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Penn State Basketball

Jalen Pickett’s Record Night Leads Penn State Past Illinois 93-81

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (22) January 21, 2023 David Hague/NSN

Jalen Pickett scored 41 points on 15 for 20 shooting to go along with eight assists, Penn State snapped its four-game losing streak, beating Illinois 93-81 Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Pickett was the first Penn State player to score over 40 points in a game since Gene Harris scored a school-record 46 against Holy Cross in the 1961-1962 season.

Penn State (15-11 overall, 6-9 Big Ten) and Illinois played at a fast pace that favored Penn State at the beginning of the first half. Penn State was moving the ball and playing much more efficiently than it was throughout the past four games.

Pickett scored nine points and went 4 for 5 from the field as Penn State led 22-13 at the under-12 timeout. Illinois (17-8 overall, 6-8 Big Ten) scored the next six points, aided by consecutive Penn State turnovers, but Penn State hit a 3-pointer to end the short Illinois run. Penn State and Illinois continued to play at a fast pace, and Pickett continued to take over the game.

Penn State led 53-40 at halftime. Pickett scored 24 points in the half as he crossed the 2,000-point milestone. Penn State shot 10 for 18 from the 3-point line and although it got out-rebounded 15-11 in the first half, Illinois had only two offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes, well below its season average, which was 12 coming in.

Penn State continued its hot shooting in the second half and maintained its double-digit lead.

Pickett continued to take over the game. Illinois kept fighting, cutting the deficit to eight. But Pickett made sure Penn State would leave with a win.

Seth Lundy contributed 15 points for Penn State, Kanye Clary scored 12 points and Andrew Funk added 10. Terrance Shannon led Illinois with 20 points, followed by Coleman Hawkins and Jayden Epps, who scored 12 points each and Matthew Mayer and Ty Rodgers added 11 points.

Penn State earned a huge quad-one victory and has swept the season series against Illinois.

Penn State will travel to Williams Arena to face Minnesota Saturday night to take on Minnesota.

Twitter: @bwalker

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