Columbus, OH—-The Ohio State Buckeyes were currently on a eight games losing streak and looking to snap that streak with a home victory over the Penn St. Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes led by head coach Chris Holtmann in his 6th season is searching for answers from this young Buckeyes roster. Team captain 6’7” Senior Justice Sueing, the team second leading scorer and second in minutes played looked to stop the bleeding with help from highly dynamic freshman Brice Sensabaugh who could be a lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
The Buckeyes came up a little short, the experienced Penn State team was able to come away with a 75-71 win at Schottenstein Center.
Sensabaugh came into the evening match up averaging a team high 16.5 points per game, 43.5% from behind the 3-point line and being named Big Ten Freshman of the week 3x this season.
Penn St entered this Big Ten battle with an outside shot at making the field of 68, 2nd year head coach Micah Shrewsberry is looking to finish the season strong and put the pressure on the NCAA committee to take an addition glance at their season resume, beating Illinois twice, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan.
The Lions are well balance in the scoring department with three players in double figures led by Senior Guard Jalen Pickett, could be up for Big Ten 1st team honors averaging 18.6 points per game 7.4 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. Penn St runs an up-tempo 4 guard offense, forcing teams to go small to create perimeter mismatches.
The Buckeyes began this Big Ten affair determined to get the ball to their P.T.P’er (prime time player in my Dickie V voice) Brice Sensabaugh early and often and he didn’t disappoint at the start of this high voltage offensive match up. Sensabaugh scored 7 of the Buckeyes first 10 points.
Penn State started four guards and a forward and still was able control the offensive and defensive boards 10 rebounds to 3. The Lions defensively ran a packed line defense pushing the Ohio St shooters a few steps beyond the 3-point line, the Buckeyes guards were taking extremely difficult three pointers creating long rebounds and easy transitional buckets for the Lions. At the 10-minute mark of the 1st half Penn St. led 21-18.
Buckeyes freshman guard Bruce Thornton began 1st half of the half on fire scoring 10 points shooting 2/2 FG and 2/3 from 3PT land.
The Buckeyes freshman duo of Bruce Thornton & Brice Sensabaugh has 24 points combined points. Not to be out done the Nittany Lions dynamic duo of Seth Lundy & Camren Wynter has 25 total points, keeping Penn St a float until Star Jalen Pickett gets going, scoring only 2 points in the 1st half.
At the end of this wild and fast pace half, it was knotted at 37 going to the break. The Buckeyes in the first half of play committed zero turnovers.
Ohio St’s phenom freshman 1-2 punch of Bruce Thornton & Brice Sensabaugh continued where they left off with their marvelous scoring display opening the 2nd half. Penn St. potential all- American Jalen Pickett started to get things going in the scoring department, knocking down two big buckets putting the Nittany Lions ahead by four points (50-46).
Pickett sat the majority of the 1st half because of foul trouble with three quick ones. Pickett one the nation’s leader in minutes with 36 per game, had fresh legs in the second and the Penn St. game plan was to get the ball into his hands to creature double teams and to kick to the open shooters. Camren Wynter picked up the scoring for the Nittany Lions with two huge dribble drive layups to nurse the Lions slim two point lead 59-57.
At the 7-minute mark of the second, there were 18 lead changes and five total turnovers (Penn State 4 -Ohio St 1). Down the stretch senior leader Jalen Pickett touched the ball on every possession, demanding the Ohio State’s defense to double the premier scorer, getting the ball out of his hands, forcing someone else to beat them. Penn St. was up 70-67 coming out of a time out with 2:12 remaining with the Buckeyes breathing down their necks.
OSU’s defense stood tall, rotating on defense causing a missed pressured layup. It was 70-69 and once again ,Jalen Pickett came through with a tremendous and one bucket. He went over his season average of 21 points, to put the Lions up by four (73-69) with 44 seconds left in the game. OSU missed six 3-point efforts with under 20 seconds left all fell short, as the Penn State Nittany Lions outlasted the Buckeyes to seal the win.
The three headed monster of the Lions combined for 60 points, Camren Wynter 18 points, 6 rebounds, Seth Lundy 19 points 5 boards, & Jalen Pickett 23 points, 4 assists. With the win, PSU keeps their post season hopes alive as March madness approaches.
The Buckeyes stay at home to play Illinois this Sunday. Tip-off is set for noon and will be televised nationally on CBS.
Penn State returns home to host Rutgers Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Fans are encouraged to wear white.