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Hoops game day: Transfer Sessoms gives PSU scoring and attacking option on offense

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Sam Sessoms

Penn State hosts VCU at 5 p.m. today at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the Nittany Lions should have a good chance to pick up what would be a nice non-conference win.

Penn State: Lions are 1-0 after an 86-65 win over VMI on Saturday. Jamari Wheeler had a career-high 18 points. The Lions trailed 26-14 early, but interim coach Jim Ferry liked his team’s poise. “We know who we are, we know how we play,” Ferry said. “At that point it was more about us getting back to doing what we do. … We had to just kind of settle in.”

The opponent: VCU is 2-1 and has played a tough schedule. It opened with an 85-69 win over Utah State, then lost to West Virginia, 78-66, before beating Memphis, 70-59. Those games were part of a bubble tournament in South Dakota. VCU was picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10.

TV: FS1

Series: This is the first meeting between these teams.

Sessoms solid in debut: Sam Sessoms scored 12 points in 27 minutes in his PSU debut. The transfer guard from Binghamton shot 5-of-12 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3. He also had four steals and three assists. Sessoms can flat out score. He led the America East in scoring last season with 19.4 points per game. He also was one of only two players in league history to finish in the top five in scoring and assists during both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“It’s not just his ability to put the ball in the bucket,” Ferry said. “He creates offense for others.”

Sessoms can break down a defense off the dribble, drive to the basket and draw defenders, opening up opportunities for others.

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“He was key for us the other day just because he got the ball to go in early,” Ferry said.

“His ability to score, his ability to make 3s and get other guys better and get other guys shots is something that’s really going to help us.”

Prediction: I’m going with VCU here, 77-73. Penn State is favored by 4.5, but VCU already has played much tougher competition, so it should be in better prepared for a tight game.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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