Men’s Basketball Travels to No.15 Virginia Tech for ACC/B1G Challenge Game Tuesday Night

UNIVERSITY PARK, Va. – The Penn State men’s basketball team (2-1) takes its first trip of the 2020-21 season for the 22nd annual ACC/B1G Challenge. Penn State squares off against No. 15 Virginia Tech (4-0) Tuesday, Dec. 8 with an 9 p.m. game at Cassell Coliseum. The Nittany Lions and Hokies meet in the ACC/B1G Challenge for the second time in three years (2020 & 2018) and fourth time overall (2020, 2018, 2014 & 2007). This is the first visit to Blacksburg, Virginia, for Penn State since December 2010.
 
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Dave O’Brien (pxp) & Jordan Cornette (analyst)
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Steve Jones (pxp) & Dick Jerardi (analyst)
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LIVE STATS: Penn State at Virginia Tech
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ROSTER: Penn State  |  Virginia Tech
SCHEDULE: Penn State  |  Virginia Tech
STATS: Penn State  |  Virginia Tech
GAME NOTES:  Penn State |  Virginia Tech
 
VIRGINIA TECH
Coach: Mike Young (Emory and Henry, 1986)
VT Record: 20-16 (Second season)
Career Record: 319-260 (20th season)
2020-21 Record: 4-0, 0-0 ACC
Leading Scorer
#22 Keve Aluma, R-Jr., F – 17.8 ppg
Leading Rebounder              
#25 Justyn Mutts, R-Jr., F – 7.0 rpg
Assists Leader
#25 Justyn Mutts, R-Jr., F – 3.3 apg
 
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Interim Head Coach: Jim Ferry (Keene State, 1990)
Penn State Record: 2-1 (First season)
Career Record: 316-266 (20th season)
Top Scorer                            
#1 Seth Lundy, So., F – 22.3 ppg
Top Rebounder
#21 John Harrar, Sr., F – 8.3 rpg
Assists Leaders
#5 Jamari Wheeler, Sr., G – 4.3 apg
#3 Sam Sessoms, Jr., G – 4.0 apg
 
PENN STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
F — 1 – Seth Lundy – So.  |  22. 3 ppg | 4.3 rpg
Note: Penn State’s top scorer with 23 points vs. Seton Hall and tied his career best with seven rebounds; Has top team total with nine 3-pointers
 
F — 21 – John Harrar – Sr. | 7.3 ppg | 8.3 rpg        

Note:
Scored in double figures with 11 vs. Seton Hall and had team-high eight rebounds; Took two charges vs. Pirates
 
G – 0 – Myreon Jones — Jr. | 11.7 ppg | 2.3 rpg        

Note:
Had season-best 17 points vs. Seton Hall, going 3-3 from 3-point territory; Has team-high seven steals
 
G – 5 – Jamari Wheeler — Sr. | 8.0 ppg | 5.0 rpg | 4.3 apg       

Note:
Had four assists vs. Seton Hall; Career offensive game came vs. VMI in opener with 18 points and four treys
 
G – 12 – Izaiah Brockington — Jr. | 10.7 ppg | 4.7 rpg 
Note: Was one of six Nittany Lions to score 10+ points vs. Seton Hall; Has two 10+ point games in 2020-21
 
STARTING 5
Penn State has won five of its last six ACC/B1G Challenge games, including the last two at home, vs. Wake Forest (2019) and Virginia Tech (2018). The Nittany Lions are 10-9 in 19 appearances.
 

The Nittany Lions will wear their Nike black and pink uniforms for Tuesday night’s game, paying homage to Penn State’s original school colors. This will be the third different uniform worn in 2020-21 (white: VMI & Seton Hall, gray: VCU).
 
Penn State connected on a season-best 13 treys vs. Seton Hall with eight Nittany Lions making at least one so far this season. PSU ranks 18th nationally with 11.0 per game and team leader sophomore forward Seth Lundy, with nine, is third in the Big Ten and 50th nationally at 3.0 per game.
 
Prior to Sunday, the last time Penn State had 20 assists was at Purdue (2/11/20) when the Nittany Lions tallied 14 3-pointers in the road victory.
 
Established as a program in 1897, Penn State’s 2020-21 season marks its 125th year. Penn State is one of the 10 oldest programs in the nation and currently has 1,499 all-time wins.
 
SERIES vs. VIRGINIA TECH

Penn State and Virginia Tech have played nine times total with three of the last five games as part of the ACC/B1G Challenge (2018, 2014 & 2007). The Nittany Lions won the last two contests, both in the BJC, by a total of five points, a 63-62 thriller in 2018, and a 61-58 defensive battle in 2014.
 
A total of 21 points determined the results of the last five meetings, the largest margin was 10 (VT W, 79-69), in the last game at Cassell Coliseum.
 
Series streak: Penn State, W2
Last game: University Park, Pa., B1G/ACC
Penn State 63, #13 VT 62, 11/27/2018
Overall series: VT leads 6-3 (A: 0-2)
 
Series record and game results are listed on page 5 of the game notes.
 
THE 22nd ANNUAL CHALLENGE
Penn State has won five of its last six Big Ten/ACC Challenge games with a 10-9 overall record in 19 Challenge appearances. The Nittany Lions played two-straight home Challenge games in 2018 and 2019 and take a 4-5 record in away Challenge games to Blacksburg.
 
This is the fourth time Virginia Tech and Penn State are meeting in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game and the second time in three years.

The Big Ten posted an 8-6 record in 2019 after the two leagues split 7-7 the year prior.

 

Year – Opponent — Result , Score

2020 — at No. 15 Virginia Tech

2019 — Wake Forest—W, 76-54

2018 — No. 13 Virginia Tech — W, 63-62

2017 — at NC State — L, 78-85

2016 — Georgia Tech – W, 64-60

2015 — at Boston College – W, 67-58

2014 — Virginia Tech — W, 61-58

2013 — at Pittsburgh – L, 78-69

2012 — Boston College – L, 73-61

2011 — at Boston College — W, 62-54

2010 — Maryland – L, 62-39

2009 — at Virginia – W, 69-67

2008 — at Georgia Tech – W, 85-83

2007 — Virginia Tech – W, 66-61

2006 — at No. 21 Georgia Tvech – L, 77-73

2005 – Clemson – L, 96-88

2004 — Did not participate

2003 — Did not participate

2002 — at Clemson – L, 79-70

2001 — Clemson  – L, 79-66

2000 — at N.C. State – L, 84-76

1999 — Clemson – W , 85-75

 
BY THE NUMBERS

1 –
Penn State received its first NABC Team Academic Excellence Award for posting a team GPA of 3.0 or higher for the 2019-20 academic year.

 
5 – Number of languages spoken by freshman forward Abdou Tsimbila: Arabic, Banham, English, French and Lingala.

 
14 – Penn State ranks 14th nationally with 10.7 steals per game. The 32 total includes 18 vs. VMI, which tied a Bryce Jordan Center single-game record. 

 
20.0 – Junior guard Myreon Jones has averaged 20.0 points per game in ACC/B1G Challenge games. Jones had 18 points vs. Virginia Tech in 2018 and scored a career-best 22 vs. Wake Forest in 2019.

 
54 – Junior transfer Sam Sessoms has 10 or more points in 54 career games, including his first three as a Nittany Lion.

 
80 – Junior guard Myles Dread shot 80% from the field in the second half vs. Seton Hall, including a perfect 3-3 mark from beyond the arc. His four treys Sunday give him seven on the year, second on the team. 

1,499 – Penn State has 1,499 wins as a program dating back to its first season in 1897.

LAST TIME OUT: NITTANY LIONS EDGED IN OVERTIME 98-92 BY SETON HALL

Seton Hall’s strong second-half surge 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, 98-82, at the Bryce Jordan Center.

 

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.

 

Nittany Lion leading scorer 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. 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.