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5 Things to Know Before Penn State-Furman

Penn State Athletics

Penn State looks to start 4-0 for the first time since 2019-20 Thursday morning against Furman in the Charleston Classic. Here are five things to know. 

PICKETT’S (CONTINUED) CHARGE

Jalen Pickett didn’t have to post a triple-double to prove he could play. 

Pickett scored a game-high 23 points in Penn State’s season-opening win over Winthrop and had a game-high 11 assists three nights later against Loyola (MD). But getting a triple-double is always pretty cool, especially when it had only happened once in school history. In Monday’s win over Butler, Pickett had 15 points, 11 assists and 10 boards to join Calvin Booth as the only players in Penn State history to accomplish that feat. It will be hard to top a triple-double, but Pickett has impressed in each of Penn State’s first three games, and there’s no reason not to expect him to do so against Furman.

DEFENDING THE 3

Penn State finished 12th of 14 Big Ten teams in 3-point defense last season. This year, it started out by giving up 11 in 25 attempts against Winthrop. But over the past two games, teams are 11-42 from beyond the arc against Penn State. It’s hard to gauge how Furman’s outside shooting will be. In its first game, a 91-55 win over North Greenville, it shot 5-25 from 3. Game 2 was better. Furman shot 8-19 from beyond the arc in an 89-74 win over Belmont. Penn State’s played well defensively this season, giving up 65 points per game. For context, last year’s team allowed the exact same average and game up the fewest points in the Big Ten. As with any game, neutralizing the 3-ball will be big against Furman. 

THE FURMAN FILE

Furman is 2-0 this season, with the aforementioned wins over North Greenville and Belmont its only results thus far. KenPom.Com’s Pomery Rankings have Furman at No. 62, which is by far the highest of any team No. 37 Penn State has played thus far. The next highest, Butler, ranks 115. 

Furman went 22-12 last season, and a miracle shot by Chattanooga’s David Jean-Baptiste kept it from the NCAA tournament. Furman was the top choice among the SoCon’s media and coaches before the season. 

The team returned its top two scorers, Mike Bothwell (15.7 PPG) and Jalen Slawson (14.4 PPG). Bothwell and Slawson are averaging 20.5 and 17 points, respectively, through two games this season. Penn State is a 2.5-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The bottom line is that Furman will be a tough out.

THE CHARLESTON CLASSIC

The Furman game is one of three Penn State will play between Thursday and Sunday. Penn State and Furman are two of eight teams that will play in the Charleston Classic. After Furman, Penn State will play either Virginia Tech or Old Dominion Friday at either noon or 2:30 on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. After that, Penn State has Saturday off before playing either Colorado State, Davidson or South Carolina Sunday. The two teams that are still undefeated before Sunday will play in the championship game at 3:30. 

HOW TO WATCH 

Penn State and Furman are scheduled to tip off at 11:30 Thursday morning.  

Here’s how to watch and listen to the game. 

TV Channel: ESPNU

TV Announcers: Derek Jones (pxp), Perry Clark (color)

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

Radio Network: Penn State Sports Network

Radio Announcers: Steve Jones (pxp), Dick Jerardi (color)

SiriusXM: Ch. 362, 972 (app)

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