they were there Seth lundy had a nice night He was five of 10 uh 15 points and you know continuing to shoot really well from behind the arc he was three of six tonight Um and this is the second consecutive game he shot 50% from behind the arc and you know

Vince:

00:03:38.53 – 00:04:00.0 

 a week or so ago we saw that you know his shooting percentage was 46% leading the big 10 out of all shooters in terms of efficiency and he’s only brought his average up since then So um you know Seth lundy is a guy that we need to continue to to get him the ball because you know he’s doing really well and he’s impressive Um

Vince:

00:04:00.91 – 00:04:23.91 

 and another guy who is really starting to step up and you know this is a second consecutive good performance was kinda Clary Uh he was four of eight from the field for 12 points uh got to the free throw line which was something that Penn State has really been struggling with There have been a lot of games where they’ve only got four free throws but tonight they were 15 of 19

Vince:

00:04:24.2 – 00:04:51.64 

 and uh Illinois was 16 of 20 So you know they were right there where they want to be and getting to the line and that was something that’s been a big issue for the sneaky lion squad and this is also the first time in a long time Um I couldn’t tell you the last time this happened that Penn State actually got called for less fouls than the opposing team And I would be willing to bet it’s the first time in big 10 play with

Vince:

00:04:51.89 – 00:05:03.5 

 You know how the season has gone and how they really struggled to get to the charity stripe And uh you know 17 16 did well in that area That’s an area we’ve been saying on the pod we would like to see them improve

Vince:

00:05:03.65 – 00:05:25.09 

 uh ball control They took really good control of the basketball only seven turnovers beating Illinois is eight Uh this was a really good display of offensive basketball Illinois was a little bit behind their performance behind the arc shooting at 26% But you know other than that they were they were pretty good from the field tonight and uh pretty efficient

Maggie:

00:05:25.1 – 00:05:29.66 

 Yeah And one thing I want to add about Kanye Clary is I think

Maggie:

00:05:29.82 – 00:05:39.9 

 It’s important to note that he scored all those points you know 12 points which is probably the season high for him right 12 or 13

Vince:

00:05:40.21 – 00:05:41.83 

 17 Okay

Maggie:

00:05:41.83 – 00:05:47.27 

 So maybe the second highest of the season but he’s he’s scoring 12 points

Vince:

00:05:47.28 – 00:05:48.52 

 at the same time

Maggie:

00:05:48.52 – 00:05:55.64 

 That Jalen Pickett is scoring 41 points You know guys that are in sort of you know competing positions both as

Maggie:

00:05:55.88 – 00:06:15.31 

 As point guards So for them to be like both on I think is something that is really exciting And also you know Jalen Pickett was having the game of his life and so to be a freshman stepping up scoring 12 points while uh you know much about the fifth year for Jalen

Maggie:

00:06:15.92 – 00:06:17.95 

 Yeah

Vince:

00:06:17.95 – 00:06:29.89 

 I think this would be his fifth year with the covid year maybe sixth year in college um six year in college but overall he might have red shirted one year and this is his sixth year of college

Maggie:

00:06:29.89 – 00:06:32.68 

 ball So anyway you know Jalen Pickett

Maggie:

00:06:33.34 – 00:06:43.45 

 Much older much more experience putting up 41 points having the game of his life But that also is not taking away from Kanye Clary’s performance tonight either

Vince:

00:06:43.46 – 00:07:00.1 

 Yeah And he really took advantage of his opportunities and he’s starting to get a little more involved in the offense he can also create create his own shot We have talked about how Penn State doesn’t have a lot of a natural ball handlers and drivers to the basket They don’t

Vince:

00:07:00.26 – 00:07:15.07 

 they’re more of a team that moves the ball and tries to create some open looks or they just say you know so for Pickett and he’s running an isolation offense with shooters spread out and in the corners and they they like to let him operate in the paint when when the space is there So

Vince:

00:07:15.26 – 00:07:26.26 

 uh you know Clary his ability to do that is really important and if you have pick it on the bench that’s that’s a very valuable tool that we do not have when pick is not out there

Maggie:

00:07:26.26 – 00:07:28.5 

 So yeah

Vince:

00:07:28.5 – 00:07:31.82 

 the one minute he’s on the bench But

Vince:

00:07:32.64 – 00:08:01.89 

 yeah and he’s he got the fourth the fourth most shooting attempts tonight Uh both had 10 shots Uh he had eight So really good to see the freshmen getting more involved in the offense And you know overall this was good to see the freshmen accounted for over half the free throws today They had 10 free throw attempts So it’s really good to see that the freshmen getting some good contributions and getting the free throw line because that’s something uh you know where this team has really struggled and

Vince:

00:08:02.16 – 00:08:02.79 

 um

Vince:

00:08:03.37 – 00:08:23.91 

 not getting many contributions from the freshman as of late it is good to to see them make that nice sleep Kevin did a pretty nice job I thought defensively tonight and on the boards leaving the team with five rebounds a second to Seth lundy lundy had 10 so second on the team and five rebounds And

Vince:

00:08:24.13 – 00:08:54.12 

 yeah this is just a fun game to watch And it makes you more excited about the next couple of games coming up because they’re going to be at Minnesota on saturday night That would be a nine p.m. Tip off on the Big 10 network Uh you know this is a that’s a team that’s only seven and 16 and one in 12 in Big 10 play So you know that is a team that Penn State should be able to contend with and be and then you got Ohio State after that there

Vince:

00:08:54.36 – 00:09:19.91 

 You know towards the bottom of the conference as well with only three wins So you know we’re playing the cellar dwellers of the conference in our next two games You know before it gets kind of hard towards the end again because you have Rutgers northwestern Maryland But this is a really vital week an opportunity because Penn State could get out of the cellar Uh like right now they’re the 11 seed and Wisconsin is 10

Vince:

00:09:20.08 – 00:09:39.32 

 They are half a game ahead at the moment They’re playing michigan tonight as we’re recording and if michigan is able to win and beat Wisconsin uh they’re not connect or even however I would have to imagine that Wisconsin would get that tire acre since they did win both of the games against Penn State So you would figure that Penn State does

Vince:

00:09:39.56 – 00:09:56.725 

 have to have a better conference record to leapfrog the badgers So these next two games are really important Then you got records in Maryland at home right where you want them a good chance to get some revenge It’s a team you’ve played So you can look at the film so you’re missed

Vince:

00:09:56.735 – 00:10:13.91 

 they can see areas where you can improve and do better So I think this is setting up very nicely for them to finish off the season with potentially uh four out of five wins if they can take care of business on the road and then play some better ball at home in the B J C

Maggie:

00:10:14.43 – 00:10:38.4 

 Absolutely yeah I think we’re probably both a little nervous going into the game tonight just because of the the skin that Penn State has been on and you know talking offline off the pod You and I are both a little skeptical especially you know like yesterday and then I think you’re a little down about the eagles So just everything everything down

Maggie:

00:10:38.91 – 00:10:44.38 

 and you know this is a game that we didn’t think that Penn State would win

Vince:

00:10:44.39 – 00:11:05.57 

 Yeah it was nice to see Lions and you know Jalen Pickett leading the way given given Nittany Lion fans some love on this nice valentine’s day so really happy to uh that they turned it around and I hope this is something that really builds momentum We’ve seen them have wins against teams like indiana

Vince:

00:11:05.93 – 00:11:28.52 

 and you hope it carry over and it doesn’t you’ve seen them be Iowa and michigan and it just hasn’t necessarily carried over to a streak of wins Uh you know if you look at at Penn State’s overall schedule you know not many long winning streaks in Big 10 play the longest streak they had

Vince:

00:11:29.53 – 00:11:37.49 

 They haven’t won two in a row So yeah there it is right there they haven’t won two consecutive big 10 games So you know

Maggie:

00:11:40.2 – 00:11:40.75 

 Yeah

Vince:

00:11:40.76 – 00:11:48.64 

 so yeah this they finally broke it and we’ll see if they can if they can you know keep make a streak I

Maggie:

00:11:48.64 – 00:11:49.68 

 guess

Vince:

00:11:49.69 – 00:11:53.98 

 for consecutive Big 10 wins and if there’s a team

Vince:

00:11:54.28 – 00:12:19.1 

 you know and you need to bet your life on it it’s going to be the Minnesota golden Gophers Uh So however uh last year our Penn State did split with Minnesota they lost at Minnesota and then just pounded them when they’re in the B J C They got some revenge there So really hoping that they’re prepared as they head into Minneapolis on saturday

Vince:

00:12:20.29 – 00:12:27.01 

 But before we get into that matchup we got to go into our players of the game

Vince:

00:12:27.15 – 00:12:34.07 

 So I think we know who who’s going to be the ultimate player of the game So do you care if I steal this one Well

Maggie:

00:12:34.07 – 00:12:34.89 

 no I was gonna

Vince:

00:12:34.89 – 00:12:36.08 

 say my

Maggie:

00:12:36.08 – 00:12:44.24 

 player of the game who I knew you wanted to give the player of the game to the person you’re gonna you’re about to give it to So I was gonna say someone else so you can go

Vince:

00:12:44.25 – 00:12:50.31 

 okay so finale Fighter Jalen Pickett enough said if you if you tuned in

Vince:

00:12:50.51 – 00:13:03.91 

 uh to the game you know what I’m talking about If you didn’t catch this game or weren’t able to catch it because you’re on a valentine’s day date or or whatever just watch some highlights Just incredible stuff Making uh

Vince:

00:13:04.31 – 00:13:25.18 

 just tough fadeaway step back threes you know posting guys up you know other guards and finishing around the rim and just being extremely efficient 75% from the field and four of his five misses were you know from behind three So he was like really on tonight It was a special night Uh he actually got to the free throw line for the first time

Vince:

00:13:25.38 – 00:13:53.62 

 in a long time It just seems like he never gets there He was six of six from the free throw line He was not letting the referees make making all the good calls tonight He was not letting the opportunity slip away He was knocking down his free throws six of six So really awesome performance Really happy for pick especially with all the hard work he’s put in you know helping his teammates in addition to his individual work So you know happy for him and

Vince:

00:13:53.85 – 00:14:01.43 

 you cannot argue that anyone else deserves the Finality fighter award more than Jalen Pickett

Maggie:

00:14:01.44 – 00:14:11.43 

 No I mean that’s like definitely the player of the game is Jalen Pickett hands down Um for my award I

Vince:

00:14:11.81 – 00:14:12.43 

 I don’t

Maggie:

00:14:12.43 – 00:14:40.45 

 really want to give it to Kanye Clary because I think he had a great game I think he really made his presence known I think we saw him really be aggressive about taking it to the basket which is I think something we’re seeing as sort of an emerging specialty of his he’s just he’s so quick he’s so fast you know he he’s able to be people so easily and then just sneak right up into the basket and

Maggie:

00:14:40.94 – 00:14:46.27 

 Yeah to put up to put up 12 points while a player on your team is putting up 41

Vince:

00:14:46.27 – 00:14:47.45 

 points That’s

Maggie:

00:14:47.45 – 00:14:56.91 

 pretty good right there And he you know I think is just really emerging as a leader And so I’m

Maggie:

00:14:57.65 – 00:15:00.18 

 yeah I think Kanye Clary’s

Vince:

00:15:00.77 – 00:15:01.32 

 not

Maggie:

00:15:01.32 – 00:15:05.75 

 the player of the game but definitely deserves a shout out today

Vince:

00:15:05.76 – 00:15:28.37 

 Yeah I agree It’s really nice to see him step up Um he’s been driving all year It’s just the matter of fact that um his opportunities have been inconsistent You see a couple of games where you get in and then he would be out of the rotation then be back in But after these past two performances back to back you heard Coach Shrewsbury say it and

Vince:

00:15:28.67 – 00:15:58.57 

 you know in one of his conferences he’s like oh when you have a game like this it’s all about the game after that and you need to be able to put games like this back together consecutively Um and that’s when you know a breakout performance turns into something that’s you know a good player when they’re doing it on back to back nights and continuing to perform well at a high level So definitely deserving of the award and then the bird brawler have to give that to Seth lundy uh he was great tonight Not as many shots

Vince:

00:15:58.95 – 00:16:18.95 

 Um as you know some other nights but you know five of 10 from the field That’s exactly what you expect out of Seth lundy over 50 or right at 50% from three led the team in rebounds have some stellar defense nice block Uh being really aggressive he got to the free throw line a couple of times

Vince:

00:16:19.77 – 00:16:20.87 

 Gregory bounder

Maggie:

00:16:20.88 – 00:16:21.33 

 like

Vince:

00:16:21.87 – 00:16:50.93 

 everything you wanted a teammate in South Columbia So he gets our last award for the day But yeah really good team performance Um really no one had had a terrible night You did see the big guys get in foul trouble You had caba Mikey han and uh we all get three fouls trying to guard Dane danger and company on Illinois So you know that was an area where maybe they can improve and

Vince:

00:16:51.21 – 00:17:01.46 

 and try to stay out of foul trouble in the future because they are going to have a tough matchup against Minnesota So Minnesota’s leading scorer is

Vince:

00:17:02.84 – 00:17:26.91 

 Dawson Garcia he leads the team with uh 15 points on average He’s a 6 11 center Uh so real solid player He can also shoot from behind the arc His three point percentage is 32.3% So he is definitely one of the better players to watch out for the leader of this team you could argue is Jamison battle He averages 35 minutes a game

Vince:

00:17:27.28 – 00:17:43.91 

 Uh he averages 12.4 points 30% from behind the arc So he’s gonna do a little bit more work in that mid range game by far the best free throw shooter at 85% Uh yeah so you got him he’s probably the leader of their team

Vince:

00:17:44.52 – 00:18:07.07 

 and then the one guy you need to look out for behind the arc is uh Taylan Cooper He’s 38.7% from behind the arc and everyone else on the roster is actually below 33% So if if you have players who are below 33% for the most part you’re gonna let them shoot and those are guys you can really

Vince:

00:18:07.36 – 00:18:27.15 

 uh kind of abandoned almost if you need to help out with a guy like Garcia down in the post So I think this is a really favorable matchup for Penn State because you know the best player Garcia we should be able to create some double teams and some pressure just because Minnesota doesn’t have the outside shooting

Vince:

00:18:27.34 – 00:18:53.23 

 Um as some of these other big 10 teams through their other averages only 30.1% now doesn’t mean you can leave them wide open but you know you can help someone else can rotate over and you can make them make all those extra passes And if if they move the ball well enough you know credit them from from moving the ball But I think if we can take away their best player in the interior I think things will bode well for Penn State heading into this match next matchup in Minneapolis

Maggie:

00:18:54.24 – 00:18:58.54 

 Absolutely yeah I think it’ll be a good game I think it’ll be a close game

Maggie:

00:18:59.09 – 00:18:59.33 

 Yeah

Vince:

00:18:59.33 – 00:19:21.21 

 And you know playing in a in a way environment is really tough This is also a later night game It’s it’s on central time So you know that that’s an hour change and then it will be at nine p.m. Which is relatively uh leak tip off and athletes are definitely creatures of habit So they’ll that will throw them out of the routine a tad

Vince:

00:19:21.64 – 00:19:44.04 

 I don’t think it will play a huge impact but might lead to potentially a slow star I can really see Penn State having a slow start in this one and then kind of um getting it together and then eventually later into the game uh keeping them at arm’s length and walking out of Minneapolis with the victory So before we do our final score predictions what is a

Vince:

00:19:44.21 – 00:19:59.31 

 uh community prediction So this can be either a individual player performance or a team stat or performance What are your thoughts on your community prediction for Penn State heading into Minnesota on saturday

Maggie:

00:19:59.8 – 00:20:07.35 

 Well I’m feeling kind of inclined to keep betting on Jalen Pickett So I’m gonna say Jalen Pickett for 30 points

Vince:

00:20:07.36 – 00:20:10.77 

 Jalen Pickett for 30 points I like it Um what

Maggie:

00:20:10.77 – 00:20:11.86 

 about you I actually

Vince:

00:20:11.86 – 00:20:22.85 

 I’m gonna go in the opposite direction I think you’re you’re going to see Minnesota is going to see some highlights and say okay we can’t happen to us right Take away the best player that’s what you want to do

Vince:

00:20:23.02 – 00:20:52.83 

 as a team defensively So take take away the best player So I think you’re actually going to see Penn State really spreading the wealth I think functions lundy and clary and dread And you know of course Jalen Pickett will have really good games But my communion prediction is that we will have five different players scoring in double figures So 10 points or more I think there’s gonna be you know spreading of the wealth and I see I think you’re just going to see everyone from all over the place pitching in

Vince:

00:20:53.25 – 00:21:16.19 

 you know in contributing to the team and I think it’s going to be more of a facilitator in this game than than the lead score So for my final prediction I have Penn State winning 82 to 68 hopefully uh this has Penn State trending up as they get to March and March when they need to be the best

Maggie:

00:21:17.13 – 00:21:26.91 

 Alright well my final score prediction I’ll do Penn State 77 Minnesota 70

Vince:

00:21:26.92 – 00:21:31.22 

 Okay so you’re less optimistic than I am That’s very unusual

Maggie:

00:21:31.23 – 00:21:33.92 

 Well no Penn State still winning but

Vince:

00:21:33.93 – 00:21:35.49 

 you have it much closer

Maggie:

00:21:35.52 – 00:21:36.26 

 much closer

Vince:

00:21:36.26 – 00:21:45.53 

 much closer So I think they’ll start slow and a half time You’re gonna be like like they might be down like two points or something or up by two points and

Vince:

00:21:45.74 – 00:21:55.97 

 Thinking they should do better But then I think they kind of get their act together and can keep like a 10 point cushion And then maybe they get some fouls at the end and get some garbage time free throws and

Vince:

00:21:56.5 – 00:21:59.03 

 that’s that’s kind of how I see see the gameplay

Maggie:

00:21:59.03 – 00:22:02.97 

 now and this could be the start of an actual streak

Vince:

00:22:02.98 – 00:22:03.98 

 Yeah

Maggie:

00:22:03.99 – 00:22:05.94 

 well yeah

Vince:

00:22:05.95 – 00:22:17.52 

 well well Penn State win back to back big time games I sure hope so If you want to catch this game tune in on saturday night on the Big 10 network uh nine

Vince:

00:22:17.53 – 00:22:38.56 

 10 p.m. And if you are really into Penn State sports this is a big weekend for going against Minnesota So Penn State is actually playing the Golden Gophers and Angola this weekend friday and saturday both at 6 30 Both those games will also be televised on the Big 10 network So if you’re a Penn State fan really easy to

Vince:

00:22:38.74 – 00:23:03.43 

 um you know watch your teams at home from the comfort of your home or or maybe a bar you know if you’re going to a bar So you know back to back Hopefully things go well Minnesota is much better in hockey than they are in basketball So if you tuned into earlier at one point Minnesota was the number one team in hockey right now I think they’re sitting at

Vince:

00:23:03.95 – 00:23:18.38 

 maybe two or three I think it’s at three right now But yeah one of the best college hockey teams by and far leaving the big 10 and points they’ll definitely be the number one team but right now there is a tight battle for you know

Vince:

00:23:19.0 – 00:23:43.73 

 everywhere between three and six and right now Penn State is at six in the Big 10 So if they can even get one win against the Gophers this weekend that would be huge for their chances to be move up to maybe a three seed above an Ohio State who is currently one point ahead of them Uh you know that 3 to 6 ranges all really close So if Penn State can get one win they get to finish their last hockey weekend

Vince:

00:23:43.88 – 00:24:04.11 

 With the badgers who are at the very bottom kind of far below everybody in hockey So uh Penn State would have a really good opportunity to sweep them and that could give them an advantageous seed they could maybe have a first round matchup maybe two on home ice you know Michigan is a little higher they have 35 points and

Vince:

00:24:04.37 – 00:24:25.54 

 Penn State’s at 30 in the Big 10 hockey standing so maybe we’ll see them climb too So you guys got some bonus coverage here you got some basketball and the and the men’s hockey and the right number seven even though their number six in the big 10 the number seven in the entire country So this squad is really good ticket prices are very expensive for this upcoming weekend

Vince:

00:24:25.7 – 00:24:47.36 

 So if you can’t afford the ticket definitely uh you know tune in and enjoy the game from home Uh you know I’m sure you will be able to hear the the environment being very loud in Angola and you’ll see all the Hogan chance and you’ll hear that all on your tv as you tune in Uh but that’s all we have for today If you would like to support the pop please tell your friends false on twitter

Vince:

00:24:47.37 – 00:25:04.36 

 facebook and instagram If you enjoy the show please leave a five star reviews The other Nittany Lion fans like you can find us interested in new episodes You can subscribe on Spotify apple podcasts cool podcast or other streaming platforms to be notified Thank you for listening Only want to remind you that we are

Maggie:

00:25:04.37 – 00:25:07.6 

 the Nittany Blues podcast Thanks for listening

Vince:

00:25:07.61 – 00:25:09.04 

 and see you next time

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