Down 42-40 with 13:55 left in the game, Penn State went on a 17-2 run to take down Butler 68-62 Monday night on Project 44 night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Nittany Lions were paced by Jalen Pickett’s triple-double, only the second in team history. Pickett finished with 15 points, nine coming in the second half, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Penn State leaned on Pickett when they needed him the most, but back-to-back Andrew Funk baskets turned the tide back on the Nittany Lions’ side. Funk hit a mid-range jumper to put Penn State up 40-39 before Butler’s Simas Lukosius drained a three to put the Bulldogs back up 42-40.
On the other end, Funk drained a deep three, and from there on, it was all Nittany Lions as they used a monstrous 17-2 run to pull away from Butler and put the game out of reach.
Funk finished with 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Camren Wynter and Seth Lundy chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It was the worst shooting night of the young season for Penn State as they shot a season-low 45.8 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three.
Despite that, the Nittany Lions could fend off a Butler team that came out of the half firing on all cylinders, coming back from down seven at the break to take a brief lead before Penn State’s surge.
This is the type of gutsy win that, come March, the Nittany Lions will be thankful for. It’s also the type of win that puts a notch in their resume come tournament time.