Penn State collapses in second half, falls to Seton Hall in OT


Penn State’s Jamari Wheeler (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Penn State men’s basketball team (2-1) fell in overtime 98-92 to the Seton Hall Pirates (2-3) Sunday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center. Seton Hall’s strong second half was enough to tie the game at 84 and send the game into overtime as the Pirates edged the Nittany Lions in the extra five minutes of play.

Seton Hall found its rhythm in the second half, shooting 65.5 percent from the field and 5-9 from behind the arc. The Pirates used their inside presence and scored 54 points in the paint for the game to keep up with the Nittany Lions fast-paced attack.

“This was a really disappointing loss,” said interim head coach Jim Ferry. “I thought we played a fantastic first 15 minutes, and then we got away from what we were doing. I thought we played very unselfishly early and then we played a little selfish basketball and stopped defending to the level that we did. For as poorly as we played defensively, we’re still up eight with two minutes to go in the game and that’s a game you have to win…We should have won that game in regulation. We have to give credit to Seton Hall, they stayed aggressive…and we did a poor job to start the second half and a real poor job to end the second half defensively, which really put pressure on us. It should have been a game we won. It’s on all of us. We have to keep getting better. We have to learn from this. Watch the tape and be able to put games away, especially when you are up eight with two minutes to go.”

Penn State’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Seth Lundy, scored the first five points in the overtime period to give the PSU an 89-86 lead with 2:51 remaining. He finished with 23 on the night with a total of six Nittany Lions in double figures. Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili led all scorers with 30 points, 17 of his total coming in the second half.

Seton Hall started the overtime 3-7 from the free throw line and went 6-8 down the stretch, including its final five points of the game. The Pirates scored 23 points off 35 attempts on the night while The Nittany Lions were 15-19 and 6-9 in the second half and overtime combined.

The Pirates opened the second half without a miss, going 9-9 from the field in the first 5:29 to cut the Nittany Lion lead to three, 56-53. The physical back-and-forth battle continued and Seton Hall was able to keep pace with Penn State’s effective perimeter offense.

In total, the Nittany Lions knocked down 13 triples with eight coming in the first half. The Pirates, 1-12 from the behind the three-point line in the first 20 minutes, improved with their 5-9 mark in the second half.

A critical 3-pointer for Seton Hall from Mamukelashvili, with 1:58 left in regulation, spurred the Pirates’ 8-0 run to tie the game at 84 and force overtime. Jared Rhoden snagged a defensive rebound off a Nittany Lion miss and scored on the other side for the tying basket with 44 seconds left in the second half. Two Penn State attempts fell short and a final Pirate 3-pointer was off the mark.

Early in the game, Penn State transformed a 10-8 lead with a 16-2 run and kept the tempo high throughout the first half to combat the Pirates’ size. The Pirates, however, picked up momentum with just over two minutes to play in the first half and used an 8-0 run to

PSU’s shooting from behind the arc keyed the run midway through the first half. Six different Nittany Lions drilled six treys to grab a 26-10 lead with 11:22 to play in the first half. Penn State built its lead to as high as 19 points by the 11-minute mark of the first half, 29-10.

The lead remained in double digits, but Seton Hall kept chipping away and used an 8-0 run trim the Nittany Lions lead to 40-29. Lundy scored Penn State’s final five as the scored read 45-34 at the break.

Penn State heads to No. 16 Virginia Tech for a Tuesday, Dec. 8 ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. The Nittany Lions and Hokies tip at 9 p.m. for the ESPNU broadcast.

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