It remains one of Jalen Pickett’s most memorable performances. As a freshman at Siena in a triple-overtime loss to Quinnipac, Pickett tallied 46 points and 13 assists.
Four years later at Penn State, Pickett is one of the nation’s best point guards. And on Thursday, he and the Nittany Lions face Quinnipiac in University Park, Pa., in a blast from his past as a player in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Pickett is the only player in the nation who averages at least 16 points (16.2), seven rebounds (7.3) and seven assists (7.6) per game. He also is a major reason Penn State leads Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76 to 1), ranked second in fewest turnovers per game (9.1) and No. 3 in most 3-pointers per contest (11.8).
Penn State (8-3) rode its familiar formula Sunday in a 97-67 romp over Canisius. In scoring their season high, the Nittany Lions had 22 assists and a mere three turnovers while hitting 13 of 22 of their 3-point tries (59.1 percent).
Pickett had 16 points and nine assists while Andrew Funk made 5 of 6 treys for 15 points.
“He’s just has that microwave mentality,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said of Funk. “He can get going at any point in time if you lose track of him.”
The only downside for the Nittany Lions was an injury to Seth Lundy (10 points, six rebounds), who produced his numbers in just 13 minutes before exiting with a leg issue. His status is unclear for Quinnipiac in the first-ever meeting of the teams.
On Sunday, Quinnipiac (9-3) fell 63-56 at Saint Peter’s as the team’s top scorer the last two years, Matt Balanc, was shut out, missing his six shots as the Bobcats shot their season low (31.4 percent) from the floor on their way to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Dezi Jones led the Bobcats with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Ike Nweke and Luis Kortright added 10 points apiece.
Ten Bobcats average at least 10 minutes per game. The team is at its best when the tempo is quick and it can use its defense to pressure opponents.
“Overall, we have a lot of guys who want to contribute and that’s what we need to set the tone,” coach Baker Dunleavy said.
–Field Level Media