Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

PSU Basketball

The Walker Report: Enjoy the March Madness Experience that is Penn State Basketball

Players walking with their parents on a senior day, a bubble team at home facing a ranked opponent, a jaded fanbase of 10,672 thinking ‘here we go again’ after going over nine minutes without scoring, five seniors stepping up on a senior day to forge a comeback, and then finally a buzzer-beater to secure Penn State’s biggest win in over a decade.

That is what I witnessed on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center: The ultimate March Madness experience.

When I looked at the seven seniors being honored on Sunday, I kind of got emotional for two players, Seth Lundy, and Myles Dread.

I got emotional because those are the two players that were at Penn State their entire careers. They were there when the Nittany Lions were ranked as high as ninth in the country and were going to easily make the NCAA tournament had the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic not shut down the college basketball season.

They were there during the Pat Chambers fiasco of the next two years and both stayed when current head coach Micah Shrewsberry came on board when they could have jumped into the transfer portal. These two players are true Penn Staters and I felt like they were going to have their moment on Sunday.

Penn State started strong from the start but then they got cold from the field and the crowd angst was obvious until Pickett gave a glimmer of hope to end the first half with a three-point shot at the buzzer.

Penn State started to claw back into the game, but Jamir Young was hitting backbreaking mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper to keep the score at ten. Shrewsberry put in the lineup of all seniors Pickett, Lundy, Dread, Andrew Funk, and Camren Wynter to make the magic happen. Before the game watching Dread in warmups, I had it in my head that it was going to be his day, and why wouldn’t it be as he has played in the most games in program history?

Dread hit two critical threes in the second half. The first cut Maryland’s lead to seven at 52-45, and the other cut its deficit to five and the crowd in the arena had a rare sense of belief, a confidence in this program that was not there as recently as a week ago when they collapsed in the second half against Rutgers. Funk also hit critical threes that swung momentum to Penn State’s direction and got the crowd to slowly perk up and regain hope.

Lundy only scored seven points, but the way he stepped up needs to be admired as well, especially after the last time he played in front of his home crowd, as he made three clutch free throws in the comeback and made a huge driving layup to keep momentum. His hustle going after the missed three and tip pass to Wynter proved that he along with his team just gets it, and other than the Rutgers meltdown, have proven this in the last seven games where they are 5-2.

Now onto Wynter, who for the second game in a row won Penn State a game with his last-second heroics. But this time he had to win the game twice.

First was a layup to make the score 63-62 with 43 seconds remaining, and then after Julian Battle made a layup to put Maryland up by one with 19 seconds remaining, Wynter won it again at the buzzer that sent the crowd in such a pandemonium that you would have thought you were at Beaver Stadium. When the ball went in the basket, I probably looked like a fan at WrestleMania XXX when Brock Lesnar snapped The Undertaker’s’ 21-0 WrestleMania undefeated streak.

As the buzzer sounded and Penn State’s alma mater hymn was being sung by players, coaches, students, and fans alike, I felt the magic of March Madness and what it’s all about. I questioned if the program even had a real fanbase as recently as last week, but now I am convinced that it does. The crowd turnout wasn’t bad, but it could have been better had Penn State not started its spring break for students on Sunday.

Penn State basketball in 2023 epitomizes the rollercoaster of March Madness with epic collapses, epic comebacks, heart-stopping finishes, and a senior-driven team aiming to finally make it to the big dance with all but one player, Camren Wynter never having made the NCAA tournament.

But no matter what happens from here on out, I, along with all Nittany Lions fans should embrace this moment and enjoy the magical ‘madness’ that has been this season.

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

More from Nittany Sports Now

NSN Poll Question

0 It’s the dominant story of Penn State basketball’s offseason: Will Micah Shrewsberry stay or will be go? It’s a question that fans feel...

PSU Basketball

0   Update (6:42 p.m.)— **Stadium’s Jeff Goodman is reporting that Penn State’s offer to Shrewsberry has an increased financial package and NIL commitment....

Lasching Out

0 Welcome to a brand-new Lasching Out Podcast on the Nittany Sports Now Network. This podcast is hosted by Nittany Sports Now’s Jarrod Prugar...

PSU Basketball

2s Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry and Notre Dame have begun to have talks. Dave Jones of and The Harrisburg Patriot-News, reported this...

Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox

Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.