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Lions pull away in 2nd half

Sessoms

From Mirror reports

UNIVERSITY PARK — Three-point shooting — and a 21-7 game-closing run in the final six minutes — led the Penn State men’s basketball team to an 85-74 comeback victory over previously unbeaten Cornell Monday night inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Penn State (3-1) trailed 67-64 with six minutes to play before a trey from senior Jalen Pickett was followed by three more Nittany Lion three-pointers, two from senior Sam Sessoms and one from senior Myles Dread, to comprise a 12-4 streak that turned Penn State’s 3-point deficit into a five-point lead at the 3:38 mark.

The Nittany Lions’ free-throw shooting — and defense — took it from there, as Penn State shot 9-for-10 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes, and held the Big Red to a 1-for-8 clip from the field en route to the victory.

“I told our guys as we were getting ready for this game that this was going to be a challenge, watching these guys on film and watching how they played,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “Cornell played at the highest pace in the country going into this game and they got eight transition points and that’s kudos to our effort. Our guys focused in terms of how they were going to guard them and I proud of our effort tonight.”

Sessoms and junior Seth Lundy accounted for 11 of the Nittany Lions’ 15 3-pointers, as Sessoms went 6-for-7 and Lundy went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, respectively.

Lundy finished with a game-high 23 points, his second 20-plus point performance of the season and sixth of his career. He added a season-high seven rebounds plus a block and a steal.

Sessoms added 22, all from either beyond the arc or the charity stripe, for his second-straight game with at least 20 points, plus six rebounds, four assists and a steal to stuff the stat sheet.

Pickett, a senior transfer, was the third Nittany Lion in double digits with a season-high 15 points, plus six assists, four rebounds, a block and a steal. John Harrar had a game-high 12 rebounds to now record double-digit boards in each game this season.

How it got started

Lundy had seven of Penn State’s nine opening points as it was a slow start for both teams with just a 9-4 score right at the under-16 media timeout.

The Nittany Lions held onto a lead for the first 10 minutes of the game before Cornell (3-1) heated up on a 14-0 run with three 3-pointers to take a 25-17 lead at the under-8 media timeout.

Sessoms went off for all 12 of his first-half points near the end of the first half, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to help spark an 8-0 Penn State run to put Penn State up, 41-38, at the break.

Penn State increased its advantage to eight points at the beginning of the second half before Cornell took off on a 10-0 run of its own to go back up, 48-46, at the under-16 timeout.

A game of runs also turned into droughts midway through the second half as it would be a narrow four-point lead the Big Red would hold at the under-8 media timeout with both teams on two-plus minute droughts.

The Nittany Lions held Cornell without a field goal for over four minutes and, in the mean time, used the clutch 3-pointers from Pickett, Sessoms and Dread to take a 76-71 lead with just under four minutes remaining.

Down the stretch, Penn State held Cornell to shoot just 1-for-8 from the field and used clutch free-throw shooting to reach a double-digit, 85-74, victory.

Up next

Penn State heads to Niceville, Florida for the rest of Thanksgiving week for two games starting Friday. The Nittany Lions will first face LSU on Friday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.

CORNELL (74): Patel 5-11 2-2 15, Manon 5-9 2-3 12, Dickson 3-6 1-2 8, Jones 2-7 1-1 6, Dolan 3-7 0-2 6, Williams 3-6 6-6 14, Boothby 1-4 2-2 5, Noll 2-6 0-0 5, Hansen 1-2 0-1 2, Gray 0-3 1-2 1, Ragland 0-5 0-0 0, Fillen 0-0 0-0 0, Samberg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-66 15-21 74.

PENN STATE (85): Lundy 9-13 0-1 23, Sessoms 6-11 4-4 22, Pickett 3-10 8-11 15, Harrar 3-5 1-2 7, Dread 1-6 2-2 5, White 3-3 1-1 7, Cornwall 1-5 0-0 3, Johnson 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 27-55 16-21 85.

Halftime: Penn State, 41-38. 3-point field goals: Cornell 9-32 (Partel 3-4 Manon 0-2, Dickson 1-2, Jones 1-5, Dolan 0-2, Williams 2-3, Boothby 1-4, Noll 1-2, Hansen 0-1, Gray 0-2, Ragland 0-5); PSU 15-34 (Lundy 5-8, Sessoms 6-7, Pickett 1-6, Dread 1-6, Cornwall 1-5, Johnson 1-2). Rebounds: Cornell 39 (2 tied with 5); PSU 38 (Harrar 12). Assists: 13 (Dickson 6); PSU 16 (Pickett 6). Attendance: 7, 515

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