Quinnipiac fights hard, loses non-conference finale at Penn State 77-68


Peyton McKenzie

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team falls to 2-4 in its last six games entering MAAC play.

Connor Wilson, Staff Writer

Playing in its final non-conference game of the season, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team fell to the Penn State Nittany Lions 77-68 Thursday evening in State College.

The Bobcats (9-4, 0-2 MAAC) struggled to score in the first half, as they put up just 23 points in the first 20 minutes at the Bryce Jordan Center. In fact, only two Bobcats made field goals in that time frame with graduate students forward Ike Nweke scoring nine points and guard Tyrese Williams tallying eight.

Overall, Nweke (12) and Williams (16) were two of the three Bobcats in double figures as junior guard Tymu Chenery joined them with 12 points of his own. Williams attempted a team high 16 shots against Penn State and scored his 1,000th career point in the game, joining an exclusive club at Quinnipiac.

For the Nittany Lions (9-3, 1-1 Big Ten), it was the Jalen Pickett show, as the graduate student guard finished one assist short of his second career triple double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. This isn’t the first time that Pickett torched the Bobcats, as the former MAAC Player of the Year at Siena registered 46 points and 13 assists in a triple-overtime loss back in 2019.

The first half was much more competitive than the second, as at one point the game was tied at 20. After that, the Nittany Lions closed the half on a 13-3 run and kept their lead all throughout the second half. 

Joining Pickett in double figures for Penn State were graduate student guards Andrew Funk (16) and Camren Wynter (12) along with graduate student forward Michael Henn (11). Funk scored all of his points in the second half and Wynter scored a majority of his in the first, so the Nittany Lions had a balanced scoring attack all throughout.

The Bobcats, after struggling in the first half from the field, picked it up significantly in the second half. Chenery, junior guard Dezi Jones and redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc each hit multiple threes in the second, but a lack of defensive stops canceled the buckets out. 

Chenery rejoined the starting lineup, replacing junior guard Luis Kortright, who did not dress for Thursday night’s game. It is unknown if there is any injury concern for Kortright or if it is something else.

In Kortright’s absence, sophomore forward Alexis Reyes rejoined the rotation and Balanc, Williams and Chenery were all called upon to play more minutes than usual, trying to replace the production that Kortright provides.

The Nittany Lions shot just 21% from beyond the arc, far lower than their Big Ten-leading 41.5% going into the game. Despite the struggles, they were able to beat the Bobcats in other ways, including the turnover and blocked shots department.

Up next for the Bobcats is a conference matchup as they return to Hamden to take on Pickett’s former school Siena on Dec. 30, after a week-long holiday break.