Penn State basketball’s first team to compete in The Basketball Tournament, a 64-team, single-elimination format that features teams filled with Ed players from specify schools, lost in the first-round to The Nerd Team.
Despite a valiant effort led by Sam Sessoms, who scored 28 for the day and 21 in the second half, Penn State’s alum fell, 54-49.
The Happy Valley Hoopers fell behind 10-1 and took a time out more than five minutes in.
Their first field goal didn’t come until 7:30 into the first quarter on a basket by Josh Reaves.
At the end of the first quarter, Penn State’s alumni team trailed 17-3. The three points scored were the fewest by a TBT team in tournament history.
The Happy Valley Hoopers came alive in the second quarter. A Myles Dread three made it 19-10, giving the team a 7-2 run. Dread was known for hitting 3s during his five-year career at Penn State, which ended this past March. Dread helped Penn State to its first NCAA Tournament since 2011.
The Nerd Team responded by going on a 6-0 run to push its lead to 25-10. But the Happy Valley Hoopers out score the Nerd team 10-1 the rest of the quarter to go into halftime down a manageable six points. Sam Sessoms scored a the last five points of the first half and scored a team-high seven. He ended the game with 11 points to lead the Happy Valley Hoopers.
In the second half, the Nerd Team held steady, leading 34-26 at the four-minute mark. At halftime, the Nerd Team led 38-29 and held onto that lead for the rest of the game.
Things got interesting in the fourth quarter. Sessoms made three straight 3s to give Happy Valley a 43-42 lead with 5:33 left. Another 3 by Sessoms made it 46-42, and Penn State inches closer to the target score of 54.
Sessoms Penn State to 48 to give him 28 for the afternoon.
But that was as good as it got for Penn State.
The Nerd Team scored 10 of the 11 points to win, 54-49.