When Penn State last was seen, it was pulling away for an impressive road win at then-No. 17 Illinois.
A little over a week later, the Nittany Lions hope to follow up their most impressive win of the season by beating struggling Canisius on Sunday in University Park, Pa.
The Nittany Lions (7-3) are starting their final stretch of non-conference games and are seeking a second straight win after their impressive performance in that 74-59 victory over Illinois on Dec. 10.
Penn State, which is among the top 15 3-point shooting teams in the country at 40.21 percent, made 12 shots from long distance against the Illini, marking the eighth time it made at least 10 3s. The Nittany Lions also shot 50 percent, marking the third time they made half their shots.
Andrew Funk, who is hitting 42.9 percent from behind the arc, hit six 3s and scored 20 points after being held to two points against Michigan State. Jalen Pickett also scored 20 and is the only player nationally averaging at least 16 points per game, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“This is a win that we’re going to look back on this and (use) this blueprint as something we can look back on to see how we did it,” Funk said.
Pickett is a familiar face to Canisius, who was a three-time all-MAAC selection at Siena before joining Penn State and scored 23 points against them on March 5, 2021.
The Golden Griffins (2-7) enter on a five-game skid since their most recent win on Nov. 20 and own the MAAC’s worst scoring defense at 75.6 points per game and the league’s worst opponent field goal percentage at 47.5 percent.
Canisius is coming off one of its better showings when it took a 69-68 loss to Toledo on Sunday. The Golden Griffins allowed a season-best 38.9 percent shooting and only three 3-pointers but also shot 37.7 percent and committed 21 turnovers.
“We were on point for the most part defensively,” Golden Griffins coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “We were much, much better on the glass. We didn’t close out by having great execution.”
The Golden Griffins are led by Tahj Staveskie (13.7 points), who matched a season high with 19 points at Toledo and has posted double figures in seven games so far.
Penn State has won all three of the previous meetings, with the last game between the two in December 2015.
–Field Level Media.