Episode 69: Jalen Pickett Stays Hot in PSU Victory Over Minnesota

Fresh off his 41-point performance, Jalen Pickett continued his high level of play with 32 points in a 76-69 PSU basketball victory over Minnesota. In this episode, Vince recaps this much-needed Penn State victory and previews the Nittany Lions’ next opponent: Ohio State. WE ARE!

Transcript

Vince:

00:00:00.67 – 00:00:26.9 

¬†Welcome back to the Nittany Blues podcast Today we are here to recap Penn State’s first Big 10 winning streak of the season They finished with a big road win at Minnesota They took care of business in the bar and winning in the barn for the first time since 2015 Uh this was a lot closer than Penn State fans definitely would have liked it to be

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Vince:

00:00:27.12 – 00:00:52.1 

 but the Nittany Lions in the end took care of business to take down the Golden Gophers of Minnesota and uh heading into this game just like their their showdown with Illinois This was the Jalen Pickett show He was um you know on fire all night 11 for 20 from the field uh knocked down 43 pointers 6 to 7 from the free throw line

Vince:

00:00:52.29 – 00:01:16.49 

 Uh just doing everything you want him to do offensively Also playing some really big minutes against Dawson Garcia with the Nittany Lions could not stop on Minnesota He was coming back from a five game hiatus as he was nursing a foot injury Uh he looked really good night as he finished with 23 points seven rebounds

Vince:

00:01:16.63 – 00:01:29.15 

 9-14 from the field And you know credit to pick playing both ways how to steal and a block and you know really is the heart and soul of this Penn State basketball team

Vince:

00:01:30.13 – 00:01:34.4 

 And what I was really impressed with is he just

Vince:

00:01:34.93 – 00:01:46.04 

 Was so efficient over these past two games I I saw a statistic where the only players to have a combined 70 points or more

Vince:

00:01:46.77 – 00:02:00.44 

 and shoot at a 65% field goal percentage over 90% from the free throw line The only two players to do that in history at either the N C Double A Division one level or the N B A

Vince:

00:02:01.89 – 00:02:04.34 

 It’s a list that includes Lebron

Vince:

00:02:04.93 – 00:02:06.26 

 Steph curry

Vince:

00:02:06.96 – 00:02:08.1 

 Jalen Pickett

Vince:

00:02:08.84 – 00:02:32.43 

 and that’s it That’s it folks Jalen Pickett is on a list by himself for someone that no one has ever achieved in the sport of college basketball This is done by Steph curry in the N B A Lebron James That is it That’s the statistics So Jalen Pickett is playing at such a high level right now over these past two games that

Vince:

00:02:32.63 – 00:02:54.26 

 it’s never been done before in the college game So he’s literally rewriting the record books uh you know shout out to him He was ESPN college basketball player of the week Uh he’s playing at such a high level right now and if he keeps playing this well you’re gonna see Penn State make it to the big 10 tournament if he plays like that

Vince:

00:02:55.04 – 00:03:16.95 

 they’re gonna be a tough out versus teams like Rutgers and Ohio State and Maryland at home And even even at Northwestern uh you know they have a lot of really good guard play with Chase Rds and move Bowie However Jalen Pickett is playing at this high level that we saw him play at tonight versus the go first

Vince:

00:03:17.15 – 00:03:39.8 

 You’re going to see some some big things for the Nittany Lion basketball team Especially if the guys around him are doing well like they did tonight shooting from behind the arc uh they do a lot of S O With pick So you know sometimes teams will will let him you know take all of his dribbles in the paint and take their chances But when they drop a double team

Vince:

00:03:40.73 – 00:04:02.08 

 We’ll do that if our outside shooters aren’t having shots And uh that’s why his game is so important It’s so important that people around him do their jobs as well So tonight was a good shooting night for the lines They were able to knock down 10 threes in the end 10 of 26 from the field Minnesota was only four of 12

Vince:

00:04:02.23 – 00:04:31.18 

 And the charity stripe is a really another big area where Penn State made some ground They you know we’re only out shot 15 to 13 But Penn State did a lot better from the free throw line and they knocked down down their shots in the end When it mattered most they made 10 of 13 shooting 77% and Minnesota was only 9 to 15 60% And and that’s been their season average And that’s why the Gophers have lost a lot of close basketball games

Vince:

00:04:31.76 – 00:04:56.44 

 You gotta be doing better than that for free points And it’s really nice to see the lines over these past two games get to the free throw line There’s been several games this season where it’s been two free throws or four for the duration of an entire basketball game And if you’re not taking taking many shots it’s it can be difficult to win basketball games So the there’s a lot of good things I saw tonight starting off to the game

Vince:

00:04:56.65 – 00:05:21.84 

 uh Minnesota to go for Gophers definitely look better than a quad four team And you saw some really good ball movement with Dawson Garcia and uh a lot of joseph was knocking down shots early He was only a 29% 3 point shooter and he knocked two threes to start off the game right away So this was definitely a battle with Minnesota and

Vince:

00:05:21.99 – 00:05:42.43 

 I was definitely nervous watching in the first half You didn’t see some really good hustle plays but in good offense by both teams Uh but you know in the end it was Penn State at the end of the first half that went on the run and they got Andrew funk going So that was a good pick Was able to find him a couple of times and get him involved

Vince:

00:05:42.61 – 00:06:12.02 

 Finally got some ball movement out of Penn State and it wasn’t just the Jalen Pickett show You had kept a guy with a nice post move today I really liked his performance and thought he did really well defensively both him and Mikey hen there were times in the game where they needed some tough defensive stops and and they really stepped up to the plate and uh they did a really good job keeping the arms straight up and you know forcing Minnesota to take tough shots and Minnesota just

Vince:

00:06:12.42 – 00:06:30.35 

 I wasn’t able to do enough to overcome the lines and uh yeah even though they did really well in terms of assist outscoring Penn State 22 to 17 through ball movement uh just wasn’t enough And that run really took Penn State two to a 10 point lead at halftime And

Vince:

00:06:31.12 – 00:06:53.5 

 yeah I had us uh feeling pretty good and this game was looking like it was going to turn out like I had predicted however out of halftime I was dead wrong Penn State went 7.5 minutes without making it feel well the gophers came out of the half giving us everything they got Penn State started the half at 45

Vince:

00:06:54.09 – 00:06:57.29 

 two and before you know it it was

Vince:

00:06:59.14 – 00:07:14.76 

 It was like 48 Penn State just gave up the lead and you know the minimum Minnesota gophers started to really build some momentum and you know this was almost a job view of us having leads over teams like Purdue

Vince:

00:07:15.63 – 00:07:45.48 

 and and just not being able to hold onto a lead and control the control the game And you know this was definitely given us some negative negative flashbacks however the knitting lines hung tough when they needed to hang tough they gave up the big lead But then once they gave it up they’re down two points They did not let things snowball like they have in the past because once you let a team that’s down at home and then they start to build a league

Vince:

00:07:45.82 – 00:07:55.7 

 The lead and extend that to arm’s length You’re done It’s just not gonna happen much in the big 10 where you are able to come back from a deficit like that

Vince:

00:07:56.61 – 00:08:06.12 

 So I was really impressed that um Penn State was really able to get things going again in the second half They did a really good job

Vince:

00:08:07.02 – 00:08:26.35 

 Um locking down on defense and that in turn got the offense going a little bit and they started to build some momentum and really pull away in this game Uh in the waiting minutes of the game the last 4-6 minutes things weren’t quite as good for the lions You did see Minnesota start to claw back and uh

Vince:

00:08:26.95 – 00:08:45.21 

 you know Penn State definitely had a dry spell in terms of scoring and uh you know but it all worked out in the end Minnesota started fouling and you know Penn State for the most part knock down their shots And it didn’t hurt that when Minnesota was being aggressive and trying to get to the line that

Vince:

00:08:45.99 – 00:09:09.92 

 um they just didn’t knock down the free throws and that is how the game got away from Minnesota And you know it was that in turnovers Penn State won the turnover battle 7 to 11 They took care of the basketball like they were supposed to they let Jalen Pickett do Jalen Pickett things Uh cam Winter definitely stepped up and had a big night Seth lundy actually had a very rare off night

Vince:

00:09:10.16 – 00:09:24.63 

 from behind the arc There were some times where you know the shot clock was just getting late and he had to force up shots that he doesn’t normally take You know he he was only four of 11 tonight Uh

Vince:

00:09:25.23 – 00:09:54.8 

 and one of seven from behind the arc So that’s not his typical game and the enemy lines found a way to get out of there with a win This team has struggled on the road all season long with Illinois being their only road victory So to see them get a win in the win column with a quad four team that definitely could have really hurt their NC double A tournament resume Uh really really big big w for Penn State and I think it comes at a really good time

Vince:

00:09:55.13 – 00:10:15.3 

 Uh you know they can build momentum and they can get some momentum going into March and this big 10 tournament and that’s when you need to play your best because at the end of the day if you win the tournament you make the dance it doesn’t matter what your record is It doesn’t matter if you’re o and 31 if you get into the tournament and you win your game

Vince:

00:10:16.23 – 00:10:42.6 

 you get to go go go dance with Cinderella Like it’s it’s one of the crazy things in college basketball Every once in a while the bubble will get burst Do I think Penn State is going to be a team like Purdue in the Big 10 championship No I don’t think that’s gonna happen But I think they can do a lot of things to to improve their chances especially if they continue to take care of business and they they have four quad one wins

Vince:

00:10:42.89 – 00:10:59.17 

 Our quad one games coming up where they have a chance to prove themselves and really do that And Ohio state’s the first one and you might look at the buckeyes and and say Hey this is a team that is 11 and 16

Vince:

00:10:59.7 – 00:11:12.73 

 They’ve lost eight games in a row they haven’t won a game since January 21 So it’s gonna be a month without a victory for the buckeyes We’re going to get more into that game later But

Vince:

00:11:13.81 – 00:11:35.92 

 you know we got to give credit to the players where credit is due and hand out some player awards before we do get into that uh my Fidelity Fighter it has to go to jail in Pickett He played 37 minutes tonight racked up 32 points nine rebounds eight assists Uh just shy of a triple double So you know credit to him He’s just

Vince:

00:11:36.73 – 00:11:56.61 

 he can’t say enough good things about Jalen Pickett He took care of business tonight and then my bird brawler award has to go to cam Winter cam went through a really tough slump in in the first couple of weeks of february and even in january he had about a month where he just wasn’t scoring efficiently

Vince:

00:11:56.79 – 00:12:15.06 

 Uh Coach was benched him put him back in the starting lineup he started being a little more aggressive going to the rim more like we’ve seen him do in the past and he got that going again However the threes were still not falling for cam however he was two of two today and that was huge for the lines Like

Vince:

00:12:15.85 – 00:12:34.9 

 once we get guys like him hitting and and Seth and and Andrew funk He was good today three of six from three Uh really this Penn State team is tough too tough to stop when those guys are hitting because pick is so dangerous in the paint and those guys on the perimeter can make his job so much easier So

Vince:

00:12:35.42 – 00:12:50.5 

 yeah really good good team win And then from the Mahoney Mauler I think I’m gonna give this award to a guy we haven’t really seen in a while Evan Mahaffey he only got seven minutes today but his minutes were really impactful Uh

Vince:

00:12:50.51 – 00:13:11.47 

 he got four points I got a field goal knocked down a couple free throws had to rebound and assist played really aggressive on the defensive end So I love what he does Um other contenders for that We’re definitely Mikey hand and cabbage I they hung tough on the defensive end and they were really important in

Vince:

00:13:11.68 – 00:13:26.6 

 you know that drought when it was you know 50 to 52 Penn State was the team that that went on the run and we’ve seen Penn State when they’ve played from behind against teams like Rutgers for example and they come back they call the way back

Vince:

00:13:27.15 – 00:13:51.58 

 and then Rutgers just shuts the door in their face We were in a way able to do that to the golden Gophers It did take a while it took some defensive stops but eventually Penn State was able to get going again They were able to knock down a couple of threes and you know ultimately knocked down the free throws in Minnesota cannot at the end of the game So you know that was a really impressive part of Penn State to close out the game

Vince:

00:13:52.03 – 00:14:06.91 

 So that’s why those players earned those awards and you know this next two weeks is going to be really exciting And even the next month of the next two weeks go out because you know Rutgers and Maryland we get chance for revenge at home Ohio State

Vince:

00:14:07.42 – 00:14:34.17 

 this is the second worst team in the big 10 So Penn State’s uh has doubled the amount of Big 10 wins as they do So I think that this is a really great opportunity The Nittany lines cannot lose this game in Ohio they have four days of rest to get ready sunday through Wednesday and then thursday 6 30 on the big 10 network It is game time in the shoe

Vince:

00:14:34.4 – 00:15:03.31 

 Let’s go You know I I predict that this is going to be a big game for your Penn State Nittany lines and for my communion prediction I’m gonna predict that Jalen Pickett is going to going to continue with his hot scoring streak and you will see him a mass is third straight 30 point game Uh something that has probably never been done in Penn State basketball history

Vince:

00:15:03.58 – 00:15:33.53 

 Um someone will have to crack me if I’m wrong but I think pick is going to get his third straight game with 30 points Uh and I would not be surprised if he gets a triple double He’s really close tonight and you know this is a team that I I think he has a good chance to to do that against And uh Ohio State there is no slouch This is a really solid squad They are a quad one squad despite their record Uh you know with the basketball analytics

Vince:

00:15:33.89 – 00:16:03.8 

 and this is a team that is a little bit similar to Penn State This is a team that shoots really well from behind the arc They got there led by guys like bryce Sensabaugh who’s a freshman Really good player He averages 16.5 points a game and he’s a 43% shooter behind the arc and then they got guards like McNeill and thornton who are 37% shooters and you got holding the guard he gets a few minutes off the bench he’s a 46% shooter

Vince:

00:16:03.97 – 00:16:21.11 

 Uh these guys are a lot better from behind the free throw line than Minnesota Was there 72.4% They make 45% of their field goals However an area where they aren’t quite as good as turnovers This is a team that does average 11 turnovers a game

Vince:

00:16:21.36 – 00:16:35.49 

 So I am looking for um coach crews to try to do some things to make life more difficult on the offensive end for the buckeyes to try to force them into some turnovers and maybe throw some double teams and uh you know

Vince:

00:16:36.42 – 00:17:02.65 

 uh forced Ohio State into some bad situations Uh This is also another team that is not very big Looking at their uh starting line up with the guys who get the most minutes Only one of those guys is above 66 was was a key and you know he’s 68 So I think this is kind of a rare matchup where Penn State might have the size advantage if kevin guys in there and

Vince:

00:17:02.78 – 00:17:10.96 

 And he gets going they only have one guy act para around his side He he stands in at 6:11 he gets about 13 minutes a game

Vince:

00:17:11.72 – 00:17:39.8 

 So I think that’s a big advantage for Penn State if they can get kevin guy going in the post and get him doing you know drop steps and one dribble moves and up and unders I think that you know he can have really big game you know uh in a matchup where he’s definitely going to have the size advantage and if he can catch the ball in the post and you know control the ball I definitely think he has a really nice chance to finish um you know some other other scoring

Vince:

00:17:39.98 – 00:18:00.97 

 that uh Ohio State does have is from suing and key the forwards Uh they’re not great from behind the arc they’re both under 30% but they get lots of scoring down in the paint with 12 points and 10.8 points respectively So this this is an Ohio State squad Uh you know at times they can put up some good points However

Vince:

00:18:01.12 – 00:18:23.23 

 Um there’s times where they’re a little sloppy and and they can turn the ball over and if Penn State can force turnovers and get some points off turnovers that is going to be really beneficial to them And that was one of the big uh you know things that was the difference in the Minnesota game as well early in the game uh they were leading 10 points to zero off of turnovers So

Vince:

00:18:23.54 – 00:18:41.72 

 you know defense matters That’s what coach True said this team is going to be this is going to be a tough gritty defensive team and if they do that I think they have a really good chance to beat the buckeyes because let’s face it they’ve they’ve been shooting really well recently

Vince:

00:18:41.93 – 00:19:06.67 

 and it’s tough to keep keep it keep it up at that level of efficiency and when those shots don’t fall we got to find other ways to score We need guys like Kanye clary and cam winter to get to the paint uh Flandy is not hitting again We need we need him to get get to the paint And uh yeah he had a really nice time today as well Uh you know kind of getting rid of his frustrations Uh you know with his shooting earlier in the game and

Vince:

00:19:06.94 – 00:19:27.24 

 you know he had to take some tough shots and some difficult situations It would be nice to see Mikey had knocked down a couple of threes and you know stretched before and allow picked operating the paint So those are things I am looking for Penn State to do Uh I’m hoping funk and does his normal thing and lundy gets back to his normal self And if we get Myles dread going

Vince:

00:19:27.51 – 00:19:40.24 

 Uh this is gonna be you know a big win for miles for Penn State If we can get Myles dread going to So you know a lot of weapons for Penn State a lot of weapons for Ohio State I think this is going to be a really close one

Vince:

00:19:40.76 – 00:19:43.58 

 when it’s all said and done However

Vince:

00:19:44.21 – 00:20:05.06 

 Penn State has a really hard time upsetting Ohio State in football Basketball is another story I’ve seen seasons where we find a way to be Ohio State three times and man does that feel good after that They will pass in football and now I’m gonna stick with you know Penn State you know

Vince:

00:20:05.59 – 00:20:31.95 

 beating Ohio State and you know last year they didn’t get them they were swept they lost both their matchups But uh you know they don’t have Jamari wheeler anymore They don’t have E J Liddell So you know they’re losing some of their you know really good players This is a team that plays a lot of freshmen as well So they’re not quite as experience And I think that probably is contributing to the record uh their team that motivation wise uh

Vince:

00:20:32.95 – 00:21:01.02 

 you know if you’re in a locker room where you’re losing eight games in a row and you don’t win for over a month you know the vibes are not going to be great in that locker room and I’m sure they’re looking at Penn State as one of the lower teams in the big 10 and as a team that they can beat But uh you know Penn State’s got the opposite vibe They have a lot of great senior leadership They’re the oldest team in Division one basketball They got a lot of guys who are in their sixth year and they’re only eligible because of Covid

Vince:

00:21:01.31 – 00:21:16.6 

 And you know I think that that gives them an advantage and uh that’s what I’m going to take the Nittany lions in a really close game I’m gonna say Nittany Lions 78 Ohio State Buckeyes 72 it’s gonna be a thriller

Vince:

00:21:16.74 – 00:21:46.71 

 I think Penn State is definitely going to have a long scoring drought Um Ohio State does play some pretty good defense They get five steals game and almost four blocks So this is a solid defensive squad I think they’re a squad that is a lot better than the record It’s just you know in the Big 10 they haven’t gotten over that hump A lot of the times similar to Penn State and you know there’s been some games where they’ve been been blown out by 20 plus points So you know it is tough to know what

Vince:

00:21:47.07 – 00:21:59.49 

 Ohio State team we will see you know this is a team that’s beat the Carolina Tar hills but this is also the team that has lost the Minnesota and was their lone road win in the Big 10 So

Vince:

00:22:00.0 – 00:22:23.55 

 you know it’ll be interesting to see what team we get but you know time will tell so make sure you tune in thursday night Big 10 Network 6 30 is the tip off time And if Penn State can you know get get 333 wins in a row that’s going to be huge for this program and for them looking as potential NC double A tournament prospects heading into March

Vince:

00:22:23.95 – 00:22:48.34 

¬†Thank you guys again for tuning in today If you’d like to support the pot please tell your friends falls on twitter facebook and instagram If you enjoy the show please do five star reviews that other Nittany Lion fans like you can find us interesting new episodes You can subscribe on Spotify apple podcast google podcasts or other streaming platforms to be notified Thank you for listening and we want to remind you that we are the Nittany Blues podcast See you next time

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